College of Agriculture


Bill Loveridge

Bill Loveridge likes to call himself a "jack of all trades and master of none." But his humble personality belies the fact that for hundreds of students who have gone through the small Sierra County high school in Loyalton, Loveridge has been a masterful teacher. The 1976 agriculture graduate was selected as the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Agriculture.

Even as a student at Chico State, Loveridge didn't stick to doing just one thing. He was the features editor for the Chico Wildcat, which later became the Chico News and Review. He lent a hand at the University Farm helping with research projects, and held multiple part-time jobs to get him through college. After majoring in political science and meeting all the requirements for that degree, Loveridge changed his major to agriculture, where he could follow his heart into a teaching career. The professors who had the greatest impact on Loveridge were Jack Nolan and Wes Patton.

"I can honestly say they are the best teachers I've ever had. They both gave me hands-on opportunities that guided me back to agriculture," Loveridge said. "Once I started taking agriculture classes again at Chico State, I knew that's where I really needed to be."

Ted Gregg, regional supervisor for the state department of education, constantly reminded Loveridge he would be a great teacher. "I would work at Ted's house and watch his kids once in a while, and he was always after me about becoming an ag teacher," Loveridge said.

Upon graduation, Loveridge and his wife Susan, a natural sciences graduate, moved to Rocklin, which was a central location for his student teaching job in Lincoln and her computer application internship in Sacramento. Loveridge received a lot of support from Patrick McCartney and the Lincoln High School Ag Department, the same program he went through as a young student. After finishing his student teaching, Loveridge replaced a teacher on sabbatical at Lindhurst High School for a semester, then moved to Anderson High School in 1978. There he taught basic agriculture courses, horticulture, animal science, welding, farm mechanics, and horse science. During his time at Anderson he trained parliamentary procedure, public speaking, livestock judging, horse judging, cooperative marketing, horticulture, and other teams.

In 1985, Loveridge made the third and final move of his teaching career when he accepted the job at Loyalton High School and moved to Loyalton, where he and Susan would raise three kids: Megan, Adam, and Emily. Over the next 25 years, Loveridge taught many classes including Animal Science, Ag 1, Ag 2, Agriculture Mechanics, Plant Science, Horticulture, Ag Speech and Leadership, and the list goes on. He developed and maintained a facility with two barns, a chicken house, a greenhouse, raised beds, pastures, and orchards. He also trained livestock judging, small engines, public speaking, Best Informed Greenhand, and other teams.

When students wanted to do something new and different, he was never closed to the idea and helped them succeed. One group of students wanted to have a computer applications team. Loveridge acknowledged that he didn't know what he was getting himself into.

"Not knowing much about computers, I wondered, ‘How hard could it be? There is a monitor, mouse, and a hard drive,'" Loveridge recalled. "To my surprise they exceeded my expectations and won their first competition at UC Davis. The next year they won the state."

Loveridge was an excellent agriculture teacher, but he often stepped outside the box and taught drama and coached football, soccer, and middle school basketball.

During Loveridge's career, he served on numerous committees in the agriculture education community, including 20 years and counting on the California FFA Foundation Board of Directors. He was appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Easton to be on the agriculture education focus group where he assisted in developing the California Standards for Agriculture Education and helped develop various statewide assessments for agriculture education. Loyalton High School then became a pilot school for this new California agriculture curriculum.

He was elected treasurer of the California Agriculture Teachers Association (CATA) in the late 1980s and became president four years later.

"My claim to fame is hiring Jim Aschwanden as executive director of CATA," Loveridge said of the successful leader, who celebrates his 20th year with CATA in 2012. 

Loveridge has always been active in his community. He has served as a director of the Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District, councilman for the city of Loyalton, and member of the Sierra County Transportation Commission and Sierra County LAFCO boards. In addition, he has volunteered at the fire department and served on the board of the Shasta County Farm Bureau.

Among Loveridge's many commitments, one of his strongest has been to his family's church, where he also serves on the board. In 2002, Loveridge's youngest daughter Emily, who was 10 at the time, convinced her parents to participate with her in a mission trip to the Philippines. "I went dragging my heels the whole way across the Pacific Ocean," Loveridge laughed. However, his reluctance was short-lived. When they returned to Loyalton, the Loveridges led the charge to raise enough money to buy 15 acres in the Philippines on which to build a farm so that students at a pastor training college would be able to learn how to raise their own food. Since then the family has made seven trips to continue to build the farm and help teach at the college.

In 2010, after three decades of teaching, coaching, and volunteering in his community and around the globe, a quiet retirement was not to be for Bill Loveridge. CEV Multimedia, a curriculum and educational resources company, quickly tapped into his talents.

"I was standing in the hog ring at Quincy Fair and I get a call from CEV Multimedia requesting that I become a sales consultant," Loveridge recalled. "I don't think I had a say in it, even after I told them I'm not really a salesman," Loveridge said chuckling. "It turns out they are a great company to work for and their product is really well-known and actually a good product to stand behind."

The career in education that began with the encouragement of his Chico State agriculture professors 40 years ago is still evolving. On April 20, 2012, Loveridge was honored for his impact on his students, community, and the agriculture teaching profession at a dinner celebrating the 2012 Distinguished Alumni from each college at CSU, Chico. Loveridge accepted his award with humility and disbelief.

"I don't feel like I've really done a whole lot, but I've always done a little. After a while, you look back on your life and career, and it turns out that a little bit over time adds up to a lot," Loveridge said.