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DAA: Lesa G. Sterling Griffiths

Lesa Griffiths

Lesa G. Sterling Griffiths

Newark, DE | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2004

The first to offer a video-stream, online course in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and a leader in connecting its students internationally, Lesa Sterling Griffiths embraces the wonders of the 21st century. At the same time, she connects to agriculture’s past through her five Percheron draft horses, pre-Civil War barn of stone and peg construction, and century-old farmhouse. Growing up in suburban New York, Griffiths has no early ties to agriculture, but her mother did instill an appreciation of old things and a love of collecting. For Griffiths, that’s meant acquiring antique implements; veterinary items such as old-fashioned hog powders and animal ailment treatments; and a barn full of horse-drawn sleighs, hay wagons and carriages. “I just can’t wait to get home and get on a sleigh,” she says of a snow day. She’ll take her nine-year-old son and daughter along. “Usually a dog jumps in, too.” The sleigh will be pulled by one of two teams of Percherons. Jessie and Jane are her youngest. Holly and Ivy are the “older girls,” she says. “And our big gelding is Frank.” The family will ride around the neighborhood and perhaps explore the 5,000-acre natural resource area in Maryland near their 12-acre Delaware farm. “It’s a nice release from a busy career where you’re always on the phone or computer,” she says. “And it’s something we can do together.” She’s drawn to the Percherons because of their nature. “I want something nice and well behaved. My horses are very gentle, and very interactive with people. And it’s great being out in the open area, working with the horses, with the kids and dog along.” “My overwhelming memory of Purdue is one of being accepted. I still feel I’m part of a family of mentors, scholars and friends. I learned to not take myself too seriously, be real, and find humor in the worst situations and the best in every person.”