ISU Celebrating 150th Birthday at State Fair

Iowa State University has an exhibit you won't want to miss Aug. 9 through 19 at 2007 Iowa State Fair.

Don't miss Iowa State University's exhibit at the Iowa State Fair this year. ISU is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The university's exhibit at the fair in Des Moines is marking that anniversary by looking at the people and history of the university, as well as its future. The 2007 fair is themed "Sounds Like Fun!" and runs for 11 days from Aug. 9 through 19 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Every year ISU has an exhibit at the fair where visitors can get temporary ISU tattoos, football schedule posters, admissions applications and information about the university. And this year's display also features a historical look at the institution's 150 years of serving Iowans.

"The exhibit focuses on the university's sesquicentennial and our 150-year history," says Carole Custer, ISU's marketing director. "It focuses on the achievements and major milestones of the university."

Large mural is a trip through ISU history

Visitors to the exhibit can see a 21-foot color timeline that will illustrate "Celebrating 150 Years of Adventurous Minds." The two-sided display is part of the ISU exhibit in the northeast corner of the Varied Industries Building, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during the fair.

"We have artifacts loaned from various departments on campus that have a significant place in our history," says Custer. "These are historical items that many people don't get a chance to see."

Eight displays showcase items that range from the scientific to the odd. One display features Cyclone head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson's accomplishments, including his Olympic gold medal. Another spotlights the original memory drum of John Atanasoff's ABC computer that was on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Biofuels, renewables are Iowa's future

The past is not the only part of Iowa State's fair exhibit. The future is highlighted in a 10-foot display, "The 150-Year Adventure Continues." "We spotlight some of the research the university is undertaking that has major significance in addressing some of the world's greatest challenges," says Custer. This glimpse of ISU's research includes work in biofuels and renewables, bioterrorism, alternative uses for crops and cancer treatments.

Daily drawings are held for prizes that include sesquicentennial T-shirts, Cyclone football tickets, and Iowa State Center performances. ISU's mascot, Cy, will make appearances Aug. 10 (10 a.m.) and Aug. 17 (2 p.m.). The sesquicentennial commemorative art mural, "What We Love About Iowa State University," created by Sticks Inc. also is on display.

"Iowa State has been serving this state for 150 years and the citizens of Iowa can be proud of what this university has contributed," says Custer. "This is our way of sharing with the public some of our historic accomplishments and what the future impact of the university will be."

The Iowa State University Book Store will host a book signing by author Thomas Leslie, associate professor of architecture, at the fair booth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 18. His book, "Iowa State Fair: Country Comes to Town," celebrates the past, present and future of the fair.

The Iowa State Fair is also helping ISU celebrate its 150th birthday by organizing a pair of quilting contests with the sesquicentennial theme. Both contests were open to Iowa residents, as well as out-of-state ISU graduates. Entries in the quilt block contest will be assembled into a quilt that will be auctioned at the end of the fair. This quilt is displayed on the south side of the Varied Industries Building, along with entries in a special category: bed-sized/wall quilt using the ISU sesquicentennial theme.

Visit ISU Extension and 4-H exhibit

ISU Extension's exhibit is in the air-conditioned 4-H Exhibits Building and focuses on its programs and history. The building also is home to a variety of 4-H department displays and thousands of 4-H exhibits. Elaine Edwards, Extension communications manager, says a selection of historical photos are on display as part of a caption contest. Visitors can submit balloon captions for the photos.

Visit new Animal Learning Center

ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine is partnering with the Iowa State Fair and the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association on a birthing center project in the just-opened Animal Learning Center located near the "Little Hands on the Farm" exhibit on the north end of the fairgrounds. The air-conditioned building showcases the livestock birthing process with cattle, swine, sheep, chicken and ducks bred to have offspring during the fair. A number of presentations will take place throughout the fair in the stage area of the building.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is providing the cattle for the display, and veterinary students and at least one faculty member will be on hand to help with the program. "We anticipate that we'll have 4,000 people go by," says Jim West, director of ISU's Food Supply Veterinary Services. "The chance to have that number of people see agriculture at its best and veterinary medicine at its best; we think it's cool."

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