Frank Grove’s service to agriculture throughout his career has been rendered through his unselfish service to others—his colleagues and coworkers whose professional successes were directly dependent on the exemplary level of cooperation that Frank Grove gave to each of them during a 35 year career.
A native of Clinton County, Frank began his career with Purdue University in 1958, working in routine farm operations for the Dairy Department. Four years later, he became part of the operations staff of the new department, Animal Sciences, which combined the staffs of the former Dairy, Poultry and Animal Husbandry departments. Several years later he was promoted to the position of farm foreman, responsible for managing all of the field operations for the department’s farms. He was a key player in combining the formerly separate departments into one cohesive unit. Retired director of Purdue Ag Centers Horace Paarlberg said that “although Frank’s title did not change for 35 years, he developed his responsibilities to a level never performed before.” In the late 1960’s, he oversaw the relocation of the farming operations from West Lafayette to the current location near Montmorenci, a transition period during which he managed crop production on more than 4,000 acres. A big undertaking for any farmer, Frank accomplished this monumental task while maintaining uninterrupted service to the feeding operations of all the livestock units and their numerous large animal research projects.
Several of Frank’s nominators noted his mentoring of Animal Sciences students as one of his greatest contributions to our profession. One of those former student workers, Larry Underwood, now the coordinator of the Animal Sciences Research and Education Center, said Frank often became a “father figure to young men who needed guidance.”
Researchers in the Animal Sciences Department depended on Frank’s support for the success of their projects, and in Frank they found a willing and able partner. Whatever special needs that projects required, Frank was willing to devise a plan to make it work, whether it meant planting a special crop, handling crops and feedstuffs in special and unusual ways, or procuring by-products from a local factory for a special nutrition trial. One nominator said Frank’s work has contributed to the success of research work conducted by virtually every member of the Animal Sciences faculty in recent years. Professor Tip Cline called Frank’s contribution to these endeavors “one of Indiana’s best kept secrets.” Paarlberg noted that Frank’s assistance extended to many of Purdue’s distinguished faculty members, including Agronomy graduate student Vic Lechtenberg who presently serves as Dean of Agriculture.
Frank’s service activities at Purdue included many of the special events and activities conducted by the School of Agriculture, including field days, Farm Progress Shows and our own Purdue Ag Fish Fry. For many years, he was a faithful member of the Fish Fry set-up and serving crews.
Frank is a long time member of Crestview United Brethren, where he teaches Adult Sunday School, is on the Board of Administration and previously served 10 years as church treasurer. In 1989, he was honored by USDA with an Award for Superior Service as part of the Purdue Drought Response Team that provided service to Indiana Agriculture during the 1988 Drought.
Nominator Harry Pearson summed it up best by saying “if there was ever an ‘unsung hero,’ a person who has given tirelessly and unselfishly to help others be successful in their professional careers, that person is Frank Grove.”
Frank, for your service to the agricultural profession above and beyond the call of duty, it is my pleasure to award you this day, the Purdue Ag Alumni Association’s Highest Award, the Certificate of Distinction.