College of Agriculture


Jeanette Lowe

For Jeanette Lowe, the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico is more than just her alma mater. It's her home. The 2015 Distinguished Alumna has been involved with the college almost all her life and from many different points of view. She completed both her undergraduate degree in agriculture business and her teaching credential at CSU, Chico. She mentored student teachers from Chico State, encouraged high schoolers to attend Chico State, lectured in classes, and made her Superior Region Future Farmers of America office at the University Farm. The College of Agriculture helped mold the philosophy she now shares with students: "Dream big, follow your passion, work hard, and love what you do."

The Orland native was born into agriculture and began working for her grandfather as soon as she could run slips back and forth at the Orland sale yard where he worked as an auctioneer. At the age of nine, Lowe first caught the eyes of Chico State professors Ron Hutchings and Wes Patton, who started recruiting her when she took part in her first livestock judging contests as a 4-H member in CSU, Chico's 4-H Field Day. Along with judging livestock, she showed cattle and sheep as a 4-H and FFA member, and has been an integral part of her parent's cattle operation, continuing with her own cattle and hay and grain operation in Lincoln to this day.

After graduating from Orland High School, Lowe moved to the Central Coast where she spent two years at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After realizing her heart was in Northern California, Lowe transferred back to Chico State in her junior year to study agricultural business. Lowe found no trouble getting into the groove of things upon transferring to CSU, Chico. She reflects on her time in the College of Agriculture and appreciates the skills she gained as a student, saying "The communication skills and business courses have helped me in anything and everything I do. I was always pushed to give reasons, make speeches, and work in groups, and those skills are priceless."

After graduating with an agriculture business degree, Lowe went to work in marketing for SunWorld, a company based out of the Coachella Valley, but when they offered her a position in Southern California, the bonds of Northern California were still too strong to break. "I could have seen myself growing in agriculture business, but I wasn't ready to move," Lowe said. "I needed to stay local."

She went back to school at Chico State to earn her teaching credential and went to work at Hamilton High School, where she taught for 13 years. During her time at Hamilton High School, Lowe mentored 17 different student teachers and served as the school counselor. Lowe took the opportunity as counselor to point students in the direction of CSU, Chico.

Lowe's bonds with CSU, Chico never truly faded, and she guest lectured regularly for agriculture education professor Dennis Hampton. When Superior Region FFA Supervisor Brad Dodson replaced Hampton at Chico State in 2000, Lowe stepped in to take Dodson's place as the regional consultant for the state department of education. Lucky for both the university and Lowe, the University Farm became a satellite office for her position with the FFA. Lowe said "The working relationship between the faculty and FFA has always made me feel like I am a part of the faculty and staff."

When asked for her impression of the College of Agriculture today, Lowe said, "I love it. The advancements made with the farm, the cleanliness, beautification, modernization, and implementation of sustainability are all such great developments." Lowe has been with the college in times of growth and in times of need, and said "The vision of both Interim Dean Dave Daley and the faculty to keep up with the growing college using the same numbers of staff is incredible. Not only that, but the college is attracting phenomenal students and allowing great diversity from out of state. It's wonderful to see."

Lowe credits much of her career success to her time at CSU, Chico, and her involvement within the College of Agriculture. "Everyone has always treated me as if I'm part of the team," she said. "I'm blessed and thankful. It's been an amazing ride."

Lowe was selected by the College of Agriculture faculty as the 2015 Distinguished Alumna for her excellence in the field of agriculture education, mentorship of students, and contributions to the College of Agriculture. "It's the highest honor I can imagine," she said. "I take more pride and happiness from watching others succeed, and would rather be someone behind the scenes than the one recognized. But to be recognized by family means more than I could ever say."

Lowe received her 2015 Distinguished Alumni award along with seven other alumni University-wide during a ceremony Bell Memorial Union on April 10, 2015.