Michael and Winifred Tate receive highest Michigan 4-H honor

Michael and Winifred Tate have been honored with the prestigious Michigan 4-H Citation Award at a ceremony on Sept. 30.

Michael and Winifred Tate have been honored with the prestigious Michigan 4-H Citation Award at a ceremony on Sept. 30. The Tates were recognized during the Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Foundation in East Lansing. 

Two Michigan 4-H Citation Awards are given each year. They honor individuals and organizations whose multicounty, regional, state, or national contributions and support have significantly advanced the work of MSU Extension’s 4-H Youth Development. The contributions of honorees have expanded the capacity of Michigan 4-H to affect the lives of Michigan young people in positive, significant and meaningful ways. This award, given since 1946, is the highest recognition bestowed by Michigan 4-H Youth Development and is presented with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation. 

Mike began his MSU Extension career in 1972 as a Michigan 4-H agent. In 1976, he became a statewide Michigan 4-H program leader, then became state 4-H director and assistant director for MSU Extension in 1983. He served in this dual role until 1993. Under Mike’s leadership, the Michigan 4-H program prospered. He recruited and supported a large and diverse cadre of faculty and staff. Mike developed many partnerships with nonprofits, which increased 4-H’s visibility and strengthened its relationships with policymakers, ultimately securing nearly $7 million in grants during his tenure. 

After 26 years with MSU Extension, Mike became a professor and associate dean and director for Washington State University Extension. He served as WSU’s chief diversity officer from 2010 until he retired in 2014 as professor emeritus. In recognition of his many contributions to Michigan 4-H, Tate was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2014, and in 2017, he was elected as a Michigan 4-H Foundation honorary trustee. 

The Tates have been long-time supporters of 4-H and the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens. They have sponsored two gardens: the Sundial Garden, in memory of Mike’s mother, Dorothy Willis Tate, and the African American Garden, which was sponsored with tribute gifts made in honor of Mike’s retirement. 

In 2014, Mike and Winifred joined the 4-H Leadership 10, a group which served as leadership supporters and public advocates for the Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future. During this time, the Tates established the Michael J. and Winifred Ann Tate Endowment Fund to support the upkeep of garden spaces and programming in those spaces.  

Sadly, Mike passed away in April 2023. This Citation Award is in celebration of the Tates’ combined commitment for 4-H. In these and many other ways, Mike and Winifred have shown their continued dedication to Michigan 4-H, helping to ensure that Michigan 4 H is well-positioned to continue to help Michigan’s young people learn, grow, and succeed. 

The Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration was hosted and emceed by MSU Extension Associate Director Matt Shane, a Kent County 4-H alumnus and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. The Michigan Community Service Commission also received the Michigan 4-H Citation Award at the event. For more information on the Michigan 4-H Citation Award and awardees, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-4-h-citation-award/. 

The Michigan 4-H Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For more information about the Michigan 4-H Foundation, visit www.mi4hfdtn.org. Michigan 4-H Youth Development is the youth-serving program of MSU Extension. Nearly 100,000 youth are involved in 4-H with the support of 9,000 adult volunteers. For more information about Michigan 4-H, visit www.4h.msue.msu.edu. 

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