CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – John Bartee Jr., chair of the Austin Peay State University agriculture advisory committee, said it best on Nov. 30 when he announced, “Today is the first step in greatness for the Austin Peay Ag Department.”
He was addressing a crowd of local farmers, agri-businessmen and dignitaries who gathered at the APSU Agricultural and Environmental Education Center to witness a groundbreaking ceremony for APSU’s new DeWald Livestock Pavilion.
The modern facility will replace an old hay barn on the property, providing a practical working and learning space for faculty, staff and students. The project is also only the first phase in a proposed three-phase Animal Science Facility, which will eventually include a new animal husbandry laboratory classroom and a livestock handling area.
“When completed, this facility will provide a much needed learning center for students in our rapidly growing agriculture program and also for area agriculturalists and military personnel”, said Dr. Don Sudbrink, Chair of the APSU Agriculture department.
The new pavilion, set to open next year, is being named in honor of Dr. Ernie and Joan DeWald, who generously supported the project with a major financial gift. The couple previously endowed the Josephine and William DeWald Memorial Scholarship for nursing at APSU, in memory of Ernie’s parents.
The DeWalds, who have also supported local animal charities, were treated to a little surprise during the ceremony. The agriculture department introduced the couple to the farm’s youngest, Belted-Galloway calf, which was recently named DeWald, or D.W.
“She will live out her natural days here on the farm,” Dr. Rodney Mills, assistant professor of agriculture, said.
The little calf will witness the farm’s continued growth in the years to come. Since 2008, the APSU Department of Agriculture’s enrollment has increased by 74 percent, prompting APSU President Tim Hall to label it one of the University’s “hot spots.” The development of an agriculture advisory committee, made up of local leaders, and the generosity of the DeWalds will allow that department to continue thriving.
For more information on the DeWald Livestock Pavilion or other projects at the APSU Farm, contact the APSU Department of Agriculture at 221-7272.
Photo cutline: Dr. Rodney Mills, APSU assistant professor of agriculture, introduces Dr. Ernie and Joan DeWald to “DeWald,” a Belted-Galloway calf named in their honor. (Photo by Beth Liggett/APSU staff).