Alumni Day connects young and old, and the university with the city of Tilburg

Brand-new alumni, aging veterans, ladies in smart dresses, men in suits, and former student association members in matching sweaters. The dismal weather fails to prevent these Tilburg University alumni from visiting their alma mater. On Saturday, November 18, more than four hundred of them celebrate Tilburg University’s 90th anniversary together. “It was the best time of our lives.”

By: Melinde Bussemaker

The anniversary’s theme of “Connecting People and Knowledge” forms the central theme throughout the program during Alumni Day. The alumni enter Cobbenhagen building via the pink anniversary carpet, decorated with photographs from the university’s history. Alumni meetings are all about connecting: with each other and with the university. This is immediately obvious on entering. There are many glances of recognition: Are you here as well? The class of 1970 stand out: they are all wearing academic caps decorated with the pink anniversary banner. The gentlemen received the headgear because of their participation in the “Bring a Friend” alumni campaign. They clearly attract the attention among the other alumni, the chairs of Have a Seat, and the coffee with taaitaai and gevulde speculaas, due to the Arrival of Saint Nicholas today.

Ambitions for growth

Frederique Knoet, DARO’s Managing Director, launched the afternoon in a well-filled Auditorium. She is proud that the alumni are present in large numbers today to meet their old rowing mates, classmates, and fellow students and celebrate Tilburg University’s 90th anniversary. On the big screen, the names and photographs of the people present and the matching statistics appear. Knoet: “From 28 male students at the start in 1927 to 64,540 alumni in 2017; Tilburg University has grown immensely.” This is confirmed by the President of the Executive Board, Koen Becking. “At this moment, 14,300 students representing more than one hundred nationalities walk around on our campus. And in our Strategic Plan, we strive for more growth in the future.” In the meantime, he draws the alumni’s attention to the interesting vacancies at the university and the connection it explicitly wants to make with the city of Tilburg.

Academic thinking

In this context, the floor is subsequently given to the Director of Citymarketing Tilburg and alumnus Marc Meeuwis. Based on his personal story, he talks about his connection with the city and the university. From his TIK Week in 1988 to his contribution to the success of Guus Meeuwis & Vagant, on the tambourine as well as in a business sense, and the sudden immersion of the band to graduating in Tax Law in 1996 and his present position as a City marketer now. “What started during a small song contest in 1994 has now led to the thirteenth Groots met een zachte G concert. During my time as a student, I learned to think a certain way and that has helped me in my years after graduation. In 2015, I launched Citymarketing Tilburg. It is about visitors, inhabitants, businesses, and brains. For example, we are now setting up a large platform: Ticket to Tilburg. I am proud of the city I have now lived in for almost thirty years. I hope you are too.”

Knowledge sessions

Next, it is time for the connection with knowledge. The alumni can choose to participate in one of seven knowledge sessions. Professor Peter Achterberg goes on to speak about the gap between the confidence in science in “And the truth shall set you free: Modern-day public support for science!” Professor Max Louwerse and Dr. George Knox give a sneak preview of the Alumni Masterclasses on “Virtual, Mixed & Augmented Reality” and “Does Product Variety Connect or Fragment Consumers?” Associate Professor Ben Vollaard argues that “Imprisonment in the Netherlands is Underrated.” Assistant Professor Remco Mannak hosts a popular session on the influence of networking on success.

Professor Willem-Jan van den Heuvel and Dr. Frank Bosman look at data science from an economic and a theological perspective. Alumni association Friends of Cobbenhagen organizes an interactive Dragons’ Den under the title of “Sustainability in the Boardroom”, supported virtually by Wouter Scheepens, founder of Steward Redqueen, a specialized consulting agency that works across the globe to advise organizations on impact and sustainability. The alumni work together in teams during these sessions to prepare a short presentation in which they map out a sustainable way forward for a company. The most successful team win a copy of the book Sustainability in the Boardroom as well as a workshop taught by Scheepens. Finally, the alumni can opt for a guided tour on the campus under the guidance of Academic Heritage project leader Pieter Siebers.

