A gift for students – The Jordan Agricultural Research Center

[music]>>Dr. Joseph Castro: We are emphasizing our agricultural programs here on the campus and in the Valley, and the Jordan gift is going to help
us to strengthen those programs and make them among the best in the nation.>>Dr. Sandra Witte: The Jordan gift is an amazing story. It’s a story of building relationships with
people. And this relationship developed over a twenty-year period. And in Bud
Jordan’s will, he left us 29.5 million dollars that we could use, first of all,
to focus on agriculture. Secondly, it needed to have a research focus. And
lastly, we could use that money to build a building if that is what our need was. What it has allowed us to do is build a building of which there is nothing else like it
in the entire CSU system. [music] 30,000 square feet of research space,
including wet labs dedicated entirely to agriculture. And with an emphasis in
collaboration and the promotion of bringing great minds together to solve the
problems in agriculture that we face today. So that means that we’ll be seeing
individuals from engineering, from science and math — even from health and
human services — that have an interest in people, the food we eat, the products that we
produce and the challenges that we face throughout agriculture, which as you know, are monumental. [music]>>Joshua Keith: The ability to do undergraduate research here at Fresno State is huge. Students can work side-by-side with professors in order to find something
new, discover something great, using, you know, the finest technology, some of the best technology that we can get. And apply what we learn in the classroom to
a real-world application.>>Dr. Andrew Lawson: It’s difficult for us to find laboratory space because
of the way the budget model and the way to CSU system is funded, we end up carving lab space out of buildings that maybe weren’t originally intended for use as
research space. And this is an exciting opportunity to have a building that is built from the ground up, designed for research for our faculty and students. And that’s really exciting.>>Greg Estep: There’s a lot of
research all over the world in terms of agriculture. But a lot of that research
is not necessarily being done where the crops are grown. So here in Fresno,
there’s over 400 different crops around this community. So we really feel
like the reason we located this business here in Fresno … we also feel that if the
research is taking place here, where all the action is in terms of production, where you have that kind of diversity in crops … we think that that’s the right location
to have a world-class agricultural research facility really right here
where all the crops are grown. [music]>>Dr. Ram Nunna: As a university, we are in the business of educating students, and we do that really well. But when you want to do something
above and beyond just pure education, you really need support from multiple sources. So
individuals, corporations and foundations can really play a huge role in allowing
us to transform ourselves from being a traditional education-based university to a research-based university.>>Estep: What we’ve committed to with Fresno State is around the
sensory lab. So looking at the way different products taste based on
what’s the end use of that product. So whether it’s tomatoes that are going
into a pasta sauce or tomatoes that are going into salsa, there could be different
flavor components of those tomatoes that go into it.>>Lawson: Industry is incredibly important for providing support for our students. Not only financially, but when industry gets
involved in the classroom, and when industry gets involved in projects, it
allows a real-world applicability to some of these research projects that
allows our students to take that classroom knowledge and really apply it into
something meaningful in the field, and something that can be applied today in
industry.>>Estep: So another reason that we wanted to reach out was to partner with
the University, but also so that we could work closer with students early on in
their education, give them more exposure to our business, and try to get people
more interested in jobs in agriculture, ’cause we’re gonna need those
kinds of students for the future. Lawson: Without the generosity of the Jordan family, this building wouldn’t exist. And there’s so much that we do here Fresno State that
relies on philanthropy and the generous giving of our community. We would certainly hope
that some additional gifts will not only help to put some state-of-the-art
equipment into the building, but also provide for scholarships and for
research fellowships for some of our undergraduate and graduate students.>>Witte: The Jordan Agricultural Research Center is a transformational opportunity for the University. We expect the center to
be opening in 2016. [music]


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