GREENVILLE — Politicians, business leaders and educators gathered for an open house Thursday at Edison State Community College’s Darke County campus.
Dr. Doreen Larson, Edison State President, said the purpose of the open house was two-fold: First, to showcase the school’s newly inaugurated agribusiness program, and secondly, to introduce the community to the entire campus.
“It’s here, it’s unique, and it’s housed at this campus,” she said, regarding the agribusiness program. “We’ll offer courses in all the other counties, but it will be the signature program here in Darke County.”
“The other is to bring people in to see the revitalized, upgraded center at our Darke County campus — people who haven’t been here for awhile, who didn’t realize all the work that’s gone on, the activity that’s here, we’re really seeing a surge in enrollment,” she added.
Joining Dr. Larson in speaking at the open house were Chad Beanblossom, Darke County campus Dean; Darryl Mehaffie, Chair of the Edison State’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Tom Milligan, Vice Chair of the Edison Board; Ohio Representative Jim Buchy; Ohio Senator Bill Beagle; and Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director David Daniels. Earlier in the day, Ohio Senate President Keith Faber also visited.
“I’m grateful for the investment Edison State is making in Darke County,” said Sen. Faber. “Because of their vision and leadership, educational opportunities are being created that mirror the economic needs of our community. I’m particularly excited about the launch of their new agribusiness program. It’s a testament to the partnership between our local schools, businesses and government to equip Ohioans with the tools they need to be successful.”
The speakers, to a person, displayed enthusiasm about the campus, its students, and the agribusiness program.
Beanblossom started the proceedings by welcoming the attendees and expressing his thoughts on the program.
“I believe we have a lot to celebrate,” he said. “We are launching a new ag program. We’re still fairly early in the development stages, but it’s something I’m extremely excited about.”
Mehaffie said, “I believe that Edison is becoming a bright spark in Darke County and will continue to grow here in Darke County.”
Dr. Milligan told how Edison trustees had recently returned from a gathering of other community college educators from across the nation.
“It always gives us pleasure to know how far on the cutting edge we continue to be here at Edison when we see our brothers and sisters in the community college movement from around country,” he said.
Rep. Buchy said, “This new [agribusiness] degree is going to be so beneficial because we have the finest families, we have the best dedication to education, knowing full well, to compete in the world, our children and our students and future leaders must know how to do that.”
“With this new program…we’re going to continue to educate the good students here, to continue on with that legacy to keep us number one in agriculture,” Buchy added.
“You can’t think of workforce development without thinking of community colleges,” said Sen. Beagle. “The goal that institutions like Edison play is vital. As you grow, our economy grows. And as Edison succeeds, we all succeed.”
ODA Director Daniels told the audience, “Agriculture is a growing business, and will continue to do so, not only in my lifetime but in [the students’] lifetime as well. You’re giving them an opportunity to train for an industry that’s never going to be an end to it. We’re going to continue each and every day to find new products and new uses for the things that we produce out on the farm.”
“There’s probably going to be 60,000 new jobs opening up in agriculture between now and 2025 — new areas of field and new areas of study,” he said. “Programs like this are going to be more and more important as we go forward.”
“We’ve got a pretty big job ahead of us. By 2050, we estimate there’ll be 9 billion people on the planet. Agriculture is going to have to provide food, fuel, shelter and clothing for all those people. In the next 35 years, our responsibility is going to be to produce more food than we have ever produced in the history of the world,” Daniels added.
“It is rewarding to see the support for Edison State from the community, the region and the state that was evident at this event,” said Larson. “Our faculty and staff work hard every day to ensure a quality education at an affordable cost, and this event was a great opportunity to celebrate their efforts and to thank our elected officials for their advocacy and partnership.”
Courses in the new agribusiness program at Edison State’s Darke County campus began this year, and the program will be fully developed by the fall of 2017. For more information about educational opportunities at Edison State Darke County, go to www.edisonohio.edu/dcc/.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com
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