Dr. Robert Taylor Retirement Website

Staff photo Bob TaylorOn April 22nd, in the North Ballroom of the Purdue Memorial Student Union at 1 pm EST, there will be a retirement celebration for Dr. Robert Taylor. The general public is invited to attend.

Dr. Taylor has taught at Purdue university starting in the Fall of 1961. This is his 50 year. During this time, he has taught over 40,000 students. Many of his student have had parents or grandparents taught by him as well. Last semester, he asked one of his classes how many of them had either a parent or grandparent take one of his classes. Out of the 270 in the class, 32 hands went up.

If you would like to wish Dr. Taylor well and you have Facebook, you may follow this link to his Facebook Retirement page. If you don't have Facebook, you may send your wishes to rtretire@purdue.edu, and we will make sure they get posted onto this page. Please include your name.

Dr. Taylor Memories:

Note for Dr. Robert Taylor,

Bob, please count me among the very many people across Indiana who wish you the very best as you retire. Your impact on many Indiana farm families will continue for generations. Also, let me say thanks for your many occasions of assistance to me as an Extension Educator. Vince Harrell

Vince Harrell
Extension Educator, Retired



Best wishes for an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement.  You have been an inspiration to all of us in the department.  You have been a role model for me as I transitioned from full-time Extension to teaching both semesters. I have relied on your advice several times.  I remember one piece of advice you gave me was, “probably 10 percent of the kids are not going to like you when they see you the first day of class and there is nothing you can do about it.  So, you can spend your time trying to please them and likely not have any effect or spend your time focusing on the other 90 percent and making the  class a meaningful learning experience for them. Your time is probably better spent on the other 90 percent”.  I have used that advice often during the past several years.

Your presentation style, concern for students and willingness to contribute to programs (i.e., Midwest Agricultural Banking School, Bankers Clinic, etc.) and causes (i.e., AGEC 170) have been an example for us all to follow.  The welfare of the students, as well as Indiana producers and residents, has always been at the forefront of your daily activities and that has enabled you to touch everyone involved in a personal and meaningful manner.  I have also had the pleasure of attending ECC with you over years and serving on the Diaconate with you.  I have enjoyed each and every one of those opportunities and have always learned something in the process.

Congratulations.  I wish you the best in your retirement.  I know you will stay busy with grand children, hobbies and a variety of other activities, so I wish you the best as you take advantage of a well-deserved retirement.  

Best Wishes,

Freddie Barnard


Dr. Taylor,         Congratulations on completing 50 years of educating and mentoring over 40,000 Ag Econ students at Purdue!!    I remember your traveling to the Ft. Wayne Regional Campus, where I attended undergraduate classes from 1968-1970, and you met with me there at least once as my academic adviser in your "mobile office", which consisted of your pick-up truck with a modest camper shell on the back and a table with two seats in it.   Now, that to me is a sign of a truly dedicated Purdue Ag professor !

I appreciated your enthusiasm for teaching ag economics in the classroom, as I am sure is the case with the many thousands of students you have inspired during your career.

I finished my Ag Econ course work in 1970 to 1972 on the West Lafayette Campus, which I enjoyed.   

Best Wishes to you in your (well deserved) retirement.

Verlin J. Bulmahn    Ag Econ  BS  1972

Decatur, IN       


Dr. Taylor,
            Congrats on your retirement.  I took your class in 1999-2000 and enjoyed it very much.  You told great stories that made me remember the economic concepts.   You were a great prof and I hope you enjoy retirement.

Carol Kemple (was Crum)


Dr. Taylor,

I just wanted to congratulate you on your outstanding career with Purdue University and thank you for your inspirational classes!  I am one of your former students…I believe the year was around 1972 or 73.  You were my instructor for “World Ag Economics”.  I must say in retrospect that your class was one that truly enjoyed because you were able to communicate in a way that I wanted to learn and to attend class!

