ISU Agronomy Department Names Sprague and Frey Endowed Chairs

June 20th, 2007

AMES, Iowa — The Iowa State University Department of Agronomy has named two new endowed chairs in the areas of crop genomics and biorenewable crop research.

The George F. Sprague Endowed Chair will be filled by William Beavis, chief science officer at the National Center for Genome Resources. Beavis will join the Iowa State faculty in August.

Sprague is credited with discovering hybrid corn, and his Iowa Stiff Stalk Synthetic is the germplasm foundation for many commercial corn hybrids. He was a member of the Iowa State agronomy faculty from 1939 to 1958.

The Kenneth J. Frey Endowed Chair will be filled by Thomas Lübberstedt, senior scientist at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Genetics and Biotechnology. Lübberstedt will begin as chair in September.

Frey has been credited for his work on breeding methodology, developing disease resistance in plants and breaking the inverse relationship between yield and protein percentage of cereal grains. Frey served on the agronomy faculty from 1953 to 1993 and remains on the faculty as an emeritus professor.

The Sprague and Frey endowed chairs are funded by the Agronomy Endowment. Endowed faculty positions allow Iowa State to recruit and retain world-class leaders by providing the highest level of faculty recognition. Endowed positions help support course development, graduate assistants, laboratory equipment, salary enhancements, professional development and research projects. These opportunities ultimately enhance course and curriculum development, which improves the educational experience for students.


Kendall Lamkey, Agronomy, (515) 294-7636,
Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communication Service, (515) 294-2314,