George John Broadwell, champion of 4-H, dies at 92

George John Broadwell ’53, Ph.D. ’69, who championed and expanded 4-H programming in rural and urban areas throughout New York, died July 9 in Ithaca. He was 92.

A professor emeritus of extension and education at Cornell, Broadwell began his career as a cooperative extension agent, first in Vermont and then in New York, and spent the rest of his career improving and advocating for outreach education, especially for youth in the 4-H program.

George Broadwell

Broadwell was hired as a senior extension associate and extension leader while completing his Ph.D. in education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. When he finished his doctorate in 1969, he was hired as an assistant professor with joint appointments in Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Department of Education (the department was dissolved in 2010).

Broadwell served for many years as program leader for the youth development 4-H program. He was credited with expanding the definition of 4-H and promoting the program in urban and rural areas. Under his leadership, the number of New York children and teens participating in the program more than doubled: By 1975, 780,022 youth were involved in 4-H. That year, in recognition of his efforts, Broadwell received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H agents.

Broadwell was also responsible for recruitment and development of cooperative extension staff, and he taught in the Department of Education until his retirement in 1988.

“I remember him as a kind and gentle soul with a very sharp wit,” said David Monk, a faculty member in the education department from 1979-99 who is now a professor emeritus at Penn State University.

Broadwell was born Jan. 14, 1930, in Troy, New York. He served in the U.S. Army in the late 1940s, before earning his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from CALS. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. Broadwell is survived by two children, three stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Krisy Gashler is a writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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