116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
First George Washington Carver Day celebrated at ISU
The event also will be livestreamed
Iowa State University will celebrate George Washington Carver Day Feb. 1, with a program highlighting the life and legacy of the first Black student and faculty member before he left Iowa to pursue his career at Tuskegee Institute - now Tuskegee University in Alabama.
The program, which is free and open to the public at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union, will feature speakers from three states, student readings and Carver-inspired food.
A preprogram reception will start 5 p.m. and the program will follow at 5:30 p.m.
This event also will be livestreamed. Free posters and buttons marking the inaugural Carver Day in Iowa will be given away at the event.
Last June, Gov. Kim Reynolds approved Senate File 2380, which designates Feb. 1 each year as George Washington Carver Day. Carver is only the third person to be recognized by the state with a day of recognition. The others are Herbert Hoover and Norman Borlaug.
Carver was the university’s first Black student to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees and then became the first Black faculty member.
Carver, an agricultural scientist and inventor, was born into slavery in Missouri in about 1864 — his actual birth date is unknown, but historians believe it’s January or June, according to the History.com website.
He introduced improved farming systems and developed hundreds of food products from plants such as peanuts, sweet potatoes and others native to the southern United States.
Carver left Iowa for the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he spent the rest of his life applying his innovative genius to agriculture, according an Iowa State news release.
A kind and patient teacher, Carver showed farmers how alternative crops and practices could benefit their bottom line and sustain their land. He took practical knowledge gained from science and delivered it to those working in the fields and rural areas.
Carver died in 1943. He received many honors during his life and after his death, including election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Iowa State.
During the Feb. 1 program, Dewayne Goldmon, U.S. Department of Agriculture senior adviser for racial justice and equity, will deliver the keynote address. Goldmon earned his Ph.D. in agronomy at Iowa State and was the 2020 recipient of the George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award from Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The program also will feature reflections on Carver’s life and legacy from:
- Wendy Wintersteen, president, Iowa State University
- Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president emeritus, World Food Prize Foundation
- Marsha Kelliher, president, Simpson College
- Olga Bolden-Tiller, dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University
- Simon Estes, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence, Iowa State’s Department of Music and Theatre
- Daniel Robison, endowed dean’s chair, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State
Throughout the program, Iowa State students, faculty and staff will deliver a series of readings from Carver’s writings.
The preprogram reception at 5 p.m. will feature refreshments inspired by Carver’s work. There also will be a concluding reception at 7 p.m., featuring Legacy Ice Cream produced by the Iowa State Creamery. The peanut butter and butterscotch ice cream with chocolate-covered rice crisps was created by a team of food science students to honor two outstanding Iowa State alumni — George Washington Carver, who performed extensive research on peanut products, and Mildred Day, who developed Rice Krispie treats.
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