Sanford Dooley

Photo of Sanford Dooley
Award Year

The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Sanford Dooley as a 2010 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award. Dooley is a Professor and Extension Specialist for the Louisiana State University AgCenter.

Dooley is highly regarded by professional economic developers as well as Extension agents and local leaders. Explaining his value to communities across the state, Gail Cramer, Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Economics, and Karen B. Overstreet, Interim Director, School of Human Ecology, said “Those working in economic development in state agencies, utility companies or related groups depend on his work to prepare communities for economic development.” These types of projects, led to a joint venture with Human Ecology faculty to ensure that appropriate family issues such as quality childcare, livability factors and related issues were included when economic development topics were addressed.

From quality of life concerns to business development, “Dr. Dooley devoted his entire career to improving the lives of citizens in rural communities and is exactly the type of person that Bonnie would appreciate,” Cramer and Overstreet said.

Two programs that stand out from his illustrious career include Community Leadership & Economic Development (CLED) and “The Seminar.” CLED, a 10-week workshop designed for emerging leaders including high school students, has earned national recognition from peers. These large classes encourage a diversity of residents to become comfortable inviting each other to meet informally to share ideas. Dooley commits years to this process by evaluating the community to ensure it is ready to empower potential leaders to take an active role in the redevelopment. The program has been so successful AARP has adopted it to help neighborhood recovery in New Orleans after Katrina.

Dooley’s second major program, “The Seminar,” is a two-day workshop designed for newly elected officials, volunteers, and others who may have some community and economic development responsibilities but very little if any background. Each seminar also highlights a local program so that participants can learn firsthand from those involved what they did.

“What sets his seminar apart from others is the willingness to take people at the level they are and provide the mentorship to get them where they need to be successful at their jobs,” Cramer and Overstreet said.

CLED and “The Seminar” are only two of the programs that Dooley has done over the years. To his credit, he has completed numerous community surveys, facilitated community meetings, and served on dozens of special project committees. Although Dooley retired in November 2009 after 42 years of service, he was hired back part time to continue his work with CLED and the community development seminar. “His hard work and cultivation of partnerships, leveraging assets and resources has been his trademark during his career,” said Pat Witty, Director, Community Outreach Services, and Lewis Smart, III, Director Community Development.

For his expertise along with his genuine desire to make a difference in small communities and in people’s lives, it is most fitting that Dooley be honored as a Southern Rural Development Center 2010 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award.

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