Bonnie Lee Appleton, of Norfolk,Va., was awarded the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

Appleton was recognized for her dedication to teaching excellence and her positive impact on students’ lives by sharing her love of horticulture.

Appleton, a professor of horticulture and an Extension nursery specialist, strives each day to offer her students a personalized educational experience. Her extraordinary success as a teacher can be attributed to her enthusiasm, creativity, and ability to connect with a variety of audiences.

Appleton has been responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing Virginia Tech’s extended campus master of science degree program in horticulture. Based at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Virginia Beach, the program is the only one of its kind in the United States. Under her superior leadership and coordination, the program has enrolled more than 150 students who have taken one or more classes.

“Dr. Appleton has been the body and soul of the master’s in horticulture program at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center. In many cases, students have chosen this program over other opportunities because they specifically wanted to earn their degrees under Bonnie’s direction. Her enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication to the program come across strongly,” says Jerzy Nowak, professor of horticulture and department head.

Appleton has also developed an impressive, nationally recognized Extension program, which focuses on the development and delivery of research-based technology on production and management strategies for the horticultural industries.

“Her love for the students is evident,” says Laurie Fox, research associate and Ph.D. student. “In addition to the traditional role of professor, Bonnie has many other roles: mentor, graduate advisor, and Extension specialist—each with very important teaching components. Whether she is in front of a class, a group of her peers, a national audience of industry professionals, or one-on-one with a homeowner, a graduate student, or an Extension agent, Bonnie always seizes a teachable moment.”

Ranked 11th in agricultural research expenditures by the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.