Ronald L Shumack
RONALD L. SHUMACK grew up on his family’s farm in Lenox, Alabama. After graduating from high school, he attended Auburn University and earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural education. He began his professional career in 1963 as a county extension agent in Escambia County. Since the county did not have a horticulture specialist at the time, Shumack handled all of the horticulture issues, working with greenhouses and nurseries and even hosting his own radio show.
He joined the Auburn faculty in 1967 to work with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, leaving to pursue his Ph.D. in horticulture at Michigan State University. After completing his doctorate, he returned to Auburn and continued working with extension, serving as the state horticulturist and floriculture specialist for many years.
He was named head of Auburn’s Department of Horticulture in 1988 and led a reorganization that increased enrollment and research grant awards. In 1993, while continuing to serve as horticulture department head, he assumed additional duties as associate dean for extension in the College of Agriculture. As associate dean, he played a vital part in planning and implementing agricultural extension programs. He retired in 1999 as interim College of Agriculture dean and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station director.
After his retirement, he remained committed to agriculture as executive director of the Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance, working with faculty from the state’s three land-grant universities to further advance agricultural research and outreach.
Throughout his career, Shumack was instrumental in the growth of Alabama’s commercial horticulture industry. A commendation letter he received from the Alabama House of Representatives at his retirement cited his efforts to advance the horticulture industry, alternative industries in rural Alabama and College of Agriculture teaching and research programs and his success in establishing the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
The Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and in 2010, an endowed professorship in horticulture was established in his name in the College of Agriculture.
Shumack retired to the same family farm where he grew up. He and his wife, Jo Ann, have two children and six grandchildren.