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2024 George Washington Carver Celebration Recap


Simpson College and the Indianola community hosted a three-day celebration in honor of George Washington Carver Day. The festivities began on Thursday, Feb. 1, with a presentation from the Carver Birthplace Association. It was a packed house where attendees learned about George Washington Carver’s early years and the current restoration of his first formal school, the 1872 Neosho Colored School.

George Washington Carver Day

On Friday, Feb. 2, the George Washington Carver Symposium: Innovations in Food Production featured a panel of globally recognized agriculture and food science leaders. The event was moderated by Dave Price of Gray Television American Farmland Owner, and panelists included Dr. George Annor of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta of Purdue University and Purdue Center for Global Food Security, and Dr. Rosalind James of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

George Washington Carver Day 2

Following the symposium, the George Washington Carver Awards luncheon brought together change-makers from the Midwest and beyond. Attendees heard from Dr. Zelia Wiley from Kansas State University in Lawrence, Kansas, Dr. Rolundus R. Rice from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and award winners from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Mexico. The 2024 George Washington Carver awardees winners are:

  • Jim Nelson for the Community Service Impact Award
  • Paul Llamas for the Simpson College George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award
  • Madi Neal for the Kansas State University George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award
  • Adrian (Trae) C. Hendricks III for the Lincoln University of Missouri George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award
George Washington Carver Day
Left to right: Adrian (Trae) C. Hendricks III, Jim Nelson, Madi Neal, Paul Llamas

See below for award winner bios*

The day wrapped up at West Hill Brewing Company with the “Peanut Genius” beer, produced by Simpson alums Doug Gaumer and Heather Norris Gaumer.

George Washington Carver Day

Saturday, Feb. 3, brought community members to the Indianola square where there were several hands-on events, including story time, planting, and a scavenger hunt.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers and #ONESimpson family who made this event possible. 

2024 George Washington Carver Award Bios

Jim Nelson – Community Service Award Winner

Jim Nelson grew up on a farm in Adams County, Iowa, graduated from Prescott High School in 1955, and received a BS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Iowa in 1959. He practiced as a pharmacist in Winterset for 55 years. He married Patricia Ryan in 1957, and together they raised four children. He served on the Madison Extension Council, State Extension Advisory Council, and the Nation Committee of CARET (Council Agriculture Research Education and Training). Jim is a lifetime Master Gardener; he has taught vegetable classes for master gardener training in several counties and has given lectures locally on gardening. He has also had the privilege of caring for Winterset’s George Washington Carver Park on Court St. To this day, Jim still enjoys gardening and volunteering in the community.

Paul Llamas '25 – George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award Winner

Paul Llamas is a third-year biology student at Simpson College. He was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He participated in research projects on ciliary motility in Tetrahymena and accessibility to specialty care for the Down syndrome population. Paul presented his findings at the Research and Creativity Symposium at Simpson College and the 2023 Mathfest in Tampa. He is currently working on a research project to develop an algorithm to classify graphene layers in image samples. He aims to receive a Ph.D. in Neuroengineering and dedicate himself to research.

Madi Neal – George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award Winner

Madi Neal is a Kansas State University senior studying Agricultural Communications and Journalism with a secondary major in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She serves as president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) K-State chapter. She is a Teaching Assistant for GENAG 210 Human and Cultural Diversity in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. In addition, as a Residential Learning Assistant, she mentors and teaches a Psychology of Prejudice class to first-year students. Madi also serves as the Project IMPACT Peer Mentor for MAPS and KOMPASS and meets with underrepresented students in agriculture to aid in their retention and success.

Adrian C. Hendricks III – George Washington Carver Trailblazer Award Winner

Adrian C. Hendricks III (Trae) is a junior at Lincoln University of Missouri. He is currently studying Agriculture Business and has a 3.0 GPA. He anticipates graduating in May 2025. Adrian is a young man of faith who recognizes the needs of those in the community and seeks to make a difference. He has worked as the Drummer and Mentor at the Joshua House Church for the last seven years, has been a mentor with HALO (Foundation for Kids without One) for two years, and meets with 15-20 underserved young men weekly. He offers life plans, advice, guidance, encouragement, leadership, and a lending ear to all in need. In addition, Adrian serves as the Chair of Community Relations for the Campus Activity Board. He is a member of MANNERS (Minors in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences) and Kappa Alpha Psi.