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College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Founders, Mentors, Advisors – We're Listening

Annual Message from UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean

portrait of the dean
Tom Vogelmann, Dean of UVM's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

It was Vermont's own Justin Morrill who, 150 years ago, defined and launched public land-grant education in agriculture and practical mechanical fields, and in doing so trained the people who built our nation following the end of the Civil War.

As I write this from Morrill Hall, home to UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where Burlington’s University Avenue meets Main Street, I reflect on how this location symbolizes our role and responsibility to serve both the University and Main Street.

I realize that Morrill’s vision to extend college education beyond arts and sciences to include agriculture and the “mechanical arts” is just as important 150 years later, as we celebrate this sesquicentennial across the nation.

Morrill’s legacy has become more sophisticated than he could have imagined with today’s national emphasis on science, technology and engineering; and the University of Vermont agriculture and life sciences research and teaching is infused with those very disciplines in our labs and in our on-farm research state wide.

Justin Morrill would be proud of how his home-state College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and our Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station improve the lives of Vermonters.

One example of the CALS-Vermonter connection is Kathleen Liang’s marketing strategies for apple producers, winemakers, agri-tourism and other diversified farms. Her work caught the attention of the USDA and earned her substantial funding that returned to Vermont to expand her food systems research.

CALS commitment to science, technology and, yes, engineering too, is manifest in our complete revamping of UVM Farms. The latest plans show just a few ways that UVM’s Miller Research Center can showcase a whole system approach to agriculture that spans plants, animals, food products and best environmental practices from soil to byproduct re-use. It also shows how UVM farms reflect research and teaching across many UVM Colleges, Schools and departments.

 Woven throughout these stories, are the contributions of our mentors, advisors, students and citizens. Whether it’s CALS advisory board member and interim UVM President John Bramley saying, UVM Farms should be “the signature place that is iconic to the university – not a bigger footprint, a smarter one,” or graduate student Victor Izzo describing the challenges that face his generation, we listen. As we build, grow and change we always turn to alumni, donors, legislators, farmers, staff, students, neighbors and Justin Morrill himself, because, after all, we’re still in the business of educating the people who build our nation.

And we want to hear from you. The mailbox is open at calsdean@uvm.edu.

 

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