The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment inducted five new members into its Hall of Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor the college confers.

Alice BaeslerAlice Baesler, '63, received her degree in home economics from UK in 1963 before embarking on a lifelong journey influencing issues and programs that affect agriculture. She started her career as a teacher and then joined the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, where she led the state's Agriculture in the Classroom program. She took over management of their 400-acre farm when her husband Scotty was elected to Congress and continues to operate it today, She is also part of the state's hemp research efforts. Baesler is a leader on farm labor issues and has served on many task forces including the Kentucky Consortium for Hispanics/Latinos, Migrant Network Coalition, and Kentucky Farm Workers Program. She is the co-founder of the Kentucky Women in Agriculture organization. Baesler continues to give back to her alma mater and to the community. She has served as a 4-H leader and chair of the Bluegrass Area Extension Council. 


George Duncan

George Duncan, '61, MS '64, PhD '79, became an agriculture engineering specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service in 1966 and served as a specialist and professor until his retirement in 2007. During this 41-year career, he helped improve structural and environmental facilities for both animals and agricultural crops. Duncan is credited with helping the tobacco industry transition from the hand-tying packaging system to bales, saving farmers both time and money. For this work, Progressive Farmer Magazine named him the 1983 Man of the Year in Kentucky Agriculture. He also holds three U.S. patents for various tobacco-related equipment. Duncan was part of a team that developed the first 4-H computer project series, which earned a U.S. Department of Agriculture 1986 Superior Service Award. Through the years, he worked on many 4-H related projects. He is a member of the Kentucky 4-H Foundation and a recipient of the Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Distinguished Leadership Award.

Jewell Deene EllisJewell Deene Ellis, '51, MS '58, embarked on a distinguished 57-year career in education after receiving her bachelor's degree from UK in home economics. While teaching at Nicholas County High School from 1951 to 1960, Ellis developed a reputation for innovative practices. In 1960 she left secondary education to become a traveling teacher-trainer for Murray State University. In 1971, she moved to the Kentucky Department of Education, where she took on a wider role in vocational education for the state, serving in a variety of leadership roles until her retirement in 2008. Among her many accomplishments is the development of the first national standards for family and consumer sciences education. She was also co-founder of the Family and Consumer Sciences Education Coalition, an advocacy and public policy alliance. UK presented her with an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters during Commencement in December 2017. Ellis continues to be an advocate for her profession, a UK supporter, and a mentor to countless professionals.

William E. SealeWilliam E. Seale, MS '69, PhD '75, worked in the education and financial sectors for nearly 40 years. The Fayette County native earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry then earned both his master's and doctorate in agricultural economics. He taught in the community college system, was a county extension agent, and then served on the staff of Kentucky's U.S. Sen. Walter Huddleston before becoming government relations vice president of a New York futures exchange. Former President Ronald Reagan appointed Seale as commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where he served for five years. He later joined the faculty at George Washington University, serving as chair of the Department of Finance and senior associate dean of the business school. After retiring from the university, Seale founded the ProFunds Group, a Maryland-based mutual fund investment firm. He remains a principal in the firm.

Dallas Milton ShuffettDallas Milton Shuffett, '48, MS '51, PhD '56, lives on through the lives of his students who credit him with setting them on paths to successful careers. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, the Green County native returned to the farm before he decided to pursue his education at UK. He joined the college's faculty in 1953 as an assistant professor in agricultural economics and continued to move up the ranks to associate professor and professor. He served as vice chair and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and was the college's associate dean for research and associate director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station from 1987 to 1992. Shuffett was one of the world's top specialists in tobacco policy, during a time when tobacco was the leading crop in Kentucky. In 1978, he was named the Outstanding Tobacco Economist by the Tobacco Merchants Association of New York. Mr. Shuffett passed away on Jan. 13.

For more information about these honorees, visit