Dr. Tom Coon Says they are at 98% for fundraising On New Frontiers Building at OSUFri, 20 May 2022 12:43:05 CDT
Farm Director KC Sheperd sat down with OSU's Dr. Coon, Vice President for Agricultural Programs and Dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture at Oklahoma State University. Sheperd and Coon talked about new construction for the University and the progress.
Coon announced that the Ferguson College of Agriculture New Frontiers building has received 98% of the fundraising for the building's completion.
"We are getting awfully close to our 50-million-dollar goal and really expect to go past that here in the next couple of weeks," Coon said. "That won't be the last of it because I think there is going to be a lot of interest people have in the project as we go through the building and construction process."
Coon said he fully expects more gifts to come in for New Frontiers.
"The nice thing is, it is there, we know how to do it, and we probably won't be out on the road quite as much trying to increase the number of people coming to it," Coon said, "but it will be more a matter of people just coming to it out of their own interest, and we will be happy to help them."
Coon also talked about the possibility of a new greenhouse on campus.
"I'd like to say it's not very far, but we have got to figure out how we have to pay for it first," Coon said. "The need is great, and it is now."
We have got to be serious about getting modern greenhouse space, Coon said, and headhouse space with it. And along with that, Coon added, we really need some new laboratory space at the agronomy farm as well.
"We do have a master plan in hand," Coon said. "We developed that about four years ago so that we would be ready to go if the opportunity presented itself to fund it."
While the University will be starting to have conversations with prospective donors about a new modern greenhouse space, Coon said they would also welcome the opportunity for some public funding.
"We are working closely with our congressional delegation, and there is a lot of interest in federal funding, support, and research infrastructure," Coon said. "Just as we had all the talk about infrastructure last year, we are talking about the need for research structure for agriculture as well."
Coon said he thinks there is a lot of interest in Congress on both sides of the aisle, so they have to figure out where they can find that money.
"So, hopefully, we will be able to compete for some of that and have an opportunity to get this thing off the ground," Coon said, "but I think we also have donors who are probably more interested in this than they were in the New Frontiers project and that's great. We have plenty of need."
Coon also said Oklahoma State University's president, Dr. Shum, has mentioned her top four priorities. He added that many were pretty excited to hear that agriculture was in those top four.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," Coon said. "I have known her and worked with her, so that is something that I kind of expected to hear from her. But it is always reassuring to hear your president say that your work is a core priority for the University."
In addition, Coon said health is another priority of Dr. Shrum's. In the college of ag, Coon said the work accomplished has a lot to do with health.
"Food is medicine," Coon said. "Many people think of it that way, and so how we produce food, how much we produce, the quality like our wheat team is focused on is important."
To hear KC's complete converation with Dr. Tom Coon, Click or tap below.
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