Where Are They Now: Neal Baines, CEP Administrative Officer
November 3 – It’s quite common for alumni to be proud, loyal and dedicated to their colleges or Universities, but when it comes to his alma mater, Mr. Neal Baines takes dedication to a whole new level.
Baines’ hard work has always made him a stand out. He grew up in a rural community and worked for local farmers. It was a School of Agriculture professor, Mr. Lindsay Witherspoon, who recruited Baines to attend Prairie View A&M University. Baines began his journey as a dedicated, lifelong Panther in 1967 when he came to the university to study Agriculture with a concentration in Agriculture Economics.
As an agriculture student during a defining time in the university’s impact on the industry, Baines was able to engage in various learning opportunities by working hands-on in a number of programs including the meat processing center, the creamery, and the university’s farm. During that time his knowledge about raising animals, properly testing animals, and various soil and grasses grew tremendously. After graduating in 1970, he moved to California to work for a short period with the State Department of Human Resources before he returned to PVAMU in 1973 to pursue his Master’s degree in Agriculture Education.
Once Baines received his Master’s degree, he accepted a Research Specialist position and taught agriculture economics courses. That was the beginning of his professional career with the university. Four years into that role, the Cooperative Extension Program Administrator recognized Baines’ work ethic and offered him a position as Program Specialist. Baines conducted educational programs on energy conservation in five Texas counties and advanced to the role of assistant to the administrator. “What came along with that was me being responsible for maintaining the human resources file on all extension employees. That is one of the things that I still do today. Every position that I’ve held since I’ve worked here, I did not ask for it. It was something that the hiring authority saw in me that they felt I had the capabilities and skillset to execute those duties.” With pride, admiration, and loyalty, Baines faithfully serves the university as the CEP Administrative Officer.
As a longtime alumnus, Baines encourages all CAHS graduates to join the Agriculture Alumni Association. He said the beloved college still needs support beyond an individual’s time as students. “They can have input or offer opinions on what is being discussed among the alumni in support of the college from which they graduated. They may have seen some things that we may not be exposed to because we are far removed from the outside world of work.”
Over his four decades of being at PV, he has seen most of the buildings on the campus erected and witnessed changes in CAHS that have helped produce some of the finest workers in the agricultural industry. Mr. Baines continues to make his mark on Prairie View A&M University with his dedication and loyalty; it’s his way of helping to make the university the best it can be.
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