New ag center key to education and recruitment

Elizabeth Polsdofer

Studying in the dorms is difficult for animal science majors when their study partners weigh in at three-quarters of a ton, cannot walk down stairs and respond to questions is a loud, resounding “moo.” The Jeff and Deb Hansen Student Agricultural Learning Center hopes to fill this void and give students a home to study animals hands-on.

When he accepted a position as professor and chairman of the department of animal science, Maynard Hogberg said he knew immediately that a pavilion was just the thing Iowa State needed. Hogberg witnessed the success of the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education at his former appointment at Michigan State University, also as chairman and professor of their animal science department, and wanted to emulate that success at Iowa State.

“We had built a similar type of facility at Michigan State to help the program there, and it was amazing how much traffic and how much use the building got, and it [was] so advantageous to the whole university,” Hogberg said. “When I came here, I said one of the things we’re really missing is this type of structure that can do this indoor classroom work in the winter without having to be out in the elements.”

Daniel Morrical is a professor of animal science who specializes in sheep production and management. He sees the pavilion as a great way to recruit more students to Iowa State.

“It’s been one of the resources we’ve been missing. I see it as a great recruitment tool for not only students in Iowa but for students across the country,” Morrical said. “Hopefully it’ll provide a better educational experience for students and improve recruitment. I think it will help faculty be more efficient in terms of teaching, because it’s just a better resource to teach in.”

The new pavilion will increase traffic to Iowa State and the Ames area as it will serve as a location for agricultural shows, a meeting spot with leaders in the agricultural industry and as a place for higher education.

“We have a lot of alumni, and so a lot of events that we host will serve as mini-reunions, so not just an event but also social function,” Morrical said.

He explained he wanted animal science alumni to return to Iowa State, and the new pavilion would attract this important audience.

“Our goal on this is to make this the most used building on campus. I think that will probably come about because there will be so many activities that people will want to do in this unique facility,” Hogberg said. “People will get accustomed to coming here and being comfortable here.”