Agri-business broadcast great Orion Samuelson wears two pins on his lapel. One is the American flag, the other a 4-H flag.
During Samuelson’s inaugural Litton Lecture at the University of Missouri’s Monsanto Auditorium Monday, Samuelson attributed his rise to the pinnacle of broadcasting to his eight-year membership in the Kickapoo Rustlers 4-H Club as a child on a Wisconsin dairy farm.
The 2003 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee said he discovered a love of public speaking through 4-H and FFA memberships.
Samuelson said public speaking competitions through 4-H began the path to his job as the longtime co-host of Chicago station WGN’s morning show, daily “National Farm Report” and a weekly syndicated commentary, “Samuelson Sez.”
Samuelson toured the university Monday as part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ sponsored lecture series. The Jerry Litton Lectureship Series, endowed by the Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation, is designed to expand the entrepreneurial potential of students.
Samuelson has been awarded the National 4-H Alumni Award, is in the National 4-H Hall of Fame and is a trustee of the National 4-H Council.
His 4-H experiences will be recounted in his first book, “You Can’t Dream Big Enough,” scheduled to go on sale Nov. 1.
The late Jerry Litton held a degree in agricultural journalism with a minor in economics from MU. He returned to his hometown of Chillicothe to join the family’s cattle-breeding business and went on to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he advocated for the rights of farmers and consumers. He won the Missouri Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on Aug. 3, 1976. He, his wife and their two children, as well as the pilot and his son, died in a plane crash just after takeoff at the Chillicothe airport en route to a victory celebration in Kansas City.