Quiz and stew

Then it is time for the stamppot buffet, your standard student dish. Young and old are eating side by side at standing tables and along the bars. They chat or listen to singer and guitarist Geert Lamerichs. Among them is Clemens van der Werf, the oldest alumnus present today, who graduated in 1960 at the Bosscheweg location. “I still regularly meet my former classmates during meetings of the BZW, the entrepreneurial organization for Brabant and Zeeland. Unfortunately, none of them are here today.” During the drinks reception and the buffet, there is a quiz, organized by student association St. Olof. The fifteen questions range from the name of the current rector and the year in which students occupied the university to the year in which football club Willem II played in the Champions League. The alumni enjoy the quiz, but no one answers all questions correctly. 

Best time of my life

That the connection with the university still exists is also borne out by the presence of alumni from abroad. Some alumni have travelled from Germany or from Dublin for the day. Alumnus Wil Maas still has a special connection with the university. “My wife is having dinner with her former fellow students in the Portraits Room. We met in the 1960s, when she was one of the few female students. It was the best time of our lives. My active fraternity celebrated its 54th anniversary last year and our son graduated here, too.” After dinner, buses transport those interested in the Cantus to rowing association Vidar. And it was a long time before the dust settled.

Photo’s Alumni Day

S&T architectural engineering students to present designs for new Rolla animal shelter

Students in the architectural engineering design course at Missouri University of Science and Technology have created 15 potential designs for the future Rolla Animal Shelter, and they will present six of those plans to the public prior to the start of the Dec. 4, Rolla City Council meeting.

The presentation, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, in the lobby of City Hall, located at 901 N. Elm St. in Rolla.

“The current Rolla Animal Shelter facility has served our community for over 40 years,” says John Butz, Rolla city administrator. “While the facility and its staff have done a tremendous job serving the community, the building itself has numerous challenges, and continued operation on a long-term basis is prohibitive.

“An opportunity has presented itself as a former resident of the community, Robert Eck, designated $441,000 to be used in the caring of animals,” Butz says. “This donation is a considerable step toward funding the estimated $1.2 million project.”

Plans to raise the additional funds through other venues are underway, and organizers believe they would benefit from design suggestions to help prospective donors visualize the new facility.

“This has been a very engaging project for the design students, requiring them to first meet with and listen to the needs of their client, research new animal shelters from around the country, and determine the number and type of spaces needed for the animals to be housed there,” says Dr. Stuart Baur, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T. “The students developed their own designs to best incorporate this information.”

Each year, architectural engineering faculty look for projects the students will be excited about. Baur says the animal shelter project was a great fit.

A total of 39 students divided into 15 groups created projects. Because of time and space limitations, six were selected for public presentation. Projects to be presented include:

  • “The Four Corners” concept is based on the four points of service the animal shelter will cover – safety, animals, community and family. The concept was designed by Delsey Jett, a senior in architectural engineering and civil engineering from West Plains, Missouri, and Kristen Ross, a senior in architectural engineering from Rolla, Missouri.
  • The “Rescue Me” concept is based on the close proximity of the proposed shelter site to the Rolla Rural Firehouse and the understanding that the shelter will continue to serve the community in the care of its animals. The concept was designed by Mitchell Zimmerman, a senior in civil engineering and architectural engineering from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Robert Craft, a senior in architectural engineering from Liberty, Missouri.
  • The “A Light in the Darkness” concept reflects the idea that the animal shelter should serve as a place of transition of new beginnings. The concept was designed by Margaret Albert, a junior in architectural engineering from Jefferson City, Missouri; Baylee Godat, a senior in architectural engineering from Union, Missouri; and Madison Moore, a senior in architectural engineering from Jackson, Missouri.
  • The “Back to the Wild” concept is based on the idea that the animal shelter is a place designed for going back to nature and finding the right type of balance between humans and animals. It was designed by Haiquan Zheng, a junior in mechanical engineering from Ashland, Missouri, and Mahir Kablic, a junior in architectural engineering from St. Louis.
  • The “Pet Town” concept features the exterior architectural charm of a small-town main street that provides movement into an interior “pet town” that gives potential pet owners a quaint and comfortable experience. The concept was designed by Zach Lewis, a senior in architectural engineering from Palmyra, Missouri; Caleb Strickland, a senior in architectural engineering from Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and Emily Hutcheson, a junior in architectural engineering from Rolla, Missouri.
  • The “Animal Lodge” concept was based on a lodge that features design elements inspired by traditional Japanese architecture. The concept was designed by Duncan Chappell, a senior in architectural engineering from Maryville, Missouri; Jonathan Cureton, a junior in architectural engineering from Rolla, Missouri; and Josh Insco, a senior in architectural engineering from Richwoods, Missouri.

