VINCENNES, Ind. – Purdue University and Vincennes University
celebrated a partnership that spans more than 60 years during the Knox
County Purdue University Ag Alumni Spring Meeting on March 10.
Around 75 people attended the event at VU’s new Agricultural Center.
VU President Chuck Johnson and Karen Plaut, Glenn W. Sample Dean of
Purdue Agriculture, were keynote speakers.
The articulation agreement between VU and Purdue begins with
agriculture students earning an associate of science degree from VU,
then transferring as juniors to Purdue to earn a bachelor’s degree.
The union of the two universities began with agriculture in 1957 and
has since expanded to other areas, including engineering, tourism and hospitality.
“We get top-notch students from VU,” Plaut said. “For students who
want to go to Purdue, coming to VU gives them a chance to experience
higher education in a more intimate setting, and then they can go to
Purdue and get a wider breadth of experience.”
Purdue’s Ag program is one of the best in the world. It is the No. 6
agriculture program in the United States and No. 12 in the world,
according to Quacquarelli Symonds (2019).
The alumni gathering was held just north of Vincennes in the
Agricultural Center that houses the University’s VU/PU Agriculture,
Horticulture, Agribusiness, and John Deere Tech, and Precision
Agriculture programs as well as Purdue’s Food Safety Training hub. A
stone’s throw away from the modern and stunning building is the
Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center research complex.
“The fact that we share facilities and share people is something
really special,” Plaut said. “Our partnership is the longest
partnership of any in the Ag school. It’s really fantastic to have
that long-term partnership. We’re going to continue to grow the
partnership. We have talked about how we can strengthen our
partnership and how we can really push opportunities forward.
“There are a number of people in the room who started at VU, then
went to Purdue. We’re really proud of those graduates. A staff member
just met with an alum in Arizona who started with the VU program, so
they’re really across the world doing great things.”
The collaboration between VU and Purdue is also essential to Indiana
and the state’s agriculture industry.
“I’m proud to say the relationship continues to be very strong,”
Johnson said. “We’re very pleased and we’ve heard from our partners at
Purdue that they’re wanting to help us continue to build a rich
VU and Purdue are heavily intertwined in agriculture within Knox
County and surrounding areas as evidenced by the alumni who attended
the event. An estimated 70 percent attended both VU and Purdue.
Drew Garretson of Vincennes is one of those of alums. Garretson, who
is employed as a U.S. E-Business Field Team Lead at Land O'Lakes,
Inc., was a student in VU’s two-year agriculture program before
graduating from Purdue in 2005.
“I knew I wanted to study Ag and my plan all along was to work my way
toward a chance to attend Purdue via VU because it was better for me
in terms of classroom size,” he said. “I needed a smaller classroom to
help me dial in to some of the basic core submits like chemistry, math
and biology. The experience at VU is an experience that you can find
who you are, and you can really lean into the staff to help you
sharpen your strengths and weaknesses.”
At VU, the next generation of farmers and agriculture professionals
are being exposed to cutting-edge curriculum. They’re preparing in the
classrooms and the fields on how to meet consumers’ changing needs,
address environmental challenges, and adapt to the technological
changes that are transforming the industry. Students are learning
innovative farming solutions such as hydroponics, which is growing
plants without soil and instead utilizing sand, gravel, or liquid.
Students are also gaining knowledge on how to use and maintain the
latest technology, including drones. VU has also introduced an Urban
Agriculture Concentration. The program teaches students about
agriculture which takes the form of backyard, roof-top, and balcony
gardening, community gardening, roadside urban fringe agriculture, and
livestock grazing in open space.
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the
Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in
Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers,
and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education
Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in
Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing
and Logistics in Fort Branch. VU offers online degrees and classes to
students who need access to college courses and flexibility through
its Distance Education.
A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers
instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and
certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in
technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs
in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21
other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana
campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only
college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become
President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S.
President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana
Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
Information Director 812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
VUNews@vinu.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org VINCENNES UNIVERSITY,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom