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Tony Tyson

Personnel Profiles

Tony Tyson

Tony Tyson is one of the most honorable people I've ever known. I've often heard it said, "He looks like a football coach." It suits him.

Tony's spent a big part of his career coaching new county agents, first as an Extension specialist, then as a district Extension director and finally as director of county operations for UGA Extension.

Tony earned bachelor and master's degrees in agricultural engineering, with honors. He worked at the East Georgia Extension Center in Statesboro before moving to Athens to assume his current role, from which he celebrates his retirement Nov. 18.

A Master 4-H'er, he never forgot his roots. "Tony offered strong support to Georgia 4-H throughout his career," said State 4-H Leader, Arch Smith. "I remember when he was named district director, I heard somebody say, 'They took a good specialist and they'll ruin him as an administrator.' But, Tony proved to be a strong advocate for specialists and agents and brought stability to UGA Extension."

For 28 years, Tony lived the Extension mission and won a host of distinguished service honors for his work. Retired Extension news editor Dan Rahn, who worked with Tony for many years in Statesboro, measured the value of Extension specialists and administrators by how well they "get it"— did they really understand why our work matters and that we work to serve the people who need us.

When he saw the announcement that Tony was the new director of county operations, Dan said, "He'll do good. He gets it."

As Tony led a steering committee to redesign UGA Extension county delivery, he reminded the group of the creed by which all Extension professionals live:

I believe in people and their hopes, their aspirations, and their faith; in their right to make their own plans and arrive at their own decisions; in their ability and power to enlarge their lives and plan for the happiness of those they love;

I believe that education, of which Extension is an essential part, is basic in stimulating individual initiative, self-determination, and leadership; that these are the keys to democracy and that people when given facts they understand, will act not only in their self-interest, but also in the interest of society.

I believe that education is a lifelong process and the greatest university is the home; that my success as a teacher is proportional to those qualities of mind and spirit that give me welcome entrance to the homes of the families I serve.

I believe in intellectual freedom to search for and present the truth without bias and with courteous tolerance toward the views of others.

I believe that Extension is a link between the people and the ever-changing discoveries in the laboratories.

I believe in the public institutions of which I am a part.

I believe in my own work and in the opportunity I have to make my life useful to humanity.

Tony lived that creed throughout his career. He's led by example. He never lost sight of why we are here. He served every day of his career with pride, integrity and honor.

Happy retirement, Tony. You've earned it.

(Written by Faith Peppers, a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Released November 2010.

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