January 06, 2010

PotashCorp contributes lead gift for greenhouse

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The world’s largest fertilizer enterprise is making a substantial contribution to Southern Illinois University Carbondale to better prepare the next generation of agriculture professionals for the workforce.

PotashCorp, an integrated producer of fertilizer, industrial and animal feed products with its commercial center based in Northbrook, has committed a lead gift of $250,000 to Southern’s effort to build a state-of-the-art, undergraduate teaching and research greenhouse facility.

This new 22-000-square-foot facility replaces a 50-year-old greenhouse that is the core learning laboratory for the entire Plant and Soil Science program. Total cost is estimated at $4.5 million.

“PotashCorp places a high priority on educational initiatives, particularly those related to production agriculture,” said David Delaney, president of PCS Sales at PotashCorp. “The students who will use this new facility will acquire the skills needed to ensure the world achieves food security. This will be a challenge as the global population increases and land for farming becomes increasingly scarce. Our financial assistance toward the new greenhouse is a sound investment in preparing future generations of agricultural professionals.”

Delaney is a 1983 graduate of Southern’s Plant and Soil Science program. He also serves on the College of Agricultural Sciences leadership board.

“The College of Agricultural Sciences is most appreciative of the PotashCorp generous support for the new Undergraduate Teaching and Research Greenhouse,” says Todd Winters, associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “This facility will greatly enhance the Plant and Soil Science program and the real world, hands-on experience our students will receive in a new modern laboratory facility.”

The new greenhouse will include computerized technology, subdivided environments, a headhouse and a classroom. The facility will also be accessible to and functional for students and patrons with disabilities.

“The University’s new undergraduate teaching and research greenhouse facility is essential to the future of the entire plant and soil science program,” says Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation. “This generous contribution clearly underscores PotashCorp’s commitment to preparing students for positions in a workforce that serves as a driving force in the economy of both the state of Illinois, as well as the entire nation. PotashCorp has a longstanding relationship with SIU Carbondale. The company’s continued support of our University’s mission is greatly appreciated.”