Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame
William T. Loften
William T. Loften was born in Alabama and moved to Florida when he was a youngster. He attended the University of Florida, where he obtained a bachelor of science degree and a master's degree in agricultural education. That course work laid the foundation for him to take a leadership role in Florida's educational system. He exerted leadership for 43 years as a teacher, state supervisor and teacher/educator in agriculture.
But his trademark was providing college students with the needed encouragement and support to complete their degrees. Though he set high standards of performance for himself and his students, he showed compassion. He is credited with providing academically plagued students with an additional chance that more often than not led to a success story. Many of his students have achieved levels of outstanding leadership.
As a dedicated educator, he was regarded as an academic leader who placed the needs of students ahead of the convenience of the university system. Loften also is recognized as a key leader in merging agricultural education and extension education into a combined program and relocating it into a college of agriculture. In addition, he had a major influence in developing and shaping the instructional curriculum taught in vocational agriculture throughout Florida. He also developed the Instructional Materials Service in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education to provide curriculum material to agriculture teachers and extension personnel throughout the state.
His list of accomplishments includes the promotion of youth fairs and student involvement in state fairs.
As a retiree, he has continued to devote much of his time to youngsters. He serves on advisory councils and provides financial support for 4-H and Future Farmers of America leadership and for the Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show. And he continues to be a positive role model for youngsters by participating in agricultural and vocational activities.
He has served in leadership positions on many committees and boards directly associated with agricultural education. He was the president of the Florida Vocational Association, the secretary-treasurer of the Pinellas County Teacher Association and vice president of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture.
He also has received many kudos during his career. Some of his professional awards include: American Association of Teacher Educators' Distinguished Service Award; Honorary State Farmer from the Florida Association of Future Farmers of America; American Farmer Degree from the National Association of Future Farmers of America; Distinguished Service Award from the Florida Vocational Association; Teacher of Teachers Gold Award from the National Vocational Agriculture Teacher Association.