Farm Credit Grant to Help Fund Ag Classroom
Company Employs Numerous WC Grads; Presented $50,000 Check at Homecoming
October 9, 2013
Farm Credit Mid-America presented a $50,000 check to Wilmington College during their October 5th Homecoming Football game. Pictured here are Andrew Wilson (FCMA Board Member), Tara Durbin (AVP), Bob Foster (RVP), Jim Reynolds (Wilmington College President), Bob Touchton (WC Professor), LeAnn Topp (FSO Trainee), Brandi Fornshell (FSO Trainee), Cristin Moone (FSO), Dick Poe (Sr. VP), Hollie Bunn (RVP) and Shannon Bywaters (FCMA Ambassador at WC).
Farm Credit Mid-America Issued This News Release
Louisville, KY - (October 9, 2013) When you think of agricultural schools, small, Quaker liberal arts colleges don't typically come to mind. But Wilmington College in southwest Ohio is proof that you don't have to be big to be good.
"One of the hallmarks of our program is giving our agriculture students lots of hands-on experiences and internships," says Randy Sarvis, Wilmington's director of public relations. "Our students get their hands dirty in fields, farms, labs and classrooms, which serves them well in their future endeavors."
The agriculture department, the school's largest academic program, features six broad areas of specialization-Agricultural Business, Agronomy, Animal Science, Production, Equine Studies, and Vocational Agriculture Education. It also has the stats to prove that that approach is working very well when it comes to competing with the "big boys" of higher agricultural education. Within the first year of graduation, 99 percent of Wilmington ag grads are employed, working in agricultural internships or enrolled in graduate programs.
In order to ensure that their agriculture and science departments remain competitive, the school is engaged in a $12 million fundraising endeavor to renovate half-century old Kettering Hall and expand the facility to include 14,000 square feet of new classrooms, laboratories and other much-needed spaces. Environmental features and handicapped accessibility will also be brought up to current standards.
(LEFT) Farm Credit representatives enjoyed meeting with some of WC's agriculture students at "Aggieville" during the College's Homecoming.
One of the companies that has stepped up to help the college meet this challenge is Farm Credit Mid-America. Over the years, Farm Credit has hired many Wilmington agricultural grads and knows the value of the school's program. The ag financial services cooperative recently presented a gift of $50,000 to fund the construction of a combination classroom and conference room in the new facility.
When completed, the multipurpose space will serve the school's animal science classes, which challenge students to think entrepreneurially. The creatively designed space will include a fully-functioning kitchen at one end of the room, with a conference table and chairs at the other end. Groundbreaking for the renovation is scheduled later this fall.
Tara Durbin is Farm Credit's assistant vice president for financial services for the Utica, Ohio region, and is also a Wilmington ag alum. She chose Wilmington because she intended to pursue a career in agriculture, but wanted to do it in a small school setting. For Durbin, helping facilitate the Farm Credit grant for her alma mater was a labor of love.
"I'm so proud to work for an organization that gives back, and supports our communities and the future of agriculture," she said. "Working with Farm Credit and Wilmington to make this happen has been special for me."
Sarvis said that the grant would be a big step in the school's plans to make the agriculture program even stronger.
"This grant will go a long way toward providing outstanding educational opportunities for our students in agriculture," he said. "It's a great manifestation of a wonderful partnership between Farm Credit and Wilmington College. We are proud to be partners with them."
ABOUT FARM CREDIT MID-AMERICA:
Farm Credit Mid-America is a $19.4 billion financial services cooperative serving more than 95,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The association provides loans for farm and rural living purposes including real estate, operating, equipment and housing, and related services such as crop insurance and vehicle, equipment, and building leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at http://www.e-farmcredit.com/.