ISU College of Ag Celebrates 150 Years

Iowa State University began its year-long 150th birthday celebration last week.

The College of Agriculture at Iowa State University will commemorate 150 years of excellence during the coming 12 months. ISU began its sesquicentennial at the annual Veishea celebration on April 21 and the "birthday party" will last one year. "We have a rich heritage and an exciting future," says Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture at ISU.

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.

You can keep up with events all year

"Today, the College of Ag is one of the world's leading institutions of agriculture, providing leadership in science, education and Extension," she says. "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, starting with the Veishea event April 21, 2007 and will run through spring 2008. You can keep up with the university's 150th anniversary events all year by visiting the sesquicentennial Web site,  College of Agriculture 150th activities will be posed on the college's homepage at

Other sesquicentennial activities and projects planned for the College of Agriculture during 2007-2008 will include a lecture series, many honoring distinguished faculty of the past. There will be a collection of alumni memories to be posted on the college Web site. An agriculture alumni gathering will be held.

Ag alumni gathering one of many events

Beginning with the start of fall semester, a "point of pride" will be posted each day on the college Web site for 150 days. There will also be a series of "scientific legacy" stories on current research that has links back to historical or ground-breaking work in the college.

Monthly postings on the Web will highlight articles from "Iowa Farm Science," a popular Experiment Station and Extension magazine that was published for about three decades beginning in the mid-1930s. Also to be posted on the Web are first-person essays from retired or long-time College of Ag faculty and staff on their remembrances. A video project highlighting students following in the footsteps of "giants" in the college history, will be used for recruitment purposes and other uses.

A legacy of WOW!

A lot has been accomplished in the 150 years of excellence in agriculture at Iowa State. At the kick-off of Iowa State University's sesquicentennial on Saturday, April 21, during the Veishea celebration, ISU's College of Ag and many of its departments and centers will feature historical displays and activities in tents on central campus. Here are a few historical factoids on agriculture at Iowa State that drew exclamations from visitors.

YUM! Popular Chieftain apple developed here.

REALLY? Only college in nation where undergraduates can study seed science.

WOW! Horticulturist Griffith Buck created Blue Skies, praised as "bluest rose in world."

WOW! Home of nation's top-ranked meat and poultry programs.

YUM! Innovative blue cheese process opened door for American-made product, 1941.

WOW! Trace many of the nation's long-term improvements in beef, dairy and swine to ISU scientists in animal breeding and genetics.

WOW! Find the world leaders in mapping and understanding the genomes of pigs, corn, beef cattle and soybeans here.

COOL! John V. Atanasoff built first electronic digital computer while on Experiment Station research appointment.

NEAT! Most popular insect Web site, with 14 million monthly hits (

WOW! Iowa's only teacher education certification program in agriculture.

REALLY? 87% of Iowa's high school agriculture teachers are graduates of the Department of Agricultural Education and Studies.

COOL! One of nation's oldest continuously accredited forestry programs, since 1904 .

WOW! The lineage of most of the world's valuable, high-performing corn varieties can be traced to B73, a corn line developed on campus.

GEE! Annual Iowa Farm & Rural Life Poll is one of longest running surveys of its kind, since 1982.

WOW! An ISU water-quality project is a national model for establishing buffer strips to protect streams.

WOW! Conservation tillage research provided technology that reduced annual cost of crop production on millions of acres by $10 per acre.

NEAT! One of ISU's most actively licensed patents is a natural weed-control lawn and garden product developed by a horticulture professor.

GEE! Social scientists' expertise with population data has been put to use by hundreds of communities, agencies and businesses for planning and economic development.

YUM! Enjoy leaner pork, thanks to genetics research to identify pigs that satisfy consumer preferences.

TAGS: Soybean
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