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May 20, 2019
An interest in agriculture and education fuels Brian and Corey Strider in their careers, and now it’s motivating the brothers to give back to their alma mater at Northwest Missouri State University.
The Striders recently pledged $25,000 to Northwest in support of the School of Agricultural Sciences and its planned Agricultural Learning Center at the R.T. Wright Farm.
“We have to prepare our students to be able to meet the needs of employers, whether it be working for a farm or elsewhere in the agriculture industry,” Corey, a 1996 Northwest graduate, said. “The movement is to create an environment that is more hands-on at the farm, where students can study, observe, work through the many applications necessary to enhance their education. This facility will also offer an environment to promote agriculture advocacy, even for non-agriculture students, and show them where the industry is heading.”
Before finding Northwest, the Striders grew up on their family’s multi-generational farm in Hardin, Missouri, and developed a shared passion for agriculture.
After completing his bachelor’s degree at Northwest in agricultural business, Corey went to work for an ag chemical company. A year and half later, he went into banking and has been in that field since.
Brian, who earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1999, worked stints in agriculture retail and then as a district sales manager for seed companies. He returned to Hardin with his family in 2011 and sells fertilizer products for Nachurs, in addition to being the fourth generation to maintain the Strider family farm.
Both say the attention Northwest faculty devoted to them has left a lasting impact.
“The agriculture faculty throughout was very approachable,” Corey said. “They understood exactly where we were coming from and where we needed to be and helped us get there.”
Brian added, “They really cared about us. Along with being students in their classes, sometimes we have struggles as students, away from home. They would help you get along and teach you about life and look ahead.”
When the Striders were students at Northwest, the University farm was functional but did not offer the equipment and practical opportunities its agriculture students enjoy today. Now, the Wright Farm provides opportunities for Northwest students in ag science-related majors to gain profession-based experience with beef, swine, dairy and sheep enterprises as well as row and forage crops. Students in the School of Agricultural Sciences also benefit from access to Northwest’s Horticulture Complex, which includes seven greenhouses with state-of-the-art technology, and the McKemy Center for Lifelong Learning, which houses a commodity trading room providing up-to-the-minute commodities information and computer work stations.
“It’s really good for me to see that they’re focusing more on row crops,” Brian said. “They’ve done a heck of a job expanding the horizons of that farm. They have a good vision. They think outside the box. They’re looking to the future as education is an ever-changing world.”
Furthermore, Corey maintains a connection with Northwest through his role as president of Goppert Financial Bank in Lathrop, Missouri, which also has provided significant support to the Agricultural Learning Center and to Northwest’s American Dream Grant program. The Goppert Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of child and youth services, social and human services, the economically disadvantaged population, education, hospitals and minorities.
Through his affiliation with the Goppert Foundation, Strider was inspired to give back to Northwest on a personal level.
“With the Goppert family and the Goppert Foundation, I saw what they were giving and what they were striving to give,” Corey said, adding he approached the Northwest Foundation about giving to the University. “They saw the value, and they started giving, and I thought, ‘I need to give back myself.’”
The Strider family is an example of the impacts Northwest has on its graduates and the many ways alumni give back to the University.
“Northwest is so grateful for the entire Strider family,” Mitzi Marchant, the director of donor engagement at Northwest, said. “They are a great example of what it means to re-engage with your alma mater. Corey and Brian have introduced family and friends to Northwest; they volunteer their time and expertise; they are advocates for Northwest within their communities; and they also made an impactful financial commitment to the University. It’s only fitting that the Strider family be recognized within the Agricultural Learning Center as a testament to their belief in all-things Bearcat.”
The Agricultural Learning Center, for which the University and Northwest Foundation are raising funds, will be built at Northwest’s 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm and serve as a multipurpose facility, providing classrooms and laboratory resources to supplement and enhance the academic curriculum.
The estimated $8.5 million, 29,000-square-foot center also will allow for research and scholarly activities centered on crop, soil and livestock resources as well as space for processing agricultural products. It will include space for public and private functions such as producer and agricultural industry meetings, workshops, shows and career development events, and the promotion of agricultural literacy.
In preparation for the Agricultural Learning Center and other improvements to the Wright Farm, Northwest is working with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a $1.2 million effort to better connect the farm to its Highway 71 entrance and add turn lanes for traffic safety as well as defining entry features such as signage, fencing and landscaping.
Northwest also is partnering with the Maryville R-II School District’s Northwest Technical School and broke ground last August on a 1,300-square-foot home on the Wright Farm. The new home is being constructed just north of the Wright Farm’s existing house and will consist of three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage with an open floor concept and full basement. Completion of the house is anticipated in May and the existing house will be demolished.
To learn more about Northwest’s School of Agricultural Sciences, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/ag/.
For more information about the Northwest Foundation or to make a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/GiveOnline.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468