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The college awards nearly $12,000 annually in entrepreneurial scholarships funded by private donors. The family of Leonard Hermanson (’25 dairy science) recently set up a scholarship program to support the top three student teams in the Entrepreneurship in Agriculture course. One of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative’s prestigious scholarships honors emeritus professor Robert Jolly who was the first director of the initiative (see story page nine). Ryan Pellett (’91 agricultural business) and his wife Susan endowed a scholarship for students with an aptitude and involvement in entrepreneurship. Carly Cummings, a junior in agricultural business minoring in international agriculture and entrepreneurial studies, received the most recent Pellet Family Scholarship.


Amy Peyton says receiving a privately funded scholarship has allowed her to become involved on campus and make a difference by volunteering in elementary schools through her sorority.

Amy Peyton is the first recipient of the Jim and Connie Mohn Scholarship. Peyton is a senior in agricultural business, economics and public service and administration in agriculture from Sac City. She will use the gift to fund her study abroad experience to Rome on the Dean’s Global Agriculture and Food Leadership program where she will work on a team project with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Jim (’75 agricultural education, animal science) and Connie Mohn from Cherokee, created the scholarship to support students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as they prepare for and complete a study abroad experience.  The couple set up the scholarship with a deferred gift, but chose to activate the account immediately by making annual cash gifts.  “We hope these scholarships will help retain students by providing an opportunity to study abroad, and help students obtain a degree,” Jim Mohn says. “We’re looking forward to meeting the recipients and seeing the impact of our gift.”


By Ashlee Hespen

Morgan Wright and Winston Beck spent six weeks this summer on St. John as part of a service learning project.

The hilly land, lush forests, large gullies and rocky soil on the island of St. John are much different from the Midwest terrain that two Iowa State University horticulture students are accustomed.

Morgan Wright and Winston Beck spent six weeks this summer on St. John as a part of a service learning project titled EARTH—Education And Resiliency Through Horticulture. Iowa State’s partner in the project is Gifft Hill School (GHS), a private kindergarten through 12th grade school on the island.

The program is funded through a gift commitment from Dana (’67 dairy science) and Martha Robes, who have a residence on St. John.

Located in the U.S. Virgin Islands archipelago, more than half of the tropical land of St. John is a protected national park containing a wide range of plant life. The remaining island is home to approximately 5,000 residents, many of whom are employed in the landscaping and service industries related to tourism on the islands.

According to Michael Reinert, assistant professor of horticulture and program leader, the purposes of EARTH are “to implement a school horticulture program at GHS as a part of an environmental science program, provide service learning opportunities for Iowa State students and have them serve as ambassadors to recruit GHS students to attend Iowa State.”

Wright and Beck assisted Kris Bennett, faculty member and project coordinator at Gifft Hill School, with teaching her eighth grade science course and a natural history course at GHS. Their classes included plant lessons, garden demonstrations and working side-by-side with students in the work around the school.

“This internship taught me a lot about teaching. It’s far harder than I had imagined,” says Beck. “Also, it’s a practical lesson in outdoor development, getting students out of the classroom and into an interactive world, while making the outdoors more manageable for teaching and providing to the students.”

Wright adds, “The most rewarding part of this internship has been working with and getting to know the kids. They are all so unique and interesting. It has been a great experience.”

When Wright and Beck weren’t busy teaching, they landscaped, designed and created trails on the school’s property. Their goals were to incorporate horticulture into the school’s curriculum, to show different aspects of the field and connect the upper and lower campuses separated by dense jungle.

As the first students taking part in the EARTH program, they played a large role in networking with professionals and experts on the island. Over the next five years, Iowa State will send two students in the fall, spring and summer semesters for twelve-week immersion service learning projects.

In addition to the practical experience the students are receiving, they are also gaining a new cultural experience. Wright and Beck have spent their free time hiking trails, snorkeling, surfing and making friendships on the island.

“Living on the island is spectacular. It’s a complete flip from all the things we’re used to stateside,” says Beck. “Everyone here has a story to tell, each unique and fascinating and the island is a fantastic place to explore.”


By Dave Gieseke

For 31 years Arlen Patrick used bailing wire, duct tape — anything he could get his hands on — to keep the Iowa State University Department of Horticulture greenhouses on central campus operational.

