Ohio State trustees visit Wooster campus, support land-grant mission
Leadership at The Ohio State University celebrated the land-grant roots of the university with a trip to the Wooster campus for a meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Ohio State is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. The meeting’s theme and presentations at the Secrest Arboretum Welcome and Education Center on Friday focused on the university’s land-grant mission.
The rural campus is home to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the Agricultural Technical Institute and serves students, researchers and the public. Research buildings and teaching space rise between farm fields and flowerbeds.
“As you drive around the campus, what you are looking at are classrooms and laboratories,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron said. “But the magical part of a land-grant university like this university is that our work does not stop at the classroom door. It extends to every community in the state.”
The 10,000-square-foot welcome center opened in May. Trustees toured the new building and the arboretum surrounding it. The 110-acre outdoor laboratory and landscape garden features more than 2,500 varieties of woody and herbaceous plants.
College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Cathann Kress said the newly renovated center, which previously served as the Research Operations farm shop, now houses a large orientation space for visitors, an even larger multipurpose classroom, gallery space, and offices for administrators and staff.
Speaking to trustees, David Benfield, associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of the Wooster campus, said the new building allows researchers, students and stakeholders to work to solve community problems around the same table.
Kristina Boone, director of ATI, said the institute also plays an important role in the university’s mission by offering continuing education. Boone pointed to the institute’s programs for undergraduate and graduate students as workforce training programs that lead directly to employment or bachelor’s degrees.
“We have an incredibly diverse portfolio of education opportunities,” she said.
The opportunities on the campus will continue to grow. Construction is underway for the new Science Building. The $33.5 million, 60,000-square-foot building will house the Department of Entomology; will have laboratory, classroom, lecture and office space; and will also have a cafe and patio.
For McPheron, the campus embodies the work of the university as a whole.
“Our job is simple,” he said. “We create the future.”