I was just an average student but did very well after graduating from Purdue.  I have been with two companies in my 36 year career now, both companies manufacture animal health biologicals and pharmaceuticals and I am currently a Director of National Accounts for Merial Limited on the large animal side.  I am proud to say that not only did my wife graduate from Purdue but both of my children did also…my son in Ag & Bio Engineering and my daughter a year ago in Biology.

I won’t be able to join the celebration this coming Friday but I wanted to thank you for your many years of dedicated service to teaching “kids” like me and shaping their future!

Best Regards,


Roger R. Riggs
B.S. Agriculture Economics - 1975


Dr. Taylor-

Your passion for teaching made learning in your classes a wonderful experience. I wish you the best in your retirement and hope you are able to enjoy the time with your family and friends.  Know you will be greatly missed by many Purdue students and alumni.

Thanks for all you have done for Purdue and me!
Best Wishes and Congratulations on 50 wonderful years!

Randi Potts


Dear Bob,
Our relationship goes back to almost the first years of both of our tenures at Purdue. It just took you a hell of a long time to get around to retiring. ;o) Congratulations on completing your 50 years at Purdue! I'm sure your impacts will continue to be felt for decades. I know that I remember you well and am grateful for the time that we had there together during our early years.
With Very Best Wishes,
Jack Armstrong


Bob ~ You were my freshman counselor in fall of 1964. I enjoyed your AG 100 so much that I chose Ag.Econ as my major. I graduated from Purdue in 1969 (worked while in college and it took 4 1/2 years). Interviewed several companies through Purdue's interview sources and when I interviewed John Deere Company, I KNEW that was the one for me. I worked as a Sales Rep for 33 years in Indiana and Kentucky. I took early retirement in Dec. 2001 and I have worked at the local Deere Dealership in Mayfield, KY since that time. I live on a farm near Paducah, KY. I wish you a very happy and healthy retirement. John L. Cradick

Attached you should find a picture of my wife and myself last Christmas.

Jackie Cradick


I wanted to extend my Congratulations to Dr. Robert Taylor on his retirement!

I was an Ag Econ student in his class in 1976.  When I received the mailing on his retirement, I immediately remembered his classes and enthusiastic style in class. 

Without question, Dr Taylor was one of the best instructors I had during my time at Purdue. 

I graduated in 1979 with an Ag Economics degree.  I have lived in Northern Iowa ever since.  I am now a SVP/Loan & Compliance Administration at a local community bank.  I was an Ag Loan officer during the 1980's with this same bank.   Dr. Taylor's classes were invaluable to me during that time.

Please extend my best wishes for a well-deserved, enjoyable retirement.

Jo Ann (Scott) Merfeld
Mason City, IA


Dr Taylor,  When you became my counselor in 1974, my computer class used punch cards!  Look at us now!  Congratulations on a wonderful career!  Some of us still joke about your "shoot the pigs lecture".  I went back to the farm after graduating in 1978.  I still think Purdue economics helped me make those tough decisions during the lean times in the '80's.  Your guidance during my Purdue years is still appreciated and provides fond memories.  Again, congratulations on your career and retirement!  Your former student-   Stephen C Daube   Ag-Econ-BS 1978


Dr. Taylor,
Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on a job well done for your 50 years at Purdue. You have been such a positive influence on so many young people. Your endless energy and interest in your students has had a great effect on them and agriculture world wide.
You helped me understand economics and it has helped many times in my teaching.  I am forever grateful!! I have been away from Purdue 37 years, but always remember going to your class and being treated with courtesy and respect. You made it fun. There was never a dull moment.
I was so pleased when my daughter signed up for Econ 217 this last fall semester and you were going to be her teacher! I knew she would be learning from the best! And learn she did.
Once again, congratulations and have a happy retirement.

