Montana State University

Foundation for success: MSU dedicates new Animal Bioscience Building

October 28, 2010 -- By Melynda Harrison


Join MSU in celebrating the grand opening of the College of Agriculture's new Animal Bioscience Building. (Watch slideshow.) The 40,000-square-foot building offers state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories for instruction and research to animal science and natural resources/rangeland ecology students. Ranchers, farmers and other donors generously contributed roughly half of the $15.7 million needed for the building's construction. The MSU community and the public are invited to the dedication at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.    High-Res Available

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Montana's agriculture community has proven that you don't have to be a millionaire to make a difference--you just have to care.

When Montana State University's new Animal Bioscience Building (watch slideshow) has its dedication it will do so because of an array of private donors whose gifts range in size. The dedication ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. The building is on the west side of 11th Avenue near its intersection with Cleveland.

For example, more than 40 donations came from a group calling themselves the Cool Cats (see accompanying story). Each Cool Cat donated $250 -- not that much in the scope of a $15.7 million facility, but, collectively, the 40 Cool Cats' donations totaled $10,000, which earned the group a spot in the Ranchers Circle that recognizes the 141 ranches, businesses and individuals who each committed $10,000 or more to the ABB. All members of the Ranchers Circle are recognized on a donor wall in the building, creating a veritable "Who's Who" of Montana family ranches.

"To have 141 ranchers and businesses be part of the Ranchers Circle is phenomenal," said Taylor Brown, an MSU graduate who is a Montana state senator, president of the Northern Ag Network and a member of the Ranchers Circle. Brown worked with Jim Peterson, interim College of Agriculture associate dean, as co-heads of fundraising efforts.

The new, 40,000-square-foot Animal Bioscience Building offers state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories for instruction and research to prepare animal and range sciences students for careers in animal sciences, wildlife management, natural resource conservation and restoration, research, the equine industry, ranch and range management, land stewardship and more.

"We wanted to create a facility that reflects the high quality of our students and their value as Montana's future in agriculture," said Jeff Jacobsen, dean of the College of Agriculture.

"This building makes history on the MSU campus, because when it opened, it was not only totally paid for and debt-free, but about 50 percent of its funding came from the private donations from more than 500 ranchers, families, groups and agri-businesses," said Bret Olson, past interim animal and range sciences department head, of the $15.7 million building. "Like never before, the livestock industry has come together to provide a truly remarkable facility for MSU."

The department's new head is Glenn Duff, who began this semester.

"This new facility will attract new faculty members that will benefit our students," said Charlene Rich, executive director of the Montana Beef Council. "Since the cattle industry sells about 2 million head of cattle each year and MSU students are the future of Montana ag, we will all benefit from a great research institution."

The facility includes classrooms, teaching laboratories, research facilities, and faculty and staff offices. The Technology Transfer Room, paid for with donations from the members of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, allows collaboration between MSU faculty and other universities and tribal colleges around the world through video conferencing. MSU faculty will be able to teach classes to other locations without ever leaving campus.

"Being able to broadcast lectures and bring in lectures expands our campus for our students," Jacobsen said.

Until the ABB was built, animal and range sciences classes were scattered throughout Linfield Hall, Leon Johnson Hall and other buildings around campus, making collaboration difficult. In addition, lab equipment and facilities were antiquated.

Students and faculty won't be the only ones benefitting from the new building.

"Ranchers, farmers and other donors have a real ownership in this building that is beyond financial," Jacobsen said. "When they come to Bozeman they will have a place to use, that is theirs."

The ABB will be paired with a second building that will complement the instructional ABB through agriculture-related research and enhance MSU's strong reputation in the global agriculture industry. This second building will be built and paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service about a year after full federal appropriation.

Contact: Jeff Jacobsen, dean of the College of Agriculture, 406-994-3681, agdean@montana.edu