Melvin Vance was an agriscience educator in Montgomery County schools for 32 years, retiring in 1992. A native of Harrison County, Vance graduated from Purdue University in 1960 with a B.S. in Agricultural Education. He received his M.S. in Guidance Counseling from the University of Kentucky in 1967.
Vance began his teaching career at Waynetown High School, and later served as North Montgomery High School and Northridge Middle School following school consolidation. Through 40 years of service to the agriculture community, Mel Vance has been active in education, volunteerism, cultivating new ideas and growing people in knowledge and leadership of agriculture and agriscience. He developed the first horticulture program at North Montgomery High School, and he was instrumental in developing agriscience curriculum at the inception of Northridge Middle School. He worked with administrators to require agriscience classes for all seventh graders and took on the role of middle school vocational agriculture teacher during the first few years of the new consolidated school.
During his career, Vance provided service to his profession through numerous activities and organizations. He taught adult education at Waynetown High School (1960-66); served as Chapter Advisor for the Indiana Young Farmer’s Association (1970-1992); and as Chapter Advisor to the North Montgomery High School FFA (1973-1992). He also was instrumental in organizing a Singles Young Farmer Chapter in Montgomery County. Under his leadership, the Young Farmers Chapter organized fund raising efforts for the Heart Fund and developed the Ag Shop Program which enabled them to sponsor adult welding classes at the high school. Vance has also volunteered with the state and national FFA organizations to evaluate applications for State Proficiency Awards and judging Career Development Events. He also served as a cooperating teacher with Purdue University to assist in the training of student teachers.
Vance’s community service is extensive, as well. He has been a 4-H leader and volunteer judge for many competitions. For the past nine years he has worked with the Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District and Montgomery County Extension as a participant in the annual Ag Field Day event for 4th graders. For 30 years, Vance owned a fruit/vegetable and tree farm, and became active in the local merchants association, serving as secretary for many years and establishing a college scholarship for local students. He has been active in the Master Gardener program, and taught adult workshops at his farm on landscaping, fruit tree care and evergreen care. He has also been active in Pheasants Forever (1990-2002; banquet sponsor and officer) and the Sycamore Trails Resource Conservation and Development Council, which serves a nine-county area in West Central Indiana. Vance has served two terms as Wayne Township Trustee, and is a certified Level One Assessor who serves on the county’s tax board of appeals and has assisted county officials with property reassessment. His church leadership at Christian Union Church and First United Methodist of Crawfordsville includes almost 50 years as a Sunday School teacher, lay speaker, service to the Gideon ministry and several other leadership roles. He has filled in for several churches while they conducted pastoral searches.
Vance’s honors include: Honorary Hoosier Farmer Degree, Indiana FFA (1982); Advisor of the Year, Indiana Young Farmer’s Association (1983); Indiana Agriscience Teacher of the Year, National FFA (1991); and Montgomery County Friend of Agriculture Award (2006).