Mildred Fizer and the late John Oliver”J. O.”Knapp, renowned West Virginia University educators and program leaders, will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame Thursday, April 11, at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
Knapp, who died in 1965, is praised for being a pioneer in developing the National 4-H Center and incorporating the National 4-H Club Foundation. A former chairman of the foundations board of trustees, Knapp participated with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the dedication of the national center in 1959.
Knapp Hall, located on WVU s downtown campus, is named in his honor. He began his career with the WVU Extension Service in 1917 as a county agent and concluded it in 1961 as the statewide systems director. In West Virginia, he is praised for his knowledge of rural life, ability to analyze problems, progressive attitude and keen insight.
Gladys Knapp, a resident of Morgantown, will participate in the induction ceremony on behalf of her husband.
Similar to Knapp, Fizer also began her WVU Extension career as an agent A Morgantown resident for almost 50 years, Fizer started with Extension in 1946 as a 4-H agent in Cabell County.
In 1953, she moved from a county-based position to administrative duties as the State 4-H Girls Club agent. In 1966, Fizer stepped into the national spotlight when she became the first woman in the nation to direct a state 4-H program. From this position, she assumed many national leadership roles among her peers.
Supportive of 4-H even after her retirement from WVU in 1978, Fizer continued to work with the West Virginia 4-H Foundation Inc. One of her careers greatest contributions came during this volunteer period, when she helped guide the foundation through its largest growth and through its merger with the WVU Foundation Inc
“We are proud to share in this national tribute to our states leaders,”said Larry Cote, WVU associate provost for Extension and Public Service.”Their contributions to families and rural communities provide a foundation that is supporting us as we build leadership and opportunities for this new century.”
Both Knapp and Fizer, he said, blazed paths that continue to be valuable to Extension educators, learners and volunteers.
The WVU Extension Service is the primary outreach arm of West Virginia University. With offices in each of the states 55 counties, Extension faculty and staff develop and deliver programs in five major initiatives: leadership development, rural and community-based economic development, youth development, workforce development and health education.
The National 4-H Hall of Fame is a coordinated by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. The 2002 Induction Celebration will be held during the National 4-H Conference and State 4-H Leader Meeting at the National 4-H Center.