“This is an old structure,” Patrick (’72 horticulture) says. “It was built in 1915, and while I was working there I tried to keep the thing going as best as I could. It took a lot of TLC.”

With a facility nearly 100 years old, there are going to be a few leaks in the ceiling and cracks in the floor.

“It’s unusual for a greenhouse to last this long,” Patrick says. “It’s a testament to the original structure that it is still in use.”

In May 2010, however, the greenhouse is scheduled for demolition.

A sparkling new facility is being proposed to take its place. The new $4 million teaching and research greenhouse complex on central campus would replace the existing, aging structure.

The complex will extend to the south side of Horticulture Hall, the home of the department of horticulture. The facility will include space efficient teaching and research areas equipped with state-of-the-art environmental control and innovative plant production systems.

The greenhouse complex will be partitioned into several units or houses dedicated to research, teaching, and/or club activities. Each unit will have computerized environmental controls that will help students and researchers monitor, adjust, and maintain temperature, humidity, light at the appropriate level.

Patrick, who retired earlier this year, along with his wife Carol Patrick, an Iowa State University Foundation employee and College of Education alum, have decided to put more than blood, sweat and tears into the new facility. The couple has pledged to fund a research greenhouse, which is included in the project.

“These greenhouses have been a major part of my life,” Arlen Patrick says. “I think I understand the need for this facility more than the average person on the street.”

The Patricks say while their gift is small in comparison to the total cost of the project, it is a way they can show their appreciation for the many ways Iowa State has made a difference in their family members’ lives.

“It was our intent not only to help make this project a reality but to encourage others to help out,” Arlen says.

“We’ve given in different ways as staff members over the years,” Carol Patrick says. “For us at this time, this was the project that is near and dear to our hearts.”

“It’s not a pipe dream or superfluous project — it impacts lives and it needs to happen.”


By Barbara McBreen

The Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) donated $100,000 to Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for scholarships on April 12.

The scholarships will be available to students enrolling at Iowa State and pursuing careers in agriculture. Students will be eligible for the scholarships beginning this fall and funds will be distributed over a five-year period. The AAI Scholarship Program will help recruitment efforts in the college and promote career opportunities in Iowa’s agricultural industries.

“The AAI scholarship program helps our college send a clear message to high school students that there are excellent opportunities in Iowa’s agriculture industries and that our college is the best pathway to these careers,” says David Acker, the college’s associate dean for academic and global programs.

The scholarships are targeted to attract students to agricultural industries and provide employment opportunities with AAI member companies.

“These scholarships are just one way we can support students and our future leaders in agriculture,” says Mark Reisinger, AAI corporate executive officer.

AAI was formed in 1994, as the result of a merger between the Iowa Grain and Feed Association and the Iowa Fertilizer and Chemical Association.


“Iowa State University has been a great part of developing me into the person I am today. Like my grandparents and parents before us, my wife Megan and I met thanks to Iowa State. It is safe to say I wouldn’t be here without the relationships that developed because of the university.

I personally benefitted from the leadership experiences on the Agriculture Student Council, the President’s Leadership Class and FarmHouse Fraternity.  I was a recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Scholarship of Excellence Award, and I viewed that award not as a gift, but as an investment the university and donors were making in me for the future.

My wife and I are thrilled to be able to give back to the university that gave us so much.  In the process of starting of family, a business and a homestead we still want to make Iowa State a priority in our lives, now and into the future.  My involvement with the college’s campaign is a continuation of support ISU has provided to our family and our family has provided to ISU for the past 75 years, with many more years to come.”

– Tom Hughes (’02 horticulture), Co-president Hughes Nursery and Landscaping, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Campaign Committee Member



10 Dec 2014


This fall you don’t need to look far to see difference makers among our students, faculty and staff for our community, state and planet. Students in the Sustainable Agriculture Student Organization have been growing and cooking fresh garden produce for a program that provides free meals to hundreds of the …

FOREWORD – Fall 2014

10 Dec 2014


  I should probably get a new pair of boots. Mine are over 30 years old.  They belonged to my sister who died when I was four.  She was fourteen when she last wore them. I grew to have the exact same sized feet.  The brown suede is worn and …