University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science


College Rolls Out Red Carpet and Path to Barn

family looks at baby calf.
The Minken Family of Sharon, Massachusetts visited their daughter and UVM calf Sydney during Reunion Homecoming Oct. 6. From left, Miles, Audrey (a pre-med. major) Edie and UVM CREAM member.

Newborn calves, horseback riding, cow milking open classrooms, cider, doughnuts and UVM apples were among the attractions to show students' families and alumni what makes UVM's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences distinctive, during the Oct. 5-7, 2012 UVM Reunion and Homecoming. But after the sun set behind the UVM Farms Miller Research Complex and the cows came home for milking, what folks were talking about were the conversations and connections.

But wait a minute. Words can't begin to describe the way photographs do how students, faculty and staff welcomed visitors and how much fun families and alumni had, so let's cut right to the SLIDE SHOW of cute animals and children and folks you know. Then read on, if you will.

On Friday in classes as complex as Laura Almstead's Survey of Biochemistry and Jenny Wilkinson's Horse Health and Disease, parents were spotted in the back rows. One anonymous couple who had majored in chemistry and biology respectively admitted they wanted to see if they could actually understand what their daughter was learning. An animated Almstead walked up and down the aisles waving her arms, challenging students to commit to answers with their iClickers, then shook her head, urging them to talk it over, do better. She could instantly see their choices on computer screen.

Saturday's rain made the indoor chat with Dean Tom Vogelmann all the more popular as dozens stopped by to hear about the College's continued rapid growth to 1,245 undergraduate and 146 graduate students this year, $3.1 million in research grants brought to the College by its scientists and some of the state-of-the art facilities where even undergrads can conduct research with their mentors in addition to classroom learning. But talk was informal. Families from Washington, Oregon, California flew to Vermont to see how their first-year students were doing. The answer was: doing very well. Alumni like John Vanderpol of Hudson, Massachusetts and Steve Hancock from Dartmouth, Massachusetts came back to campus to see old friends, former professors and how the place has changed. The both graduated in Plant and Soil Science in 1987. 

But a hub of activity was the UVM Farms where cattle and horses were on display and equestrian demonstrations were a hit even with folks not familiar with agriculture.

Thousands of visitors converged on campus for Reunion and Homecoming. Many came to see the ceremonial installation of Thomas Sullivan as the University of Vermont's 26th president on Friday, Oct. 5.