George Washington Carver Day
George Washington Carver Day in Iowa
Feb. 1, annually
The state of Iowa has designated Feb. 1 of each year as George Washington Carver Day, beginning in 2023.
On George Washington Carver Day in Iowa, Carver’s life and legacy live on as a potent symbol of courage, perseverance and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
A special program was held Feb. 1, 2023, at Iowa State University in honor of the first George Washington Carver Day in Iowa. If you missed it, watch the livestream! You can also view the readings of Carver's work, as recited during the event by several College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students and other leaders at Iowa State. Additionally, see a list of Carver-inspired touches that were part of the event, from decorations to special food served.
Carver’s story is one of extraordinary resiliency. Born into slavery in Missouri around 1864, he sought higher education in Iowa, at Simpson College and Iowa State University. He was Iowa State’s first Black student, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After graduation, he became Iowa State’s first Black faculty member.
Carver left Iowa for the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he spent the rest of his life applying his innovative genius to agriculture. He became world renowned for creating hundreds of products made from peanuts, sweet potatoes and other native Southern crops.
A kind and patient teacher, Carver showed farmers how alternative crops and practices could benefit their bottom line and sustain their land. He took practical knowledge gained from science and delivered it to those working in the fields and rural areas.
Carver died in 1943. He received many honors during his life and after his death, including election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Iowa State.
It has been said of Carver that he wanted to turn the ugly into the beautiful and the wasteful into the useful, so that even “the poorest of God’s creatures” would be healthier, their homes more comfortable, their surroundings more beautiful and their lives more significant.
In Iowa, on Feb. 1, the reason to celebrate his legacy is to remember and honor George Washington Carver’s work ethic and inspiring innovation, and to help young people understand the extraordinary opportunities in science — and life.
Download George Washington Carver Day poster (8.5x11) (11 x 17)
Learn more about George Washington Carver, his connections to Iowa State University, to the state of Iowa, and to the nation and world:
Lessons from the Life of George Washington Carver
"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." — Carver
"The road to achievement has no short cuts." — Carver
Prepare, then innovate.
"...The more information one has, the greater will be the inspiration." — Carver
Fulfill your dream.
Listen to nature.
"Science is simply the truth about anything." — Carver
Teachers are life-changing mentors.
Be curious about the world. Carver was into nature, science, art, music, poetry, debate, military science, athletics, and he was a person of faith.