“The students see it as a great way to give back to the community,” says Heath Pickerill, adjunct professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T. “And the city of Rolla has been very supportive of our efforts.”

A horse is a horse, of course, of course—except when it isn’t

An international team of researchers has discovered a previously unrecognized genus of extinct horses that roamed North America during the last ice age.

The new findings, published November 28 in the journal eLife, are based on an analysis of ancient DNA from fossils of the enigmatic “New World stilt-legged horse” excavated from sites such as Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming, Gypsum Cave in Nevada, and the Klondike goldfields of Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Prior to this study, these thin-limbed, lightly built horses were thought to be related to the Asiatic wild ass or onager, or simply a separate species within the genus Equus, which includes living horses, asses, and zebras. The new results, however, reveal that these horses were not closely related to any living population of horses.

Now named Haringtonhippus francisci, this extinct species of North American horse appears to have diverged from the main trunk of the family tree leading to Equus some 4 to 6 million years ago.

“The horse family, thanks to its rich and deep fossil record, has been a model system for understanding and teaching evolution. Now ancient DNA has rewritten the evolutionary history of this iconic group,” said first author Peter Heintzman, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher at UC Santa Cruz.

Evolutionary distance

“The evolutionary distance between the extinct stilt-legged horses and all living horses took us by surprise, but it presented us with an exciting opportunity to name a new genus of horse,” said senior author Beth Shapiro, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz.

The team named the new horse after Richard Harington, emeritus curator of Quaternary Paleontology at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. Harington, who was not involved in the study, spent his career studying the ice age fossils of Canada’s North and first described the stilt-legged horses in the early 1970s.

“I had been curious for many years concerning the identity of two horse metatarsal bones I collected, one from Klondike, Yukon, and the other from Lost Chicken Creek, Alaska. They looked like those of modern Asiatic kiangs, but thanks to the research of my esteemed colleagues they are now known to belong to a new genus,” said Harington. “I am delighted to have this new genus named after me.”

Widespread and successful

The new findings show that Haringtonhippus francisci was a widespread and successful species throughout much of North America, living alongside populations of Equus but not interbreeding with them. In Canada’s North, Haringtonhippus survived until roughly 17,000 years ago, more than 19,000 years later than previously known from this region.

At the end of the last ice age, both horse groups became extinct in North America, along with other large animals like woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Although Equus survived in Eurasia after the last ice age, eventually leading to domestic horses, the stilt-legged Haringtonhippus was an evolutionary dead end.

“We are very pleased to name this new horse genus after our friend and colleague Dick Harington. There is no other scientist who has had greater impact in the field of ice age paleontology in Canada than Dick,” said coauthor Grant Zazula, a Government of Yukon paleontologist. “Our research on fossils such as these horses would not be possible without Dick’s life-long dedication to working closely with the Klondike gold miners and local First Nations communities in Canada’s North”.

Coauthor Eric Scott, a paleontologist at California State University San Bernardino, said that morphologically, the fossils of Haringtonhippus are not all that different from those of Equus. “But the DNA tells a fascinatingly different story altogether,” he said. “That’s what is so impressive about these findings. It took getting down to the molecular level to discern this new genus.”

In addition to Heintzman, Shapiro, Zazula, and Scott, the coauthors include Ross MacPhee at the American Museum of Natural History; James Cahill, Joshua Kapp, and Mathias Stiller at UC Santa Cruz; Brianna McHorse at Harvard University; Matthew Wooller at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Ludovic Orlando at the Natural History Museum of Denmark; John Southon at UC Irvine; and Duane Froese at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Troubling tax reform

Over the past few weeks, the University of California and UC Santa Cruz have been closely following legislative proposals in Congress that would change federal tax law. Both UC and UC Santa Cruz have sent letters to California’s congressional delegation stating our deep concern with several provisions of the proposed legislation. In addition, we have formed coalitions with other public institutions nationwide to express our collective concerns about several onerous provisions in the proposals rapidly working their way through Congress. Please join us in these efforts.

