Project AgGrad, which has helped seven students earn an advanced degree at the University of Minnesota, recently received a gift that will enable it to continue making a difference well into the future.
The program, now in its 29th year, addresses the root causes of hunger in developing countries. It selects promising students from those countries and supports them as they pursue an advanced degree in agriculture production; upon completion of their degree, the students return home to share what they’ve learned and help their nation’s farmers to feed more people in a sustainable way.
Dr. Marvin Bauer, a member of Centennial UMC, recently made a $36,000 gift to the AgGrad endowment at the University of Minnesota Foundation. His gift will generate more than $3,000 in yearly income to support fellowships for AgGrad students.
As a professor emeritus in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences, Bauer knows firsthand the impact that graduate education can have on research and education. He learned about Project AgGrad after he joined Centennial five years ago and was motivated by its goals and objectives. His gift also honors the memory of his wife, Jean, who worked with many international graduate students.
Project AgGrad has launched six graduates since its inception—and a seventh student, Sama Ao from India—is currently working on a doctoral degree at the U of M.
The program’s six graduates have collectively taught more than 500 graduate students, more than 5,000 undergraduate students, and 25 Ph.D. or master of science students. They have directly influenced more than 2,000 farmers in their home countries. Additionally, they have led or participated in 32 outreach projects, including the development of farm plans, business plans, and land use plans; water quality and sanitation assessments; and farmer training and development.
Project AgGrad received 10 percent of the 2014 Love Offering for missions, which amounted to about $12,000. Many congregations in the conference support the program through financial contributions. The cost of the fellowship for students supported through the program is approximately $35,000 per year—so contributions are always needed and appreciated.
Learn more about Project AgGrad by visiting the website or viewing a flyer. Or, for information about the program, contact Eric Forsberg, and for information about gifts to the endowment, contact Cathy Konat.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church