Don Sturgeon
Agriculture Education Teacher
Hagerstown High School
Purdue '74


Dr. Taylor, you are the one responsible for my changing my major to Agricultural Business Management.  I took your Ag. Econ. 100 course in 1972 as a Sophomore, and loved it so much that I switched majors.   That led to a B.S. from Purdue and an M.S. from the University of Minnesota and a 38 year career in Finance.  I am currently employed at Old National Bank in downtown Indianapolis as a Vice President and Construction Loan Manager for the entire Banking Corporation.

I still think you were one of the best professors I ever had, and the most entertaining educator!  You had a knack for communicating economic concepts and theories in a humorous, but enlightening manner that I have never found equaled.

I wish that I could come to your retirement party, but unfortunately I won't be able to attend.  I do wish to send you my very warmest wishes for a happy retirement!

Roger A. Rollings


Dear Bob,

I am really sorry that I won’t be there for your retirement celebration.  You have made such an important difference in so many people’s lives, including mine.  You have shown me that it is through teaching, both inside and outside the classroom and through our research, that we economists make the most difference in this world.  Thank you so much for your service to Purdue, agriculture, and the thousands of students you’ve taught who have taken so many different paths in this world.  Thank you also for making life easier for your many department heads through your long service and support.

Very best wishes on a happy, healthy, and long retirement,


Sarahelen "Sally" Thompson
Director, Market and Trade Economics Division
Economic Research Service-USDA
1800 M Street NW, Room N5119
Washington, DC 20036-5831



    What an AMAZING  record you have established at Purdue.  Fifty (50) years and over 40,000 students!!!.  And all of that with FIRST CLASS Performance.  Bob, it is difficult to comprehend the total impact you have had on students over your many years. 

Purdue and the state of Indiana are certainly benefactors of your skills and work ethic. In addition to your roll as a classroom teacher,  you also were instrumental in "educating" many new faculty in good teaching methods, teacher attitudes, grading realism, and general expectations for a "top rate faculty".  I feel honored to have had the priviledge of working with you.

    Now that you have "finally" made the decision to retire, I am confident that you will enjoy retirement as much as you have enjoyed teaching and working with students.  I hesitate to bring up personal  feelings of how I felt about retirement, but I will relateto you what I missed most when I retired.  First, I missed the STUDENTS and I'm sure you will as well. Secondly, I missed the daily greetings and contact I had with you.  You always had an exciting item or tid-bit to relate whether about Ag Econ, Purdue, Agriculture, family or life in general.  Thirdly, (and I never thought I would admit this) I missed the routine which I came to find out Is important to me.

    Bob, our best wishes to you, Anna and your entire family as you enjoy thiis new chapter in your life.


Larry and Dorothy Bohl


Dr. Taylor,

Congratulations on your Golden Anniversary retirement at Purdue.  How will Purdue Ag Econ survive? 

I will never forget my first Ag Econ 101 course in Krannert Building in the spring of 1967 after having transferred from the United States Merchant Marine Academy.  I discovered I was much better inclined, as a farm boy from Indiana, to a land locked university than the open seas.

You made me want to learn.  You inspired.  I can honestly say that my career after Purdue would never have been as rewarding as it has been had it not been for you.

Enjoy a well deserved retirement.  I wish I could be Back Home Again in Indiana to celebrate with you but can only send my congratulations and best wishes.


Bill Hoagland

G. William Hoagland
Vice President for Public Policy, CIGNA
601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
South Building, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20004


Dr. Taylor was the cornerstone of the success of my Purdue education as my adviser. His subtle push/suggestions on what courses to take and how to steer my education were invaluable. I always looked forward to his advice and guidance. Purdue, the Ag Econ department and all the students have benefited immeasurably by having Dr. Taylor's influence for all these years.

In looking back, there are a lot of great professors, though only a few really stand out for having a commitment to the students, the job, the department (and all that goes with it) that sets them apart. Dr. Taylor has a passion that others just cannot match.

