Rick Cartwright

Rick Cartwright, senior associate vice president for agriculture-extension for the University of Arkansas System, will retire.

The director of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service on Wednesday announced plans to retire in June 2020.

Rick Cartwright, senior associate vice president for agriculture-extension for the University of Arkansas System, made the announcement in an email to employees.

“Twenty-seven years ago, I accepted an offer to return from California and work again for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. It was an opportunity to put my plant pathology Ph.D. from UC Davis to work, to bring me back to my home state, and to work with the best people anywhere – you,” Cartwright said. “I have never regretted that decision.”

In his message, Cartwright said simply that “for everything there is a season, a time for every purpose, and my time as your director will come to a close by June 30, 2020.”

Cartwright was appointed director Aug. 1, 2017. He had been serving as interim associate vice president for agriculture-extension since Sept. 1, 2016, just after the departure of then-director Tony Windham.

Since joining the Division of Agriculture in 1992, Cartwright served in a number of roles both on the Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station sides. He has international recognition as a rice pathologist. Moving into administration, Cartwright served as interim head of the plant pathology department, and more recently has been associate director-Agriculture and Natural Resources for extension.

Cartwright grew up in agriculture, on a farm in Stone County, including time in a county 4-H club. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of California-Davis.

“I was grateful to be a part of the very real and substantial transformation of our organization into a 21st century model,” Cartwright said. “Our work together has been a singular privilege.”

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