Hello Mr Mackenzie

Published Tuesday, 8th May 2018 in Staff news

Jake with Fiona and Robert attached. Picture: Greg Macvean
Jake Mackenzie in the King’s Buildings glasshouse with Professor Fiona Burnett and Robert Redpath

A former SRUC graduate who went on to enjoy a successful career in the United States government last week stepped foot in the King’s Buildings for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Jake Mackenzie, who studied Farm Management at the old Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture, spent three decades at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before retiring in 2002.

The 78-year-old has also enjoyed a distinguished career in local government in California, serving five terms as mayor of Rohnert Park, using the campaign tagline of “A Braveheart for City Council”.

Born in Sutherland but growing up in Edinburgh, Jake emigrated the year after his graduation in 1961. He then gained a doctorate in pesticide research from Oregon State University, where he was also captain of the rugby team.

But it was at SRUC that Jake’s journey began back in 1957 and he was thrilled to return to his old stomping ground, where he was given a tour of the Crop and Soils facilities by Professor Fiona Burnett, Dr Neil Havis and Senior Technical Supervisor Robert Redpath.

Jake said: “To come back here after nearly 60 years, it was fascinating to hear about all the advancements but it was also lovely to learn that Robert worked with David Erskine at the very end of his career. David was the man who sent me on my course to the United States and studying at what is now SRUC set me on my way for the rest of my professional life.”

Prof Burnett said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Jake back to SRUC after all these years, discovering how he was able to apply the knowledge he gained here to his role in US pesticide regulations. Of course, Jake also enjoyed being able to talk to Neil Havis about their shared love of Hibs!”

You can watch a film of Jake’s visit to the King’s Buildings below.

If you are a former student of SRUC and would like to arrange a visit, please email Julie van den Driesche, Alumni Relations Manager: Julie.vandendriesche@sruc.ac.uk

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