I wish him well in his retirement. May the next semester in his life be as rewarding as the previous have been.


Scott Stewart
President and CEO
Purdue AgEcon 1980


  I wish you well in your retirement.  I don't  think we ever gave
any thought to this idea when we were in Cayuga Lodge at 'Cornell, or
even Graduate school together at Purdue.  Do the graduate students
ever give their spouses the PHTP diplomas that we gave back in 1958? 
(Putting Hubby Through Prelims)  Joan had her diploma prominately
displayed in the kitchen for years, but since her death I have not
been able to find it.  I remember well the special presentation
dinner we had at Morris Bryants where we had to take all the diplomas
back  after the presentation. The Dean of Agricultue  (Butz) and Dean
of the Graduate school found out what we were doing and they wanted
to be able to sign them along with the department chair Lowell Hardin
 Best of luck in your retiremnet years.  I can heartly recommend
them.  Mike Kelsey.


1958 & 1959 !
Ag Hall Annex desks on 2nd floor north end of building that belonged to guys working on their masters and doing classes with likes of Lynne (Robbie) Robertson, Cliff Cox, D. Woods Thomas, Lowell Hardin and such.
Guess it has been fifty some years !
I graduated Dec. 1959 but was working in Madison County, Anderson as assistant county agent.  Later on got into the commercial banking business in Morgan and Wells Counties.
Pleased to say " Congratulations " and now take the time to relax and enjoy yourself.
William J. (Bill) Record, Jr

Purdue BS 1954 and MS 1959


April 7, 2011
Bob –
Say it isn’t so, you are retiring?!!  I’d like to share a memory or two from my early undergraduate days at Purdue.
In the way of background, it was fall 1963 and I was enrolled in Purdue’s College of Engineering – didn’t know anyone went to college to be anything but an engineer.  With drafting board in hand and a slide rule strapped to my belt, I was off to my first graphics class.  “Write your name” was the assignment.  I thought I could handle this one, even though a graphics class was not offered in my small rural southeastern Indiana high school.  Wrong – the assignment was returned with a grade of “F.”  Well, this sent me across State Street to Dave Pfendler’s (affectionately referred to as “Pappy”) office where I transferred to the College of Agriculture with the intention of majoring in Agricultural Business Management.  (There was a college other than Engineering.)
You were the instructor in my first agricultural economics class – AgEc 100, which I believe the intro ag econ class was numbered at the time (spring semester 1964).  Early in the semester, you jumped (maybe crawled) on top of the desk and pretended to fire a machine gun at hogs.  There was not only a great deal speculation about the resulting economic impacts on the hog market, but also concern for the hogs and the desk holding up under all of this excitement.  I previously had not encountered such enthusiasm for helping students learn.  There also was the story of a plane passenger being asked if he/she could fly the plane – the lesson - best say “no” if one doesn’t know.  Yep, Dr. Taylor’s intro ag econ class convinced me I had made the right decision to pursue a major in Ag Business Management.  It was, in part, your enthusiasm in the classroom that ultimately lead to my decision to pursue graduate degrees in agricultural economics with the goal of teaching at a university.  Here it is 47 years after being in your class, and I am teaching the intro micro econ class at the University of Wyoming.  You are among the few who have provided inspiration in my teaching activities.  Thank you, congratulations and best wishes!!  Dale Menkhaus, B.S. 1967 and PhD 1973, Purdue University


Dear Dr. Taylor,

I graduated from Purdue University in 1995, with a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Economics and I will never forget your class. I thoroughly enjoyed your class and want to thank you for a memorable experience. Congratulations on your retirement and I wish you many happy and peaceful years.

Carri Duncan-McCollough


Thank you Dr. Taylor for your years of service as a voice in agriculture in the teaching profession at Purdue. I always looked forward to attending your class. Thank you very much for your contribution in helping me attain a fulfilling career in agriculture.

