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AFE Announces a New Scholarship Honoring a Legacy of Education and Service

Introducing the Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy Memorial Scholarship Fund

Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy

Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy

A new scholarship has been established through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy. Established by Dr. C. Anne Whealy, this scholarship honors her parents and their commitment to continued education and community service. The scholarship ensures future generations are able to achieve their academic goals.

The Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy Memorial Scholarship supports Horticulture graduate students who have a minimum 3.0 GPA average and a research focus on reducing the effects of changing climates on floriculture crops. Climate change is having a profound impact on all facets of agriculture, including floriculture. Crop schedules, plant development, post-production, et al. have been shown to be affected by rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. This scholarship aims to support students doing work in this critical and impactful field.  Suggested fields of study for this scholarship are, but are not limited to: crop production strategies, plant breeding and selection which may include molecular transformation, plant physiology, post-production practices and growing structure modifications or innovation.

About the Honorees – Ruby N. & Roland A. Whealy: 

“In our home, education was always a priority in our lives.  At an early age, I knew that I was expected to attain a high level of education so that I could be of service to my community and the field/industry of my choice,” stated Dr. Whealy.

The legacy of continued education for the Whealy family started when Roland A. Whealy received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Eastern State Teacher’s College (now Dakota State University) in 1929. Following graduation, Mr. Whealy served as Principal of Schools at Fort Thompson, South Dakota.

His passion for learning then led him to the University of Iowa, where he received a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and continued in postgraduate study and research.

In 1935, Mr. Whealy accepted a position in the research laboratory of Ashland Oil, Inc. (now Ashland Inc.) He progressed through various positions with the company finishing his “official” career with Ashland Oil in 1972 as President of Ashland Oil International, Inc. in London, England. After his “retirement” from Ashland, Whealy continued to consult with the company on various worldwide projects, never ceasing in his service to the community and industry.

Roland met Ruby in Catlettsburg, Kentucky and they were married on December 17, 1939. Ruby and Roland had three children, Joyce Lee Whealy Reischutz, Steven Louis Whealy (deceased) and Catherine Anne Whealy; all of whom were encouraged to seek out learning and to serve their communities.

Always a champion for education and service, Ruby Nell Hughes Whealy attended Bowling Green Business University (now the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, receiving a degree in business in 1937. After graduating, Ruby accepted a position with the Child Welfare Department of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, a position in which she served the children of eastern Kentucky. She was known for her warm heart, quick wit, and ready smile.

Ruby was active for many years in the Girl Scouts of America, First United Methodist Women, Lee Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the American Heart Society, March of Dimes and numerous other charitable organizations.  Roland was active in the First United Methodist Church in various volunteer activities and coached numerous adult and children’s sports teams.

Anne followed her passion for flower and plant research, leading her to a career of dedicated service to the floriculture/horticulture industry.  Her commitment to the industry inspires the focus of this new scholarship.

Dr. C Anne Whealy and AFE’s Chairman Ken Young at AFE’s Friends of Floral Reception at SAF’s 2023 Convention

Following in her parents’ footsteps in pursuit of continued education, Dr. C. Anne Whealy completed her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. She then received her Doctorate at the University of Florida in Ornamental Horticulture. Throughout her studies, she was mentored by many leading floral industry researchers, including AFE’s own Research Director, Dr. Terril Nell, and longtime professor Dr. Jim Barrett at the University of Florida and Dr. Roy A. Larson at North Carolina State University. After graduating from the University of Florida, Anne accepted a position at the Ball Seed Company in West Chicago, Illinois, as Director of New Product Development.

“From education, to research, to patents, I have seen Dr. Whealy’s passion for floriculture and horticulture firsthand.  She is a champion for our industry, and through this scholarship, she is ensuring that future generations receive the support needed to become leaders themselves. This scholarship honors both her parents’ steadfast support of her pursuit of education and her own commitment to floral,” stated AFE’s Research Director, Dr. Terril Nell.

For the past 31 years, Anne has served the floral industry utilizing the knowledge she gained through her degrees and research as the Owner & Director of Proprietary Rights International. Proprietary Rights International is known as the premier U.S. Plant Patent service in the U.S., presently serving over 125 clients worldwide. Incredibly, Dr. Whealy is looking forward to celebrating the granting of her 8,000th U.S. Plant Patent later this year.


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