On Nov. 16, the House passed HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, by a vote of 227-205. Simultaneously, in the Senate, the Committee on Finance approved a version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The full Senate could vote on the tax package as soon as this week. This legislation is moving rapidly, and we want to make all aware of some of the potential harm to public higher education and provide the resources for those who want their voices heard by Congress.

Students, consumers, residents, and citizens should know there are several provisions that could negatively impact them. Specific areas of concern to UC and UC Santa Cruz include:

Education Tax Benefits: UC is concerned the House bill repeals certain education tax incentives that benefit UC students and their families, helping them pay for college. In addition, it would impose taxation on tuition remissions for graduate students, significantly increasing their tax burdens.

Charitable Giving: The House and Senate bills seek to increase the standard deduction, which could disincentivize charitable support for higher education.

Tax Exempt Bond Financing: UC is concerned that repeal of tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds and Advance Refunding Bonds could make it more difficult to pursue capital projects that benefit students and faculty.

To pass a tax-reform bill in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed because the Senate is operating under reconciliation rules. That means a filibuster-proof majority would not be needed for passage. Republicans, however, can afford to lose no more than two Republican senators to pass the tax package. It is too early to tell whether the Senate bill will have enough support to move forward in its present form.

As the Senate moves toward consideration, and with the prospect of a possible House-Senate process to reconcile differences between the two bills, UC and UC Santa Cruz continue to advocate against the many onerous provisions of these bills.

Please stay engaged and informed. To learn more information or how to send a letter or make a call to Congress, visit the University of California’s Advocacy Network (UCAN).

Now is a critical time to make your voice heard!

Central Coast community college students urged to chart course to UC

Higher education leaders told a room full of community college students that a University of California education is accessible and affordable for transfer students.

“The doors of the University of California are open. The opportunity is there,” UC President Janet Napolitano said to an auditorium full of central coast students hosted at Cabrillo College. “It’s a great opportunity to attend a world-class university, right in your own region.”

Napolitano on Monday (Nov. 20) joined UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal, Cabrillo College President Laurel Jones, Hartnell College President Willard Clark Lewallen, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey Peninsula College President Walter Tribley, and Gavilan College President Kathleen A. Rose to promote the transfer path to UC from community colleges and to answer questions about the transition.

“You have a world-class educational institution within commuting distance,” Blumenthal said.

Students learned about financial aid that can put a UC education within reach. More than half of UC’s California undergraduates pay no tuition thanks to the university’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers the full cost of tuition for students who are eligible for financial aid and whose families earn $80,000 a year or less.

The students also heard the personal story of one of the many students who have transferred from Cabrillo to UC Santa Cruz.

“In June 2012, I was under fire by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In June 2013, I was in the backcountry of Yosemite hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In June 2014, I was here at Cabrillo taking English 100A,” Jesse Silva said. “In June 2018, I’ll be up at UCSC graduating with a double major in philosophy and politics.”

After making it through war, Silva said he wanted to attend the University of California because he owed it to himself—and to those who did not come back—to be successful at the best university, which he learned was the University of California.

The environment at UC Santa Cruz—the towering redwoods and striking sunsets—felt welcoming to Silva.

“There are so many good spots to just sit down and read,” Silva said. “You just pick a tree and have a seat. I love that.”

The students—from Cabrillo College, Hartnell College in Salinas, Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey and Gavilan College in Gilroy—also heard from UC Santa Cruz professor of astrophysics Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz about the educational and research opportunities available to UC students.

“Because of you the UC system will be stronger, certainly smarter, healthier, and definitely more interesting than it is today,” Ramirez-Ruiz said. “If we are to solve our nation’s problems, we have to remake science to include everyone. That is core to the UC system.”

Researchers seek clues to tropical biodiversity in study of spiral gingers

Orchid bees are common pollinators of spiral ginger plants in the tropical forests of Central and South America. (Photo by Santiago Ramirez, UC Davis)

A huge number of plant species underlies the remarkable biological diversity found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Costa Rica alone has more than 12,000 species of plants. Yet biologists are not quite sure what drove the astounding diversification of plants in this region.

