West Lafayette, IN | Certificate of Distinction: 2006
Allen Hammer is a Professor in the Purdue College of Agriculture’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, where he has served on the faculty since 1973 with an appointment in floriculture extension and research. A native of North Carolina, he received his B. S. in Horticultural Science from North Carolina State University in 1967. He earned his M. S. in Floriculture in 1970, and his Ph.D. in Floriculture and Statistics in 1973, both from Cornell University.
Hammer joined the Purdue faculty in 1973, and has spent the past 33 years serving the Indiana floriculture industry and, in the words of one nominator “keeping floriculture and floriculture and Purdue in the forefront.” He established and maintains the Purdue greenhouse media analysis lab, which serves as a critical resource for the Indiana greenhouse industry. He was the key technical advisor during the construction of Purdue’s new greenhouse complex, a state of the art facility that has been used as a model by numerous other institutions for their construction projects. He is frequent invited speaker at regional, national and international scientific and professional floriculture meetings. One nominator described him as “one of very few culture advisors of national prominence in the floriculture industry today.” Hammer is the lead scientist on the National Poinsettia Trial, and under his leadership Purdue is one of only three sites for trials funded by the world’s poinsettia breeders. This trial examines over 120 cultivars each year. In recent years, Hammer has also taken the specimens to the Indianapolis Zoo for consumer evaluation in the conservatory at White River Gardens. The research results are shared annually through Hammer’s national presentations, and through the website www.poinsettiatrial.org. As an extension educator, Hammer’s work extends far beyond poinsettias, and he is cited by his nominators as a leader in evaluating major floricultural trends and in teaching growers to critically analyze business and cultural practices to maximize their success and profitability.
Hammer was instrumental in establishing the HORTECUS (HORTiculture in EC and US) student-faculty exchange program between three U.S and four European Union universities. In addition to his research and extension activities, he has taught six courses in topics ranging from horticulture and greenhouse management to the design and analysis of horticultural research. He was instrumental in helping to form the Indiana Flower Growers Association, and has served as the group’s secretary-treasurer. His memberships include numerous growers associations that he has supported tirelessly, as well as many national and international professional societies. As a continuous monthly contributor since 1985, Hammer has written over 250 monthly columns for Grower Talks magazine, the top paid circulation magazine in the U. S. greenhouse industry, a contribution that was recently recognized by a special article in Grower Talks.
His service to the American Society for Horticultural Science includes 16 years as the Associate Editor for Statistical Interpretation for both HortScience and the Journal of ASHS (1986-92); Chairman of both the Computer Applications in Horticulture working group (1988) and the Floriculture Working Group (1991-93). From 1985 to 2000 he was Technical Advisor to the Ohio Florist Foundation.
Hammer has been a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for over 20 years, serving with the Wabash Township Volunteer Fire Department (WTVFD). He now serves as Deputy Chief of the department that made over 650 emergency runs in 2004. As Deputy Chief, he keeps all the records of the emergency runs and was at the forefront of computerizing the department’s records. He has been a key member of the Wabash Township Strategic Plan committee, and played a vital role in determining the location of the US 231 bypass through input with regard to fire response times.
Awards and honors bestowed on Hammer include: the Society of American Florists’ Alex Laurie Award for Floriculture Research and Extension (1999); Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association’s (PUCESA) Special Award (2003) for Extension Response to outbreak of southern bacterial wilt of Geranium in Indiana greenhouses; and the Southeast Greenhouse Conference’s 9th Annual Horticulture Initiative Award (2003). The ASHS has honored him with both the Outstanding Extension Educator (2003) and Ornamentals Publication awards. And he has been named an Outstanding Alumnus by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and by the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University.