Hall of Fame Class of 1999
Richard Vilstrup, Professor of Agriculture Economics, Agri-business, and Marketing at the University of Wisconsin - Madison for 27 years and an active Professor Emeritus since 1990, is an outstanding educator who's creative and innovative contributions to cooperative education and leadership development have been recognized worldwide.
Dr. Vilstrup founded the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives whose initial focus was international cooperative education. He developed the National Cooperative Leadership program used in director training programs of nearly all the major regional cooperatives and state co-op councils. He guided Farm Credit Service Association's leadership into developing combined services; assisted credit union leaders in adapting new member programs; served on the team that established the first cooperative holding company; and consulted on several efforts to coordinate, consolidate, and merge marketing and supply cooperatives in the Midwest and Western states.
Through Dr. Vilstrup's leadership and advisory work, Wisconsin producers pioneered in the development of tele-auctions, the computer auctions of livestock, and the early introduction of video and satellite selling of cattle by major livestock marketing organizations. His cooperative hay marketing system, utilizing protein and quality testing, has been adapted in several hay production states. As Director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Energy Conservation programs, he received the Presidential Energy Award.
He was the leading spokesman for "Cooperation among Cooperatives" at the International Cooperative Alliance Meeting in Paris, France. He has represented the U.S. in meetings with cooperative leaders in a special government mission to Czechoslovakia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Central America, and Algeria. He has conducted leadership and educational programs in Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Central America, and Canada. In addition, he has engaged in research on cooperative communication and leadership. His many publications on communication and leadership issues have been translated into several languages worldwide.
The educational influence of Richard Vilstrup will certainly include his significant contributions to the development, guidance, counsel, and teaching of thousands of traditional and adult students in and beyond the traditional classroom.