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WSU diversity chief enters 4-H Hall of Fame

PULLMAN, Wash.—Michael Tate retired from Washington State University on September 30 and one of his first planned trips will be his induction ceremony into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

Tate, WSU’s Chief Diversity Officer and a professor of Human Development, will be inducted into the 4-H Hall on October 10 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

“I am so honored and humbled,” said Tate, the former dean of Extension at WSU. “It’s not often I’m in search of words, but I was when I heard about this.”

The 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to mark the organization’s centennial celebration. The Hall of Fame recognizes 4-H volunteers, financial supporters, staff, faculty and pioneers who made major impacts within the 4-H movement at the local, state, and national levels.

Tate has been at WSU since 1998 in various roles, and worked in 4-H and Extension in his native Michigan for over 25 years before moving to Pullman.

“There’s no one more deserving of this honor,” said Richard Koenig, the director of Extension at WSU. “Mike has devoted his life’s work to 4-H and the mission of helping young people.”

Tate was born in Detroit and first heard about 4-H when, at age 6, he took part in a program with students at Michigan State University. They helped the youngsters start a garden and learn about where food comes from. They also talked about 4-H, which Tate had never heard of.

But after that, he didn’t hear about 4-H again until he was preparing to graduate from Michigan State University in the early 1970s. He accepted a job in MSU’s Extension program, working in 4-H development in Berrien County, Michigan. He eventually worked his way up to assistant director of Extension at MSU.

“I learned early on in my time at Michigan State that I wanted to do something that had an impact on young people,” Tate said.

From 2002-2004, Tate was on special assignment in Washington DC in the Department of Agriculture as Chief Education Officer for the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. He returned to WSU after that to serve as interim vice president of Equity and Diversity, which became permanent a year later.

After his induction ceremony, Tate’s retirement plans include spending more time with his grandchildren in Oregon and Michigan and maybe even teach some classes. He and his wife also plan to travel as much as possible.