Celebrating 150 Years of Excellence in Agriculture at Iowa State

April 18th, 2007

AMES, Iowa "“ The College of Agriculture will celebrate 150 years of excellence in agriculture at Iowa State University with the kick-off of the university's year-long sesquicentennial at Veishea on Saturday, April 21.

"We have a rich heritage and an exciting future," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture. "We're proud to celebrate 150 years serving Iowa and the world."

In 1858, the seed that grew into today's Iowa State University was planted. That year, the Iowa Legislature chartered the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm. As a land-grant institution, Iowa State was founded primarily to provide practical education in agriculture and mechanic arts.

"Today, the College of Agriculture is one of the world's leading institutions of agriculture, providing leadership in science, education and extension," said Wintersteen. "Our nearly 34,000 living alumni are making a difference for Iowa, the nation and the world."

Iowa State's 150th birthday bash will span an entire year. The fun starts with the Veishea celebration on April 21 and runs through spring 2008. Keep up with the university's 150th events at the sesquicentennial website, http://www.iastate.edu/~isu150/. College of Agriculture 150th activities will be posted on the college's homepage, http://www.ag.iastate.edu/.

On Saturday, during Veishea, the College of Agriculture and many of its departments and centers will have sesquicentennial tents on central campus. They will be open from noon to 4:30 p.m. The main college tent near Curtiss Hall will feature historical displays, a 1898 student recruitment poster, an Agriculture Student Council display that will include a drawing to give away a John Deere pedal tractor, and a space where visitors can do rubbings of historical highlights from the college.

Other departments, centers and programs in the College of Agriculture with sesquicentennial tents and activities include agricultural and biosytems engineering, agricultural education and studies, agronomy, animal science, economics, entomology, food science and human nutrition, sociology, statistics, natural resource ecology and management, horticulture, plant pathology, Center for Crops Utilization Research, Seed Science Center and microbiology.

Living History Farms also will have a tent set up on central campus. Bill Murray, a College of Agriculture professor in agricultural economics, played an instrumental role in making Living History Farms a reality in the 1960s.

Other sesquicentennial activities and projects planned the College of Agriculture during 2007-2008 will include:

- a lecture series, many honoring distinguished faculty of the past, which began this spring and will continue through the the next year

- a collection of alumni memories to be posted on the college website

- plans for an agriculture alumni gathering

- a "point of pride" to be posted each day on the college website for 150 days, beginning with the start of fall semester

- a series of "scientific legacy" stories on current research that has links back to historical or groundbreaking work in the college, which will be distributed widely

- monthly postings on the web highlighting articles from "Iowa Farm Science," a popular Experiment Station and Extension magazine that was published for about three decades beginning in the mid-1930s

- first-person essays from retired or long-time College of Agriculture faculty and staff on their remembrances, to be collected and posted on the web

- a video project highlighting students following in the footsteps of "giants" in college history, which will be used for recruitment purposes and other uses

- a short history of the college

When Iowa State was established, the first agriculture courses focused on animal husbandry, agronomy and horticulture. Other practical studies were added, such as the nation's first forestry course in 1874, dairying in 1880 and the world's first agricultural engineering program in 1905. Today, the College of Agriculture offers many directions for people interested in careers in animal and plant sciences, life sciences, biotechnology, environmental protection, biorenewable resources, business, education, technology and manufacturing, sustainable food production, global development and much more.

Editor's note: A photo of College of Agriculture dean Wendy Wintersteen standing next to a portrait of the first agriculture dean, Seaman Knapp, is available by contacting Brian Meyer, contact information above. The cutline information is: Wendy Wintersteen, 10th dean of the Iowa State University College of Agriculture, is shown with a portrait of Seaman Knapp. Knapp was the first person to head the school's agriculture program, serving from 1878 to 1885. Wintersteen served as interim dean in 2005 and was named dean in 2006. The College is celebrating 150 years of excellence in agriculture at Iowa State as the university kicks off a year-long sesquicentennial celebration on April 21.

Contacts: 

Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706, bmeyer@iastate.edu