Photo (left to right): Dr. Ed Rister, Norbert Wilson (AAEA president, 2022-2023), Dianne Rister, Dr. Rudy Nayga (Department Head, and AAEA president, 2023-2024) (Photo credit: Jean Nayga)
The Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) presented Dr. Ed Rister ’74 with the Distinguished Teaching Award, in the category of “Ten or more years’ undergraduate teaching,” during their annual meeting held in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. This award is based upon evidence provided in the following categories: quality of teaching; academic advising, counseling, extracurricular activities, and career support; campus participation in instructional, course, and curricular improvement efforts; commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion; professional development; and teaching awards.
In submitting the nomination package, quotes from several former students were included:
- Jose Contreras ’22, former AGEC 424-AGEC 425 student: “. . . Dr. Rister has mentored me in preparation for the real world more than any class I have taken at Texas A&M. Whatever our goals or business plans may be, [he] has always reminded us to count the cost. . . . He inspired me to work harder in school, and it is no surprise that I jumped from a 3.2 to a 3.7.”
- Billy Gerke ’96, owner, ForEverlast Inc.: “To say that Dr. Rister always challenged our thinking and intellect would be a huge understatement, as we all were pushed to the limits and in turn have succeeded beyond our wildest imaginations. . . . My experiences and knowledge that I gained from Dr. Rister’s classes . . . have fueled my entrepreneurial startups of two very successful companies, one of which was awarded the Aggie 100 in 2022. I can honestly say that Dr. Rister helped by planning that seed in me many years ago.”
Quotes from internal Texas A&M observers also were added to the nomination package:
- Dr. Chrystol Thomas-Winston, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural Economics: “What makes Dr. Rister one of our department’s best professors is that he combines exemplary teaching skills and career preparatory experiences into a classroom experience that would be difficult, if not impossible to duplicate.”
- Dr. Susan Ballabina, Chief External Affairs Officer and Senior Vice President: “. . . [Rister] is beloved and respected by his students because of the time he pours into each one to ensure they have an educational experience that is challenging, yet rewarding. He is a treasure within our university.”
About Dr. Rister
M. Edward “Ed” Rister is professor and director of the Dianne and M. Edward Rister ’74 Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, and the Dianne and M. Edward Rister ’74 Endowed Chair in Agribusiness Entrepreneurship. His tenure as a professor with Texas A&M spans four decades, when he returned to the University after completing his doctorate at Michigan State. He specializes in farm management, production, and entrepreneurial economics. The agribusiness entrepreneurship program Rister developed focuses on developing economic and financial numerical evaluations.
Rister created a comprehensive, high-impact undergraduate curriculum that crosses disciplinary silos to meet the increasing student demand for applied, practical entrepreneurial education. In addition to the coursework available to students majoring in Agricultural Economics and pursuing the rural entrepreneurship path, he also introduced the first entrepreneurship minor at Texas A&M, one that is open to all majors.
When describing his teaching philosophy, Rister said, “My teaching philosophy hinges on seeking lifelong impacts for each student rather than short-term ‘ah-ha’ moments. I want my students to identify and put together the puzzle pieces of their lives.”
Photo left/top: Dr. Ed Rister stands with Hannah Burrough ’18, former student, who returned to Aggieland to assist with the Edwards ’73 Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Mentoring Forum (February 2023).
Photo right/lower: Dr. Ed Rister stands with Caden Eary ’18 (left) and Maggie Branch Awalt ’19 who returned to speak as Profs-for-a-Day on their respective entrepreneurial journeys in Fall 2023.