This month, we said, “See you later,” to long-time board member, Dr. John Jensen, after 14 years of service to the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition.
Dr. Jensen obtained a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. and Ph.D. degrees both from Auburn University. If you know anything about the history of fisheries and aquaculture, then you know John Jensen. He spent a 40-year career dedicated to improving lives through the development of aquaculture in communities around the world. His contribution to Alabama Extension and Auburn University is so extensive, he simply smiles and laughs when you ask him what all he’s done in his career.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, Jensen served as a Peace Corp volunteer in Brazil, where he helped fishermen develop a fish marketing cooperative that would lift many out of poverty. In 1972, he joined the Auburn University staff as a research associate working to build a Brazilian aquaculture industry. Jensen returned to Auburn in 1975 and, in 1979, was appointed fisheries extension specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He was named head of Auburn’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures in 1995 and then interim dean of the College of Agriculture and interim director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station in 2001. He served in this role until 2004. Following his time as interim dean and director, he served as Auburn’s special assistant to the president for agriculture from 2004 to 2005. Upon his retirement in 2007, he was named professor emeritus and visiting scholar. He returned to Auburn from 2013 to 2015 to serve as interim director of his former department, which had been renamed the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. He officially retired for the second time in 2015. Over the years, Dr. Jensen received many awards and much recognition – one of the most prestigious having been his induction into the Auburn University Agriculture Hall of Honor in 2019.
Dr. Jensen, completed his hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012. He has continued to travel to Brazil and has helped establish an aquaponics system in Honduras to produce fish and vegetables for more than 500 orphans. He is fluent in Portuguese and can read and speak Spanish. Jensen and his wife, Marianne, have four children and six grandchildren with whom he enjoys fishing.
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. John Jensen for so many years. Because of his selfless devotion to the organization, Expo visitors are able to enjoy extensive, educational opportunities associated with fisheries and aquaculture. Dr. Jensen was honored at the April 2021 board meeting for his tenure as part of the governing body of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition. We wish him many casts and lots of catches in his future.