Mount San Antonio College Professor of Horticulture Dave Lannom, was celebrated as Horticulturist of the Year by the Southern California Horticulture Society (So Cal Hort) at the Annual Awards banquet held on June 12th at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
So Cal Hort President Steven Gerischer says the Board of Directors keeps a list of individuals who have made major contributions to the many facets of horticulture. “This year it was time to again honor an educator. Professor Dave is an example of what a huge influence a truly great teacher can have on an entire industry. “
Once himself a student in Ornamental Horticulture at Mt. SAC., Professor Dave continued his education then began his teaching career at Cal Poly Pomona. His career path detoured through private nursery management. In 1985 he returned to academia as a faculty member at Mount SAC, where in time, he was chosen as the Department Chairperson for Agriculture. His career is now full circle with his return to the classroom.
Outside his teaching academic career, Professor Dave’s influence runs across the horticulture world. He is a well-regarded member of the California Association of Nurserymen and Garden Centers as well as the International Plant Propagators Society. He extended his leadership through the Master Gardener Program and is a coveted horticulture speaker throughout Southern California.
Over 100 people enjoyed the jocular recognition banquet. Duly noting the professor is highly rated on the blog Rate My Professors, the unflappable Nicholas Staddon, Director of New Plants at the wholesale grower, Monrovia, tuned in a more serious tempo with personal observations gleaned from 20 years of collegial collaboration. He affirmed the honoree is more than a man possessed with an aura of good humor. He related this sought-after giant of agricultural literacy “has a firm handshake and sincerity.”
Known for his trademark teaching style of swirling hard data with stories from his fabled career, the professor has earned fierce loyalty amongst his students through turning even irritating little moments into opportunities to have some fun. For example, when a student’s cell phone goes off during a lecture, the offender is assigned to supply chips and salsa for the class.
The relationship between students and teacher does not end with the graduation. Many of his students have gone on to run nurseries, supervise parks departments, or earn PhD's. Students from 35 years ago still keep in touch.
One former student at the banquet was Robert Walton. The Forestry Assistant with LA County Fire Department recalls not being particularly motivated to continue his formal education after high school. He states” Without his influence, I don’t think I would have graduated from college. He led by doing. Not just in horticulture: in life. “
In his remarks, Professor Lannom explained his success with students as based on “God Blessed me with a passion for horticulture and teaching. I get up every morning excited to go to work. “
So Cal Hort meets once a month, generally the second Thursday, at the Friendship Auditorium near Griffith Park. More information is available at So Cal Hort Society website or by calling 818/567-1496.