“Our students deserve the very best:” DSU breaks ground on future agriculture building, push to grow pipeline of STEM professionals

 

DOVER, Del. – Thursday, shovels hit the ground as a symbol of new beginnings for students at Delaware State University with a ground breaking ceremony for its new Agriculture Building. “Our students deserve the very best living and learning places. This is going to be one of those things,” President Dr. Tony Allen said.

The first states only HBCU will be the home to a new 15,ooo square foot agriculture facility.

The building will be on the grounds of the university’s old baseball field with a $10 million price tag.

College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Cherese Winstead says the building will help prep students for an industry that continues to evolve. “Which is urban agriculture, it’s vertical farms, it’s drones, it’s robotics. Everything that our engineers, chemist, and physicists, can all see their place in agriculture,” Winstead said.

They aren’t doing it alone. Agilent Technologies presented the university with a $1 million donation to support things like internships and classroom equipment. “That investment is something very important to us, not only in terms of helping develop the next generation of scientists but also making sure we contribute to our community,” Agilent Technology’s Vice President of Supplies Division Gregory Mackenney said.

The goal is also to increase student enrollment and bring diversity to the field of agriculture, something those we spoke with say is essential to growing the pipeline of future professionals. “And so when you think about the talent for the future, that talent is going to be diverse. So you want to make sure you’re investing now and it’s part of making sure your company is sustainable for the future as well,” Mackenney said.

The university has already merged its STEM and Agriculture colleges to equip students with the knowledge to address the global issues of tomorrow. “How can we make water quality better? How do we determine the presence of microbiological activity in water? We just heard about the Jackson Mississippi water quality scarcity issue,” Winstead said.

“That’s why we say agriculture is really not a discipline specific field. It’s the interdisciplinary efforts that really our students are driven to.”

Along with support from several community partners, the facility is also receiving funding from the USDA and the state who’s matching that donation.

The university is currently waiting on city permits before construction can start.

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