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Agricultural News

New Frontiers Classroom Named for Father-Son Duo's Impact on Agricultural Education

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 11:03:04 CST

New Frontiers Classroom Named for Father-Son Duo's Impact on Agricultural Education For Phil and Ruth Terry of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, supporting the Oklahoma State University New Frontiers campaign as major donors to build a new state-of-the-art teaching, research and OSU Extension facility for OSU Agriculture was an easy choice.

The couple chose to name the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education Teaching Lab for the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership in honor of Phil’s brother, Robert (Bob) Terry Sr., and nephew, Robert (Rob) Terry Jr. The Dr. Bob Terry Teaching Lab will be located on the second floor of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall.

“Bob and Rob are foundational and integral to agricultural education at OSU,” Phil Terry said. “Ruth and I feel strongly that the names of Bob and Rob should be seen as part of the new building.”

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education policy prohibits any naming after an active OSU employee. When Terry Jr. retires or is no longer an active employee, the room will be re-named the Drs. Bob & Rob Terry Teaching Lab.

For the father-son duo, their love for agricultural education turned into livelihoods.

Terry Sr. received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from Oklahoma A&M in 1959 and 1962, respectively, and a doctorate degree in agricultural education from Ohio State University in 1969.

Before obtaining his Ph.D., he worked as an Oklahoma agricultural education teacher at Perry, Sumner and Lone Wolf high schools. In 1969, he joined OSU and served many roles throughout the years as an agricultural education assistant professor, associate professor, professor and department head, and director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program.

He spent more than 30 years impacting thousands of students’ lives and leaving a legacy at OSU before retiring in 2002. Even after retirement, Terry Sr. remained involved with the university by presenting the history of OSU to incoming students and staying connected with agricultural education.

Terry Sr. said it’s hard to articulate what it means to have the space named in his honor.

“Indescribable,” he said. “I just can’t put my feelings into words.”

Terry Jr. is a 1984 and 1988 OSU graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in agricultural education from Texas A&M University in 1990.

Following in his dad’s footsteps, Terry Jr. began his career as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Owasso High School before landing positions in higher education at California Polytechnic State University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, University of Missouri and OSU.

He is currently professor and head of the OSU Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, a position his dad once held, and holds the Rodger Howell Memorial Professorship in Agricultural Education.

“Bob and Rob both love teaching,” Phil Terry said. “When you love what you do for a living, success is usually the result. They are dedicated educators who care deeply for their students and want their students to also be successful.”

When asked what advice Terry Sr. would give to the younger generation, his response was one word: care.

Terry Jr. added his dad had a paper sign posted on the wall of his office that read, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and this was a mantra he always followed as a teacher and espoused as an educator.

Terry Jr. prefers the focus of the named space honor his dad for his impact on students and FFA members and being a leader in Oklahoma agricultural education and beyond.

“It recognizes his career of preparing young people to be ag teachers and the ripple effect of when you prepare someone to be an ag teacher who then impacts so many lives in the local community,” he said. “Following the same career path, I am very aware of his impact and passion for ag education. Dad most definitely deserves having this recognition. I know for him it’s very humbling, and I feel that as well. It’s just an incredible gesture that is well earned.”

Both Phil and Ruth Terry are loyal supporters of OSU and understand the value of agriculture and the importance of school-based agricultural education. That played a role in donating to the New Frontiers campaign and naming a space in the new home for OSU Agriculture.

The Dr. Bob Terry Teaching Lab will be a model learning environment that introduces the CASE curriculum and teaching methods to integrate and illuminate more science into agricultural education. This type of space is not offered in the existing Agricultural Hall and will benefit future teaching efforts and students when the new building opens, which is projected in fall 2024.

Capable of seating 36 students, the space will serve as a flexible, multi-purpose, teaching environment laboratory equipped with distance learning and instruction technology, including livestreaming video, video recording and lecture capture.

The purpose of the room is to replicate high school classrooms and curricula for students studying to become next generation agricultural science teachers. The technology will record students giving lectures or conducting hands-on experiments, which will allow them to watch their delivery and improve their teaching approaches before stepping into a classroom of their own.

In addition to naming, Phil Terry has a special request to include the message “Teaching Teachers” in the classroom décor.

“Ruth and I recognize the importance of good teachers,” Phil Terry said. “The message of ‘Teaching Teachers’ is meant to remind all who read it of the importance of teaching our future teachers.”

For more information, visit New Frontiers for campaign progress, construction updates and donor stories.



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