Kathleen Kay, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, studies an especially diverse group of tropical plants called spiral gingers. With a new $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Dimensions of Biodiversity program, Kay is leading a collaborative research effort using spiral gingers to investigate the evolutionary origins of tropical biodiversity.

Spiral gingers originated in Africa and dispersed to the Americas about 1.5 to 7 million years ago. In the New World, the initial colonizers evolved into more than 60 different species, one of the fastest examples of “adaptive radiation” (diversification into new forms) in plants.

Kay’s team, which includes investigators at five universities, will test different explanations for why new species evolved so rapidly in the tropics. One hypothesis is that species adapted to the stable year-round climate of the tropics are unable to tolerate a wide range of conditions, leading to geographic isolation and the evolution of new species separated by varied topography. Alternatively, diversification may be driven by interactions between plants and other organisms, such as pollinators and herbivores, which may vary from place to place.

Spiral gingers are found mostly in the forests of Costa Rica, Panama, western Colombia, and Ecuador, but they occur in a wide range of environments and soil types. “Some grow right on the beach in salt spray, and others grow deep in the forest, where it is so dark you can’t even measure the light with a standard light meter,” Kay said. “And some grow way up in the mountains at elevations of 5,000 feet.”

Spiral gingers also interact with many different animals, including different species of hummingbirds and orchid bees that pollinate their flowers. There are specialized beetles that feed on the young leaves of spiral gingers, and ants that provide protection from herbivores in exchange for nectar. The flowers of spiral gingers come in different colors and shapes to attract different types of pollinators. Bee-pollinated flowers have stripes on their petals and a lip where bees can land, whereas hummingbird-pollinated gingers have bright-red tube-shaped flowers full of nectar.

“Two species can occur in the same place but with different flower shapes for attracting different pollinators,” Kay said.

Forest reserves

To understand which types of interactions are more important in driving the evolution of new species, Kay and her collaborators will combine several different approaches, including observational studies, field experiments, and genetic mapping. They plan to start field work in forest reserves in Panama and Costa Rica in April 2018.

Observational studies will help the researchers determine which characteristics of the plants are important for adapting to physical conditions, such as soil type or the amount of sunlight, and which are important for interactions with other organisms. Experiments in the field and in greenhouses will investigate how well different species of spiral gingers tolerate changes in environmental conditions or interactions with different organisms. Researchers will also do cross-pollination experiments and test the performance of hybrids. Intensive genetic studies will enable the researchers to identify genetic markers for specific traits and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of different species of spiral gingers.

The study will help guide conservation efforts by giving scientists a better understanding of the biology of tropical plants and how they are adapted to their environments. It will also provide valuable opportunities for students, with at least 50 undergraduates and several graduate students expected to take part in the study.

The team will contribute to field courses that regularly visit their field research sites, including Spanish-language courses that attract primarily Latin American students. Kay has been involved in these courses at field sites in Costa Rica and Panama for the past 12 years. The research team is also dedicated to increasing local capacity in biodiversity science by hiring and training local field assistants at each field site.

“I have hired people straight out of high school who have no experience in the forest, but live right there, and they have gone on to have really nice jobs in the field of biology,” Kay said. “They come to appreciate the tropical forest as their backyard, in a way they wouldn’t really get without these opportunities.”

In addition to Kay, the other principal investigators for this project are Dena Grossenbacher at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, an expert in ecological niche modeling and phylogeny; Santiago Ramírez at UC Davis, an orchid bee expert; Jennifer Funk at Chapman University, an ecophysiologist; and Carlos Garcia-Robledo at the University of Connecticut, an expert on plant-herbivore interactions. Douglas W. Schemske, professor emeritus of plant biology at Michigan State University, who did pioneering research on spiral gingers and was Kay’s Ph.D. adviser, will be involved with some of the experimental and writing aspects of the project.

New, improved campus maps available

Updated and redesigned campus maps are available and can be ordered online.

