Year Inducted: 
2017

Rupert G. Seals, a Fayette County native, has had an esteemed career in higher education, rising through the ranks from instructor to professor and dean. He has given much to agriculture through exemplary academic leadership, and his advocacy and action in creating a national awareness of the vital need for increased economic support and opportunities for African-Americans at land-grant universities.

During high school in Lexington, Seals was elected to two national offices – secretary and president - for the New Farmers of America. This organization was established in 1935 to serve agriculture students where schools were segregated by law. The organization merged with the National FFA organization in 1965.

Seals received his bachelor’s degree in dairy science in 1953 from Florida A&M University. He returned to Kentucky and in 1956 became the first African-American to receive a master’s degree from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. In 1960, he became only the fifth African-American to earn a doctorate from Washington State University.

During his career, Seals taught at Washington State, Tennessee State University, Iowa State University and the University of Nevada. He was professor and dean of the School of Agriculture and Home Economics at Florida A&M from 1969 to 1974. He was associate dean of the College of Agriculture and professor of animal nutrition at the University of Nevada from 1976 to 1987.

He returned to Florida A&M in 1989 to direct international programs for five years, and then taught biochemistry until he retired in 1998. In addition, he coordinated special research projects for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research Service in Washington, D.C., for two years.

His book, Disparity: An Analysis of the Historical, Political and Funding Factors at the State Level Affecting Black Academic Agriculture, published in 1998, details some of the early politics accompanying the designation of both the predominantly white and predominantly black land-grant schools in 17 southern states.

He has received numerous honors including being inducted into the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame at Tuskegee University. He is the recipient of the Washington State alumni achievement award and the distinguished graduate award from the Washington State University Department of Animal Science.

He has been an active member of the NAACP, American Dairy Science Association, American Chemical Society and the Institute of Food Technologies. The Reno, Nevada, resident has been a trailblazer and a scholar producing more than 50 publications and abstracts as well as numerous depositions and federal court testimonies.