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150th Anniversary - Celebrating Past Accomplishments

As West Virginia University's oldest academic unit, the history of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design is deeply rooted in the land-grant mission. Since 1867, the college has been committed to educating and training our future leaders, conducting groundbreaking research and performing public outreach and service.

The college has had many accomplishments since its inception. Of the most notable achievements is the Allegheny Highlands Project of the 1970s which helped to revitalize the livestock-forage industry in West Virginia. Another significant cooperative project with Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to provide assistance in developing higher education facilities and training the countries' future agricultural leaders.

As West Virginia University celebrates its 150th anniversary, join the Davis College as it reflects on its proud history of fulfilling the land-grant mission. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 15, we'll be celebrating some past accomplishments, achievements in education and research, and the multitude of resources that enrich the student experience.

In 2001, WVU announced an $18.4 million gift from Gladys Gwendolyn Davis and Vivian Davis Michael. At the time, it was the largest private donation from individuals in WVU's history and targeted $16.2 million to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. In honor of the women, the college was renamed the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences.

In 2002, Linda Butler, then professor of entomology, and Robert Dailey, professor of reproductive physiology, earned the designation of Davis-Michael Endowed Professor. As part of the $16.2 million bequest mentioned above, professorships were endowed in each of the college's five academic divisions - Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Forestry, Plant and Soil Sciences, and Resource Management

In 2003, David Samuel, professor emeritus of the wildlife and fisheries resources program, and his wife, Cathy, gift the Division of Forestry with an extensive wildlife collection which included 25 professionally mounted specimens to be used as educational tools. Today, the collection is on permanent display at the Westvaco Natural Resources Center.

While the decision to discontinue ice cream production and sales may not necessarily be viewed as an accomplishment, the 50-plus year tradition certainly was. Produced in the college's Dairy Plant, the feel-good treats were served in residence halls and at various university venues. The college also held weekly sales for employees and the general public. To this day, we still field inquiries from devoted fans who would like to see production resume. In an effort to satisfy their cravings, we partnered with Ellen's Ice Cream in Charleston to create two signature ice creams for our 150th celebration - Appalachian Apple Crumble and Land Grant Crunch.

At the beginning of 2006, the university and college came together to dedicate a new state-of-the-art agricultural sciences complex. The $9.5 million facility allowed the college to relocate faculty and staff in plant pathology and environmental microbiology from Brooks Hall on the Downtown Campus to Evansdale.

From 2006-08, wood science and technology student Brady Campbell had the distinct honor of being the Mountaineer mascot. He was the face of WVU at athletic, alumni, student and community events. Prior to Campbell, only two Davis College students served as the Mountaineer Mascot - Edward S. Pritchard, 1964-65, and Scott Moore, 2000-02.

Robert and Mary Lou Estler donated a unique collection of animal specimens to the wildlife and fisheries resources program in 2008. The Robert Estler Collection includes dozens of mammals, birds, insects, nests and reptiles that have provided realistic depictions of sometimes reclusive species and provided students with a clearer sense of the animals' individual qualities. The collection helped pave the way for the WVU Natural History Museum, and the first two exhibits were unveiled in October 2011. A variety of exhibits are now on display in the lobby of Percival Hall.

Following on the heels of the opening of the South Agricultural Sciences Building, the university broke ground on a new greenhouse in July 2011. The previous greenhouse was constructed in the early 1960s and had not been renovated since. The facilities and systems were beyond their lifespan and did not meet the current or future needs of WVU’s research and academic programs. Jim “Apples” McClelland, a longtime supporter of the horticulture program from Washington, Pa., made a generous financial commitments to help make the 28,250 square-foot building a reality. The facility houses wet and dry lab spaces, two academic classrooms, an office and support spaces. New glass greenhouse structures were also constructed. The facility opened in July 2012 and was dedicated on Sept. 17.

Daniel J. Robison was named dean of the Davis College in January 2012. Prior to coming to WVU, Robison lead the research enterprise of North Carolina State University's College of Natural Resources. In his work as an administrator and professor there, he won recognition for teaching, directed several large-integrated research programs and international initiatives, and was engaged with Extension and outreach activities. In the five years he has served as dean, two of his most notable accomplishments include overseeing the reorganization of the college and successful completion of the new Agricultural Sciences Building.

The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design began a new chapter on Sept. 9, 2016, formally dedicating the latest addition to WVU’s Evansdale Campus – the new Agricultural Sciences Building. This addition to Evansdale campus is part of WVU’s multi-year, $159.5 million building plan that was approved in June 2011 by the WVU Board of Governors. Construction was completed earlier this summer and faculty, staff and students began occupying the space in August. The new facility is a five-story building with 207,000 gross square feet and located adjacent to the site of the original Agricultural Sciences Building that was completed in 1961. It has an unfinished space of 11,000 square feet for future completion.