Black honored as Distinguished Alumnus for Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Oct. 26, 2012
Contact Information:

Steve Halbrook, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness
479-575-2258 /

Dave Edmark, Agricultural Communication Services
479-575-5647 /

Download story
black and halbrook

Russell Black (left), Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, accepts a framed painting of the Agriculture Building on the UA campus from Steve Halbrook, department head.
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness has honored Russell Black as 2012 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

In 1966, Black was one of the first two graduates to receive the B.S.A. degree in Agricultural Business. After serving a few years in the Peace Corps and working for private industries such as the Pillsbury Co. and Tyson Foods, Inc., Black and his wife Brenda began an entrepreneurial career in the ornamental horticulture industry in 1974. The Blacks, together with their two sons, have owned and operated Westwood Gardens Inc., since 1982.

With four stores in Northwest Arkansas, Westwood Gardens provides full-service garden centers featuring greenhouse-grown annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and poinsettias. The company also provides an interior plant design and maintenance service to restaurants, offices and homes.

Black has received several national awards including the Top 100 Revolutionary Garden Centers, Top 50 Horticulture Leadership Award and Alpha Gamma Rho's Top 100 Brothers of the Century. Black has served as the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity chapter advisor for 23 years and serves on the Department of Horticulture Review Board.

"We present this award to Russell Black in recognition of his career of leadership and service for Arkansas agriculture and in appreciation of his dedication to the University of Arkansas and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness," said Steve Halbrook, department head.