Best wishes,

Don Wyss
Class of 1997


Dr. Taylor – A lot of memories have faded, but not those of the fresh-faced kid I was in 1978 when listening to your enthusiastic evocation of “guns and butter”!  I loved your passion and energy – it was truly inspiring.  As was the personal and caring approach you took to students.  From being the absolute best counselor a kid could ask for, to inviting groups of us into your home, to accepting in a heartbeat when I invited you to come over to FarmHouse to speak, you were always not just willing, but eager to interact with young folks.  The best part, of course, is that you challenged us to think for ourselves.  I went on to get a law degree from that other university – but at least I find myself often using economics in my practice, and I never have forgotten where that interest began.  You gave us such great gifts, and we are so thankful for it.  My dad, a farmer, used to say that the measure of a man is in the effect he has had on those around him.  In those terms, I’m afraid there isn’t a yardstick big enough for you.  May you and your family continue to be blessed in your retirement.

Wayne Turner
Ag Econ ‘82


Dear Bob...you will likely not remember me, but I was a PhD student at Purdue 1957-60.  Returned to U. of Ga. to teach for 20 years, then on to Winthrop University for an additional 25 years as dean of  the College of Business Adm.  I am thankful to Purdue University, the ag. econ. faculty, the economics faculty, and my fellow students during that time for the attention they gave to my education.  I surprised myself as well as the faculty, my fellow students, my family and others by earning a PhD at Purdue.
I wanted to congratulate you on your wonderful record of 50 years teaching at Purdue.  Obviously you were one of the best in a Department of very good teachers.  Having 40,0000 students over a 50 year career works out to some 800 per year.  That’s a lot of term papers to read and grade! 
Retirement is not bad.  The first few months are frightening but after adjustment, life can be great.  I wish for you a long and happy life after an outstanding career.
Best personal wishes, Jerry H. Padgett,
Jerry H. Padgett
Rock Hill, S.C. 29732    


Dear Dr. Taylor..........my, how time flies when your havin' fun!  It was in the fall of 1962 when I arrived on the Purdue campus, all the way north from Greencastle, Indiana.  I believe I had your AG ECON 101 class that fall, along with about 250 of my closest freshman class friends. Smile emoticon  We used MIT professor Paul Samuelson's text "Economics" as our "bible" and I still have it on my bookshelf, albeit a little dusty.  From those heady days of the early 60's, when we didn't know exactly how the country was going to survive the Viet Nam war era; to today, when we don't know exactly how we're going to survive a three war front............one thing has been a constant.  That constant has been the terrific AG Business education that you and so many of your colleagues provided to all of us that had the honor to attend the Purdue Ag School.  Following graduation in 1967 [I was a "proud 5 year man"], I completed a successful military career in the U.S. Air Force, served as a non-profit exec for several years and now live on the eastern shore of Maryland.  Regardless of our varied paths of life, the bedrock for many of us began within the walls of Smith Hall and the many other iconic buildings of the "AG campus"!
Best wishes on your "Golden Anniversary" and a truly stellar career of commitment to the education of thousands of proud Purdue Ag graduates!
Most sincerely,

Terry S. Pehan
AG '67


I did not have Bob Taylor for a teacher/prof during my 4-year graduate school experience in AgEcon from 1964-1968, but I new Bob as he began his career there.  I had Kepner for my M.S. and Oesterle for my PhD. major profs.  I was there when we moved into Krannert and had Paarlberg, Kohls, Schuh, Babb, Hardin, French, Haidacher, Snyder, et al. for my profs.  However, anyone who puts in 50 years mentoring that many students has my vote.  Bob, I hope you enjoy your retirement.  You have more than earned it.  Congratulations.  I retired at the end of 2010 from Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis after 33 years here, 3 years with Magnavox in Ft. Wayne and 5 years with NCR in Dayton, OH.  I have not been back to West Lafayette since I got my degree.  I am sure it has changed a lot.  Greetings to everyone else that is able to attend the Retirement Celebration.

