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The Agricultural Learning Center at the R.T. Wright Farm is opening this summer, and the public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Agricultural Learning Center at the R.T. Wright Farm is opening this summer, and the public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

June 11, 2021

Northwest to celebrate opening of Agricultural Learning Center, completion of Forever Green campaign July 30

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Northwest Missouri State University will celebrate the opening of its Agricultural Learning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony next month – on a day that also will mark the completion of the University’s successful Forever Green comprehensive campaign.

The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. Friday, July 30, at the R.T. Wright Farm, located north of the Northwest campus at 22893 U.S. Highway 71 in Maryville. The event will include a short program and tours of the facility.

“The grand opening of the Agricultural Learning Center is the perfect exclamation point as we conclude the Forever Green campaign,” Mitzi Marchant, vice president of university advancement and executive director of the Northwest Foundation, said. “The ALC has been a dream for many years, and to see it come to fruition is truly something to celebrate.”

The $11.4 million Agricultural Learning Center, a linchpin addition at the Wright Farm, is a 29,000-square-foot multipurpose facility that will enhance the School of Agricultural Sciences, which is under the direction of Dr. Rod Barr.

With laboratory, kitchen and exposition space as well as classrooms and offices, the new building will position the School to advance its curriculum while meeting the needs of enrollment and program growth. The facility 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. It will serve as a resource that enables innovation and partnerships while addressing best practices for the Northwest campus and agricultural sciences.

More than $6.5 million has been raised for the Agricultural Learning Center with leading support provided by nearly 50 public and private donors who have joined the University’s Homesteaders society by providing gifts toward the project of $25,000 or greater. Northwest, which committed more than $2 million to the project, also received $2.5 million from the state of Missouri as well as an equipment grant award of $343,000.

“There have been so many people involved in this project, starting with Rod Barr as the School of Agriculture Sciences’ director,” Marchant added. “Rod and his team, along with the generosity of so many donors who supported this project, will certainly be celebrated on this historic occasion.”

Launched in 2014, the Forever Green campaign is an initiative of the Northwest Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation responsible for developing and stewarding philanthropic resources for the benefit of Northwest Missouri State University and its students. The Northwest Foundation is governed by a 36-member volunteer board of directors and is staffed by members of Northwest’s Office of University Advancement.

The campaign, which is just the second comprehensive campaign in the University’s history, sought to raise $45 million for University initiatives centered on academic excellence, scholarships, student life, and other donor-directed gifts. Upon going public with the campaign in October 2019, Northwest donors had already provided nearly $43 million. As the campaign ends this summer, donors have provided more than $54 million to support Northwest.

“The opening of the Agricultural Learning Center and the successful completion of the Forever Green campaign are significant achievements in the history of Northwest,” Dr. Bob Burrell, the president of the Northwest Foundation, said. “It would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of the many Northwest Foundation members and University Advancement staff, past and present, who worked diligently on behalf of the University – and, of course, none of this is possible without the generosity of the Northwest family and friends.”

In addition to the Agricultural Learning Center, the Hughes Fieldhouse opened in October 2018 as another key component of the campaign. With a goal of enhancing student life, it is the single largest public-private partnership in Northwest’s 116‐year history. The 137,250 square-foot facility – which features a 90-yard practice turf, 300-meter indoor competition track and meeting rooms – already is fulfilling a multitude of social, recreational and economic needs for the University and region through intramural programs, a partnership with Maryville Parks and Recreation and NCAA athletics events. Other activities at the Hughes Fieldhouse have included Career Days and, as the region combatted the COVID-19 pandemic, mass vaccination clinics

Donors committed nearly $14 million toward the Hughes Fieldhouse through gifts and pledges secured by the Northwest Foundation. Leading support for the project was provided by the Founding 50 – a group of 75 donors contributing $50,000 or more to the project – with the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Family Foundation, the Mel and Valorie Booth Family, the city of Maryville and Nodaway Valley Bank working as “team captains” of the group. The University, students and hundreds of alumni and friends also contributed to the project, providing a range of dollar amounts.

Further, the campaign is helping the Northwest Foundation dramatically increase scholarship awards to students. The Forever Green campaign aimed to raise $10.5 million for scholarships and, to date, has secured more than $13.1 million in scholarship support. Additionally, it is adding support to University faculty with initiatives such as the Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professorship in Instrumental Music.

For more information about the Forever Green campaign and to learn about making a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/ForeverGreen/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704