Former Agricultural Economics Faculty

W. David Downey (1939-)

David Downey photoFew have shaped agriselling the way Dave Downey has. He's a dynamic instructor with vast experience that he's shared in both the undergraduate and executive classroom. He has devoted his entire career to Purdue University . He received all of his degrees from Purdue – B.S. in agronomy, and M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural economics. He has taught classes to undergraduates and agribusiness managers since becoming an instructor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue in 1963.

A focus of Dr. Downey's work has been agricultural sales and marketing. During his teaching career, he developed two unique courses that have helped literally thousands of Purdue students from across the campus launch their careers in professional selling. The classes have been the model for agrisales programs established in nearly 50 other colleges and universities. Numerous Purdue students majoring in professional selling polished their selling skills in the advanced sales class developed by Dr. Downey. In addition, Dr. Downey co-authored three major text books that are used widely in agribusiness programs across the country.

Dr. Downey has been a leader in agribusiness education nationally. In the mid 80s, he served as Vice Chairman of the National Commission on Agribusiness Education. The Commission developed and recommended strategies that have provided a foundation for new initiatives in agribusiness education in US universities, and brought colleges of business and agriculture into tandem in educating agribusiness leaders.

Dr. Downey's work in agrimarketing and sales has also extended into adult and continuing education. It was through his efforts that the Center for Food and Agricultural Business was established at Purdue in 1986. Today, the Center is recognized as the leading continuing education program for agribusiness managers and executives in the world. Hundreds of agribusiness managers travel annually to Purdue to participate in programs sponsored by the Center. Dr. Downey has also consulted with agribusinesses throughout North America, Australia , New Zealand , Europe, and South America .

Because of his outstanding efforts within his profession, Dr. Downey has received several recognitions: Best Teacher Award -- School of Agriculture at Purdue University (1968), based on a popular vote of the student body; The Distinguished Undergraduate Teacher Award for under 10 years experience from the American Agricultural Economics Association (1972); The School of Agriculture Best Teacher Award, Amoco Foundation (1979); The Distinguished Undergraduate Teacher Award for over 10 years experience from the American Agricultural Economics Association (1981); Helping Students Learn Award (1985) from the Purdue University Alumni Class of 1932 (this is awarded only sporadically when all campus faculty nominees are deemed meritorious); The Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University (1999), a Purdue University recognition of the top two percent of the teachers throughout history of the university.

Perhaps in a summary recognition of his long and very distinguished career, in 2004 Dave received the Special Boilermaker Award from the Purdue Alumni Association for his significant contributions to the betterment of the educational experience of Purdue students.


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