Galen Blomster, M.S. ’66, PhD. ‘69


Dear Dr. Taylor,

What great memories I have of you teaching 310.  What other class could one learn the principles of farm organization and watch a southerner pick a banjo, lamenting the lovers that got away, all in the span of one hour?  A couple of years ago I heard a wise teacher say that, "All true learning is relational".  Bob, you had this figured out a long time ago and perfected its application into the model that others now seek to emulate and duplicate.

Two specific memories that always come to the top:  1)  I was included in a select bunch of students to have dinner with you and your wife in your home.  What an honor it was.  I remember wondering just what I had done to deserve such preferential treatment.  I think maybe the whole class ended up experiencing the same thing.  2)  I was president of a small student organization and needed a speaker for an event.  You gladly accepted my invitation to speak to just 30 or 40 students at Stewart Center one night; many of these students were not in the ag school.  They were totally inspired by your words and the night was real success for me.  For you it was just another late night at the office, but you acted like it was your most important appointment of the year.  I still owe you a favor! 

I pray that God will bless you in the retirement years ahead in the way you have spent a lifetime blessing others with the best years of your life, your best efforts, and your best and highest thoughts.

Most Sincerely,

Steve Byrum

Ag Econ. Class of 1988    


Dear Bob,
As I recall a conversation with you fifty years ago, I am not surprised that you have had a big impact on 40,000+ students. You talked then about your love of teaching. Thanks for being there for all of those students. May you enjoy a more self-paced service to the world as you go forward into this new career called retirement.
Joe Stafford
Ag 61, MS 62, PhD 65


Best wishes in your helping others learn, post retirement. Thanks for all you've done over the past half-century. It is my pleasure having spent time at Purdue with you.

I was in your AGEC 690 course, Teaching Ag Economics, during the spring of 1992.


Yours in learning,
Stan Ullerich (PhD, 1995)
Dean and Economist
Siebens School of Business
Buena Vista University
Storm Lake IA 50588


Dr. Taylor, My name is Charles "Mike" Smithers, from Charleston, West Virginia. You were my academic advisor from the fall of 1966 until the spring of 1970. I received my degree in Ag Business Management. After graduation, I became a Marine Corps officer and later worked for Quaker Oats in Shiremanstown, Pa. In 1977, I returned to my hometown and have operated our family restaurant ever since. I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful career at Purdue and wish you the best in your retirement. GO PURDUE!!



I plan to attend Dr. Taylor's April 22nd celebration.

Dr. Taylor was quite the inspiration that propelled me to follow my dreams. I will be eternally grateful to him for the life-changing principles that he instilled in me.

Kyle Mandeville
Ag Econ. 1999


In the fall of 1962 you tried to make interesting the components of the GDP.  GDP - it has been some time!  Anyway, what you really taught me was a process of how to arrive at decisions.  The logic to use (utles for fun) and how marginal utility works for so many things .
Thanks for the influence you had on my life. 
James Burnett BS AgEcon 65


Thank you Dr. Taylor for your passion and enthusiasm that you've shared with countless students around the world.  You brought meaning and purpose to education that made learning a lifelong passion for me.  Not only have you taught multiple generations, but your legacy will live on for generations to come.
Thank you for your great contribution to Purdue, the state of Indiana and the world.
Boiler Up!
Ron Zeltwanger
Ag Econ 1982


Dr. Taylor,
I’d like to wish you the greatest retirement possible as you deserve it.  If there is one common denominator of any Ag student that comes out of Purdue, it’s that they ALL remember you. I doubt that you remember me but I graduated in 2003 and helped you out on I believe it was your son’s barn, putting a new roof on and maybe helped on a few other items at your home in W. Lafayette.  Anyways,  my older brother took your class and told me that I(along with my twin brother) must take it as well and obviously it was great.  Thank you for all the lessons.

