Early in his career in the Agronomy Department at North Carolina (NC) State University, Travis York also worked with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. He later served as Department Head at NC State, with responsibility for coordinating and leading the cooperative agronomy department in the nation. He returned to his undergraduate alma mater to serve as Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and then was named Administrator of the Federal Administration. From that post, he went to the University of Florida as Provost/Vice President for Agricultural Affairs, which also included administrative responsibility for programs of the statewide Cooperative Extension Service.
He also served as Executive Vice President and Interim President of the University of Florida and as Chancellor of the nine institutions of the State University System of Florida.
He took early retirement to concentrate on problems of world hunger and Third World Development and became Chairman of the Washington-based Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. He received a special citation from the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Distinguished Service Award of the Association of U.S. University Directors of International Agricultural Programs.
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