Pandemic Has Not Slowed Progress at OSU as Ag Hall Groundbreaking Set For April 23 Said Dr. Tom Coon During Remarks to OGIWed, 10 Feb 2021 13:33:03 CST
The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed progress at Oklahoma State Universityís Ferguson College of Agriculture.
That point was driven home by Dr. Tom Coon, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Administration (DASNR) vice president and Dean of the Ag College, during a presentation Wednesday to Oklahoma Genetics, Inc. (OGI).
I think itís important for people to understand that OSU is in a unique spot due to President Hargisí great leadership and the quick response of faculty and staff, Coon said.
Our total fall enrollment was actually up from a year earlier, Coon said, adding the Ag college was down a little in the fall but some of that recovered with the current spring enrollment.
OSU Extension rolled out a new web platform just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and Coon said it made it easier for the public to find information when they needed it the most.
The OSU vice president and Ag Dean praised staff and faculty for adapting to the pandemic and serving the public.
Our research never shutdown and thatís a big deal because some other universities shutdown research, Coon said.
Our administration trusted us to make safe decisions, Coon said.
The Ag college experienced $15 million in grants and weíre really pleased about that, Coon said.
During his presentation, Dr. Coon updated OGI on staff changes including new department heads, and progress on new building construction.
During this past year three new department heads were named for Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Ag Economics and Bio Systems and Ag Engineering.
The search is underway for the new OSU President and the prediction is we will know who that is in late March or April, Coon said.
Dr. Bob Hunger, a well-known expert on plant disease, is retiring from his position in the Plant Pathology and Entomology department.
He has been a tremendous leader on our Wheat Improvement team, Coon said.
The New Frontiers campaign has not slowed and is on schedule for groundbreaking April 23rd for the new Ag Hall building.
Ag Hall is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023, Coon said, as it is a 30-month project.
These guys have stayed on schedule, he said.
Weíre telling freshmen students they will be in this building starting that fall, Coon said.
The pandemic made it difficult for us to make contact with donors, but we have made progress towards our $50 million goal, Coon said.
Weíre at $41 million now and we want to wrap up by June 30 so new OSU President will understand this is an important project, Coon said.
The OSU vice president said naming rights are available for the various new labs and offices.
The third floor of the new Ag Hall is going to be grand central station for plant sciences, Coon said.
The research lab can be named for $500,000 and the department administrative suite is available for $250,000, Coon said.
Other naming opportunities include the genomics lab, seed and grain archive, growth chamber and research lab and faculty offices.
Coon also said the Agronomy farm master plan will be implemented as soon as Ag Hall is underway and completed.
The master plan is about a $28-$30 million project for labs, greenhouses and new barns for machine storage.
This will be more accessible as itís right off Highway 51, he said.
Coon said he expects additional federal funding and praised American Farm Bureau for support of broadband and research infrastructure funding.
Investing in agriculture research and infrastructure is important as almost 70 percent needs replacement, he said.
Coon said they are proposing a $11.5 billion package that would include ag research infrastructure in our nationís Land Grant universities.
You can click on the listen bar below to hear more of Dr. Coonís remarks to OGI.
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