Cargill allows students to go global


Lani Tons/Iowa State Daily

(from left) Todd Hall of Cargill, junior in agronomy Adam Willman, and President Steven Leath listen to speakers at the donation ceremony on Sept. 23.

Zach Clemens

Iowa State is one of the only schools in the world and the only university in the United States to provide students with an opportunity to get an undergraduate degree in global resource systems, a major that would not be possible without the philanthropic efforts of Cargill Inc.

Cargill is a multinational corporation that has provided the world with food, agriculture, financial and industrial products for 150 years. It has a long relationship with Iowa State, having donated $20 million since the 1970s, with more than $14 million going to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

There are more than 400 ISU alumni working worldwide for Cargill and they are trusted corporate partners with Iowa State.

Cargill executives had a chance Wednesday to visit the campus and learn more about the GRS program. This visit culminated in a reception in Harl Commons celebrating the gift Cargill gave to the Globe program.

Wendy Wintersteen, CALS dean, announced at the reception that Cargill has given $485,000 to the global resource systems program.

“Strong corporate partners will make our students more successful. The global resource systems program is a great example of Iowa State’s land grant mission to create, share and apply knowledge.,” said President Steven Leath, who spoke at the reception.

The global resource systems major is in CALS and is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that provides students with a very broad global competency set in addition to a technical discipline.

Hannah Darr, senior in global resource systems, said she had always been interested in global studies. When she found Iowa State’s global resource system program, she knew it was for her.

“This was a global studies degree with a little bit of teeth,” she said. “I am gaining practical skills that I could use domestically and internationally to make a positive impact.”

She hopes to go to graduate school and get a degree in public health to work in developing countries helping bridge the gap between rural and urban healthcare infrastructure.

“As faculty, we are very interested in making sure students have global competencies and skills,” said Gail Nonnecke, the faculty coordinator for the global resource systems program. “The visit by Cargill is part of a new initiative where they are providing philanthropic support of the major.”

The Globe major is relatively new, starting in the fall of 2009. There has been no formal recruitment for the major. This will change with Cargill’s gift. There will be a big recruitment push throughout the university. 

The website is in the process of being improved, and staff is working on building new courses and curriculum.

Ella Gehrke, junior in global resource systems, attended the reception. She wants to attend medical school after she receives her degree and hopes to do a health-related internship in Southeast Asia this summer.

Gehrke said the ambassadors program is brand new this fall and is working to recruit students who have interests in global languages, cultures and world issues. They plan to visit schools to educate and interest high schoolers in global issues.They also plan to host events on campus throughout the year.

”Cargill’s funding has helped us tremendously with a lot of the programs and opportunities our students have had,” Gehrke said.

Todd Hall, ISU alumnus and a senior vice president of Cargill, spoke at the reception.

“[We] needed to find things [to invest in] that the university was the best in the world at, and that align with Cargill and our values. We were looking for global thinkers and global leaders,” Hall said.

After being introduced to the program, he knew he found an opportunity.

“There was a beautiful connection and synergy between the values, beliefs and mission statement of Cargill and the GRS program,” Hall said.