Have a great retirement!!!

Matt Schmitt
Class of 2003

Hello, I just wanted send a short note to Dr. Taylor and say congratulations on 50 years of teaching at the College level.  I was not so fortunate to have Dr. Taylor as an instructor, but I was always impressed with what many of my classmates had to say about him.  I was always under the impression that Dr. Taylor stressed the importance of hard work and perseverance when it came to the courses that he taught. I believe he was a great role model for his students.  Dr. Taylor, I wish you a great Retirement and Godspeed.

Andrew Baird
Class of 1990


Dr. Taylor,

Best wishes for your retirement. You have impacted many lives through your teachings.

From a 1975 graduate and former president of the Ag Econ Club.

Bob Fowler
Global Leader Market Intelligence

Dow AgroSciences


March 16, 2011

Dear Bob…


Word of your notable retirement, as a long-time, key player with the Purdue University, comes as bittersweet news!  Bitter in the departure of legend, a dedicated leader, and a respected friend; but sweet in the knowledge that you now join our ranks, where you can really take advantage of and enjoy the fruits of your productive career!!!!

Nonetheless, Cay and I want to personally take this opportunity to wish you a delightful retirement; one filled with all those things you enjoy and cherish.

Men and women create all kinds of crowns and give awards in all shapes and sizes to those whom we wish to honor.  The most valuable crown of all, however, is the crown of a good name and reputation!  Dr. Robert W. Taylor has indeed earned those enviable honors!!!!

We regret we are not available to attend and participate in your reception on April 22, 2011 as a result of being out of town.  Nonetheless, we know it will be a grand and most deserved recognition.  Truly it should be a top-flight “departure” event for a “Top-Flight” comrade!

Best wishes with our kindest regards, Dr. Bob!



Norman and Cay Long
5808 Prophets Rock Road
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Ag Econ student 1963 & 1964
Graduate in Class of 1964
Extension Service Comrade 1972-1998



You have a great memory, and even though you were my professor as well as counselor from 1973-77, you probably won’t remember me.  Even though I sat in the front row (I could see and hear better), you probably looked right over my head during class!  I was a low profile student still trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I graduated with my degree in Ag Business Mgmt.  I had some experience while in college with seed research in Tipton County, IN and had an opportunity to start there at the ground level.  I didn’t have the training in plant breeding although I took genetics as a free elective and always admired Jim Wilcox’s work in soybeans.  I was fortunate to have good mentors who helped me to focus on what was important for the farmer.  During the past 34 years I have been fortunate to hire outstanding individuals who helped me develop a soybean breeding program that is second to none in the industry.  Varieties from my 5 person team have been planted on over 60 million acres in the U.S., provided $600M to farmers in added value and will soon exceed $2B in sales for the world’s largest seed company.  These varieties have been successful because they were what the farmer needed, when he needed it and added value.  I’m still a low profile individual and am somewhat uncomfortable discussing our success, but I compete very successfully with my Purdue BS in a PhD dominated field and I truly believe that I can do that because of the well rounded education I received at Purdue.  Not necessarily training in the technical areas of plant breeding, but in how to analyze and prioritize, manage budgets, hire quality people, the importance of risk taking as well as focus on what’s important.  I tell colleagues that a BS from Purdue is the equivalent of a PhD from any other top school!  Quality mentors such as you, Eric Oesterle, Larry Bohl and others helped prepare me for what has turned out to be a very rewarding career.  I just wanted you to know that the kid in the front row (who may not have looked like it) WAS listening and I THANK YOU!

Wishing you the best in retirement!  You have earned some time off!

Tom Floyd  Ag’77
Senior Soybean Breeder

Monsanto Company
14018 Carole Drive
Bloomington, IL  61705

Dr. Taylor, Good luck to you in your retirement!  You may not remember me, but I was a "mature student" when I went back for my PhD in 1985 at Purdue on a USDA training opportunity.  I took your teaching course and enjoyed it then and still refer to it from time to time as I have taught for the last 15 years at the USDA Graduate School in Washington, DC.  I am not sure if I would have ventured into the teaching business without the insights and encouragement that I gained from the experiences in your class.  If you are ever in DC, please look me up.

