Dr. Rubert Prevatt (center) receives a plaque inducting him into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame from Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and FSC President Anne Kerr.
Mar 10, 2014
Hailed as a “professor extraordinaire,” former FSC Professor Rubert Prevatt was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame at the annual Citrus Celebration on March 7.
Dr. Prevatt, the John and Ruth Tyndall Professor of Citrus Science Emeritus at FSC, taught at FSC from 1970 to 1999. He is credited with teaching a substantial number of the current managers and executives in the Florida citrus industry. At the conclusion of the ceremony, he was surrounded by more than 50 of his former students, who came to express their appreciation of his career preparing them for positions in the citrus industry.
Dr. Prevatt was raised in a family that owned citrus groves, and he studied agriculture and soil chemistry at the University of Florida. He set up and ran the state’s first soil testing laboratory at the university in 1948. He worked for the Doctor Phillips Company, a commercial grower, completed his Ph.D. in soil science at the University of Florida, and worked as an agronomist for International Minerals Corporation (IMC) before joining the faculty of Florida Southern.
In a video prior to the presentation of the award, Dr. Malcolm Manners, who succeeded Dr. Prevatt in the Tyndall chair at FSC, said Dr. Prevatt “believed in experiential learning,” and saw to it that his students spent time in the field experiencing real-world situations and problems.
“He produced a generation of some of Florida’s best produce and citrus managers. He took great pride in that,” Manners said.
According to the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, more than 60 percent of Florida citrus groves are managed by students of Dr. Prevatt.
In the video presentation, State Rep. Ben Albritton ’90, whose family runs a grove management firm, said Dr. Prevatt put people first.
“He was loved by his students because he was interested in their lives. It was about relationships,” he said.
In accepting the award, Dr. Prevatt returned the affection directed at him.
“I’d like to say I enjoyed every single one of my students. I’m glad I was able to have a little influence on their lives,” he said.
Dr. Prevatt is the second FSC faculty member to be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, following the late Prof. Thomas B. Mack, who was inducted in 1997.