Outstanding Alumni Awards
Kenneth E. Pollard ’58
Kenneth Pollard exemplifies the commitment to lifelong community service and involvement. Since graduating from Cornell, he has been one of the most effective and widely respected advocates for New York state agriculture.
Pollard’s key role in new marketing opportunities for New York’s cherry and apple production allowed state growers to realize improved profitability through diversification from processing towards fresh market supply. As merchandising director and, later, executive vice president of the New York Apple Growers Association and New York Cherry Growers Association, Pollard expanded the marketing program for apples and cherries in the areas of purchasing, consumer relations, and public relations. He worked closely with food service operators and retailers to increase the sales of apples, apple products, and cherries. He is also the architect of an effective promotion program during October and February, for National Apple and Cherry Months, respectively.
Pollard has been honored several times for his service to the state’s agricultural sector during his career. He received the 2002 Distinguished Service Award from the NYS Agriculture Society, the New York Horticultural Society Award for “outstanding contributions to New York State’s agricultural industry,” and a special citation from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Pollard is an ardent supporter of CALS and has collaborated with several CALS faculty members to improve the production and marketing of New York-grown apples. He has shared his expertise and practical knowledge with the college as a member of the CALS Advisory Council, the CALS Alumni Association, and as a liaison between the Apple Growers Associations and the former Pomology Department in CALS. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the Max E. Brunk Graduate Research Fund and the New York State Fruit Growers Assistantship in Pomology Honoring Richard L. Norton to support graduate students interested in marketing and growing fruit in New York State. Most recently, Pollard and his wife Beulah established the Kenneth and Beulah Pollard Graduate Research Fund to benefit graduate students and faculty conducting research on apples and other tree fruits.
Pollard’s involvements extend far into the broader community as well. He has served his Masonic lodge as past Master, Treasurer, and District Deputy Grand Master; President of the Auburn Shrine Club; member of the Damascus Shrine in Webster, NY; and sits on the Board of Governors for the Shriners Hospital for Children of Springfield, MA. Additionally, Ken has held leadership positions with several local school boards, served as Director of the NYS Agricultural Society, and was director and past treasurer of the Daniel P. Witter Agricultural Museum. Along with those activities, Ken has volunteered with the Transportation Project for Cayuga County, Donald R. Ward American Legion Post #1259, Cayuga County Korean War Veterans, Aurelius Fire Department, and Half Acre Union Church.
He and Beulah, his wife of 56 years, reside in Cayuga, New York. They have three grown children -- Laura, Robert, and Susan -- and seven grandchildren.