Best regards, Felix Spinelli, PhD Purdue 1991, Agricultural Economics.

Dr. Felix (Phil) Spinelli, Senior Economist Resource Economics, Analysis and Policy Division Strategic Planning and Accountability USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
5601 Sunnyside Avenue, GWCC- 1110-D
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-5000

I know own my own business and every time I go to make a capitol purchase I remember  Bob Taylor’s class about “Big Money Syndrome” when making purchases.    So I am always cautious on the amount I invest in Capital Improvements because even though I have the money I still have to pay for it.


Jim Donahoe

Aquatic Weed Control
P. O. Box 325
Syracuse, IN 46567
Sediment Removal Solutions
2105 Carmen Court
Goshen IN, 46526

Dear Dr. Taylor;

I do not think I ever took one of your classes but, I was a graduate student in the early years of your employ with the Purdue Agricultural Economics department.  I want to wish you all the best in your retirement and I hope you will remain active and dedicated to enjoying the rewards of seeing so many you have taught make changes in our world.  All the best!

Robert E. Lee, PhD

Robert E. Lee, Agribusiness Advisor
Lee Agribusiness Connections, Inc.
P. O. Box 454
9 East Shore Dr.
Harrison, ME 04040

Dr. R.W. Taylor

I want to wish you a happy retirement and to thank-you for the tremendous impact you made on my life as a student and now as an extension educator. As I've told you before I continue to use many of your basic economic and farm management principles as I council farmers and farm land owners.  MC = MR. I feel blessed to have had you for an instructor for 3 classes from my freshmen year through my junior year. I can think of no other College of Ag instructor that has touched more lives and helped to shape more young minds than what you have done.

I will also never forget the way you started ever class, " Does anyone have any questions?".  Then you either started the lecture or occasionally your next sentence was, "Well good, I've got a few for you" and then you passed out a quiz.

Again Best of luck Dr. Taylor and if you are ever passing through Reynolds don't hesitate stopping by our office at the White County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Greg Bossaer
White County Office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service

Class of 1977.

I was a student I think in 2002 in his Ag Econ Class. I remember dreading it as I had the worst teacher in high school. However, when I started the class, I couldn’t help but to learn. The lectures were great and interesting, but even better was the BOOK! I loved the stories that went along with everything as it made SO much since that way. It was just so awesome to have a complete turnaround in what I thought about the subject and made learning so much easier that way. I greatly appreciated the time and effort that was obviously given to the class and to the students to make learning possible.

Nikky Witkowski
Agricultural & Natural Resources/Horticulture
Extension Educator, Lake County


My former technician at Purdue sent me your retirement announcement.  I want to wish you all the best.  You probably don't remember me but I was an extension specialist in agronomy at Purdue in the 80's and 90's. 
I'll never forget a presentation you made on production economics and fertilizer use sometime in the 80's for one of the winter extension programs in Stewart Center.  You were at your best and had the audience eating out of your hand.

Enjoy your retirement.

David B. Mengel, Ph.D.
Professor of Agronomy
Kansas State University

History of the Department of Agricultural Economics Dr. Taylor presented an interesting history of the Department of Agricultural Economics prior to the Snyder Lecture on April 15, 2003. This video is best viewed using Windows Media Player.

The Indiana Praire Farmer has featured Dr. Taylor in their February, 2011 issue with two articles.

RSS Feed | General Info | Web Policies
1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636)

Department of Agricultural Economics , 403 West State Street,
West Lafayette, IN 47907-4773 USA, (765) 494-4191
© 2011 Purdue University. An equal access, equal opportunity university. If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact our Webmaster.