Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Nov. 7, 1997

Ag college gets sustainable ag chair

by Steve Jones

A $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a $500,000 gift from the Wallace Genetic Foundation has established the Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture.

The endowment will provide funds for the faculty chair, research programs and other education efforts in sustainable agriculture. Sustainable ag has the multiple goals of improved environmental quality, farm profitability and viable rural communities.

Wallace, an Iowa State alumnus, was vice president of the United States during Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term. President Martin Jischke called Wallace one of Iowa's most influential citizens.

"This endowed faculty chair recognizes Henry A. Wallace's long association with Iowa State University and promotes his philosophical and practical ideas," Jischke said. "Mr. Wallace's broad vision was years ahead of his time. He advocated the use of sound science and public policy for the conservation of farmland and natural resources and the alleviation of worldwide poverty and hunger."

The grants from the Kellogg Foundation and the Wallace Genetic Foundation will be supplemented with funds from the College of Agriculture and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The Wallace chair will be a rotating position within the College of Agriculture. Appointments will range from three to five years. The Wallace chair holder will work closely with staff at the Leopold Center and also will have an Extension appointment. A search for the first chair holder will begin immediately.

Wallace, a 1910 graduate of Iowa State, was an agriculturist, journalist, business-man and statesman. His connection to Iowa State began as a child when he spent six years on campus while his father was a student and instructor. During this time he was introduced to plant life by graduate student George Washington Carver.

Upon graduation from Iowa State, Wallace became associate editor of Wallaces Farmer, the publication started by his father and grandfather, and editor of the magazine in 1921. In 1926, Wallace founded Hi-Bred Corn Co., which became Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.

Wallace served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940 and Secretary of Commerce from 1945 to 1946. In 1949, he retired to his South Salem, N.Y., farm, where he died in 1965.

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