Seward Receives 4-H High Honor

James L. Seward

December 20, 2013

(Cooperstown, New York)— State Senator James Seward was named Distinguished 4-H Alumnus on December 12, 2013 at the Annual Meeting of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties.  Jim is the first documented New York Distinguished Alumnus to be listed in the National Directory. 

A native of Otsego County, Senator Seward attended Oneonta public schools and graduated from Hartwick College with a B.A. degree in political science. He also studied at the Nelson Rockefeller Institute of SUNY Albany.

Senator Seward was first elected to the state senate in 1986.  Today, Senator Seward serves as chairman of the Insurance Committee and is active on committees for Agriculture, Education, Finance, Health, Higher Education, Mental Health and Rules.

Senator Seward said, “The ideals I learned while a 4-H member helped give birth to my interest in public service and continue to foster my passion each and every day.  The leadership and life skills taught through the 4-H program provide a sound foundation that have served our alumni well and will guide the current crop of young members toward future success.  I am extremely humbled to be named a Distinguished 4-H Alumnus and will strive to live up to this prestigious honor.”

As a 4-H Club member, in the Jolly Junctioneers 4-H Club,  Jim learned firsthand the importance of leadership, public speaking, and community service.  Participating in 4-H events and activities, the value of projects completed, and the challenges and responsibilities experienced in 4-H contribute to the personal and leadership development of 4-H alumni.  A majority of alumni feel that 4-H experiences have also significantly contributed to their success in the workforce and that the knowledge and skills gained through 4-H continue to benefit them in their adult lives.

Many top entertainers, athletes, business individuals and educators got their first start in 4-H.  Well known alumni include Al Gore, Walter Mondale, David Letterman, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Nettles, Reggie White, Archie Manning, Orville Redenbacher, and Nancy Grace. 

About Distinguished 4-H Alumni
The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) creates, verifies, and maintains the data base of Distinguished 4-H Alumni. With support of National 4-H Headquarters at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA. The Nationwide directory was established to recognize 4-H alumni who are successful and have contributed to their communities.  4-H Alumni are making a major impact at the local, state, and national level.  Individuals are recognized in six categories, including Public Service, in which Senator Seward is being recognized.  The directory can be found at:

4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. In the United States, 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country.

For more information on 4-H in Schoharie and Otsego Counties, visit



Photo attached, (l-r,  Don Smyers, Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension  (CCE) Schoharie and Otsego Counties; James Bryant, President CCE Bd. Of Directors; Senator Seward; Patti Zellmer, 4-H Educator)