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COD : Norman J. Volk

1958 Certificate of Distinction Winner Norman J. Volk

Norman J. Volk


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Dr. Norman J. Yolk was born Jan. 16, 1901 at Ocanto Falls, Wisconsin, descendant of a pioneer family. He received his first six years of education in a small country school in Maple Valley, graduated from the eighth grade at Ocanto Falls and in June, 1919, received a diploma from Ocanto Falls high school. With money earned from the sale of some 30 colonies of bees and sale of snap beans and cucumbers, he entered the University of Wisconsin. In the summer of 1923 he received the B.S. degree from that University, a year later the M.S. degree and in 1932 the Ph.D. degree, also from that University. He went to work as a control chemist with Texas A & M College in September, 1924. Two years later Yolk joined the research staff of the United Fruit Company in Central America. Before he left the tropics in 1936 he had become head of the company's research department. His explorations covered practically every large river valley in Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica and in some areas of Nicaragua and British Honduras. He then became soil chemist at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and was made head of the department of agronomy and soils at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1941. In October, 1944, he came to Purdue University as head of the department of agronomy. In April, 1945, he was named associate director of the Purdue Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1958 Yolk was named director of the AES and associate dean of agriculture. A Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and past president of the Soil Science Society of America, Yolk was an advisor to the War Food Administration during World War II. He was elected one of the ten leading fertilizer chemists in the United States in 1945. He is the author of 41 publications in his area of major specialization, soil chemistry. He married Lois Nancy Gaskell of Duluth, Minn. They have two sons, Richard James, and Eugene Russell.