back                   Distinguished Cornell '79 Classmates Honored at the 40th Reunion                    next

A. Richard Bonanno

Rich is Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Director of NC State Extension at North Carolina State University.

NC State Extension is the largest non-formal educational outreach program in the 17-campus UNC system, with 101 local centers bridging the state’s communities and citizens with university resources that improve their lives and grow the state. Programs focus on agriculture, food and nutrition, and 4-H youth development.

Originally from Methuen, MA, Rich received his B.S. and M.S. from Cornell. After attaining his Ph.D. in plant physiology from Oregon State in 1982, he served his first stint at NC State, working as an Extension weed specialist and associate professor for vegetable and fruit crops.

In 1989, Rich returned to Massachusetts where he managed the family farm, Pleasant Valley Gardens, which specializes in fresh market vegetables, flowers, and greenhouse plant production. During that time, he also worked as an Extension educator with the University of Massachusetts, where he focused on weed management and fresh produce food safety.

Rich served on the American Farm Bureau Federation board and for six years was president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. His work focused on local, state and national regulatory and legislative issues affecting agriculture.

Rich and his wife LuAnne are celebrating 39 years of marriage in 2019. They have three daughters and five grandchildren. Cara is a special education teacher in Massachusetts; Alison works for the U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C.; and Heather manages day-to-day operations at the family farm.

While at Cornell, Rich was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, served as drum major of the Cornell Big Red Marching Band for two years, and in 1979, was elected “Ugliest Man on Campus” in a charity fundraiser where he amassed more votes than the total of all others in the competition, including Cornell’s president, head of Cornell dining, and a hockey player (with few teeth whose nickname was “truck face.”)