For the new map, campus map project manager Susan Willats partnered with the UC Santa Cruz Center for Integrated Spatial Research to create a map based on geographic information system (GIS) and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data, creating an exceptionally accurate map.

The imagery used in the previous map was created in 1999 by a UC Berkeley cartography professor. The last update to the printed campus maps was in 2012. Beyond the new design and improved accuracy, the new maps now reference Rachel Carson College instead of College Eight.

2017 UCSC Holiday Food Drive

Greetings and cheer from the UCSC Holiday Food Drive. The UCSC holiday food drive works in cooperation with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County providing healthy meals to our friends and neighbors in need.

You can donate by pantry barrel, online, or donation envelopes found at campus mail-stops.

Your donations are secure through campus mail services. Donation envelopes are being distributed this week. Please make checks payable to Second Harvest Food Bank and mark your affiliation on the memo line.

You can learn more about the drive and how to make donations at our website:

Last year, the UCSC holiday food drive raised nearly 150,000 meals for our friends and neighbors in need. We hope that you will help us make this another great year for UCSC in support of the greater Santa Cruz Community.

We are honored to work in cooperation with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz, the healthiest food bank in the nation. With Second Harvest’s buying power, the Food Bank is able to distribute more than 60 percent of their meals in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Second Harvest recognizes the importance of eating smart and its long-term connection to the health of our community. Your pantry donations go a long way, your envelope donations can go further with a lower carbon footprint.

One hundred percent of your donation is used to feed people in need in our local community, and just one dollar feeds a family of four.

Please make a donation to support this great cause either in one of our campus pantry barrels, online here, or by using the donation envelopes distributed through campus mail.

Thank you for your continued support. If you would like to get involved with the food drive, please contact:

John Steele
Chair, UCSC holiday food drive

Project to address good government in North Dakota

NDSU’s Northern Plains Ethics Institute is set to host a conversation about “What is Good Government in North Dakota?” Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Badlands room.

The discussion will feature Jim Shaw, Forum Communications columnist and former KVRR-TV news director, and Nicholas Bauroth, associate professor of political science and director of the Upper Midwest Center on Public Policy.

They will give opening remarks and then engage in audience conversations about: What makes good government? What makes a good legislator or governor? What makes a good citizen?

According to institute director Dennis Cooley, North Dakotans have reported that trust in government has eroded. “They feel that rapid changes in everyday life and government at every level have left many them disconnected, if not reeling,” Cooley said. “Facts seem often to contradict one another. Legislators are not as accessible as they used to be. Concerned citizens attending government hearings often feel dismissed, as if decisions have already been made. There are concerns about out-of-state money influencing government decisions. This comes at a time when trust is needed to pursue success for each citizen and the state.”

The discussion is part of a multi-faceted initiative to engage North Dakota citizens and academic experts in a discussion about ethics and trust in government. The elements of the initiative include:

• Five gatherings of academics and citizens around the state

• A culminating event at the Heritage Center in Bismarck

• Participation in statewide conference programs and radio talk shows

• A series of Dakota Datebook programs on Prairie Public Radio

The project focuses on academic collaboration, participant engagement and preserving or creating content for re-use. Scholars will address such topics as the role of ethical behavior in the history of North Dakota government, how ethical government affects a state’s economy, the cost of mistrust and other matters related the requirements of good government.

The gatherings will focus on local thought leaders; teachers; students; people involved with township, city and county government; rural residents and the Native community.

“By providing an opportunity to engage in conversations with each other and experts from the academic community, a grass works-based framework for possibly rethinking government can be sketched out,” Cooley said.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

Northern Crops Institute hires director

The Northern Crops Institute, located on the NDSU campus, has hired Mark Jirik as director. Jirik replaces Mark Weber, who will retire from the institute in December after serving as director for six years.

Jirik earned his master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from NDSU. He has more than 17 years of experience in commodity merchandising and commercial management at Cargill.

Northern Crops Council chairman Greg Kessel, a producer from Belfield, North Dakota, said, “The council is confident that Mark is the right choice to lead the Northern Crops Institute. His education, skills and experience will provide the necessary leadership to continue to enhance its well established global reputation for the promotion of northern grown crops.”

Northern Crops Institute supports regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs that expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern-grown crops. The institute is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.