Patterson Lecture Series Celebrates 10th Anniversary

By Christina Drain

Sterling Speirn

The James F. Patterson Land-Grant University Lecture series celebrates its 10th anniversary May 2 with a luncheon and awards ceremony and, for the first time, a forum featuring more than 80 outreach and engagement poster exhibits of ongoing Ohio State initiatives from local to international.

The lecture is named for former Ohio State trustee James Patterson, who served on the board from 1994-2003. At his retirement dinner, the university announced plans to host an annual lecture series centered on Patterson’s passion — ensuring that the 150-year-old land-grant concept remains viable in today’s education climate. Each year the event invites a prominent figure to speak to the range of challenges facing colleges and universities in the 21st century.

“I think the event has become more than I envisioned,” Patterson said. “It’s keeping the focus on what the mission is. The mission has changed over the years; it’s not the same as it was exactly in 1862, but the core reasons of it are still there. Attached with this there is also the outreach and engagement process that will be part of the program that day as well.”

This year’s featured lecturer is Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Kellogg Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the US and provided more than $8.8 million in funding to Ohio State projects since 1990, according to the foundation.

“We’ve had some excellent speakers, just top-of-the-line,” Patterson said. “The Kellogg Foundation is a huge foundation. Nationally, Sterling Speirn has done a lot to support education and higher education. I’m looking forward to this one. It should be good.”

The foundation supports programs for creating educated and healthy children, secure families, racial equity and civic engagement. Ohio State has received at least four grants of more than $1 million, including a current

$1.5 million grant through the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, as well Kellogg’s first-ever endowment for agricultural ecosystems management.

The three-year Kirwan grant funds four initiatives, including the Kirwan Institute’s work to advocate for equitable economic policies and practices, expand opportunity through community training and analysis, evaluate policy implementation and structural interventions at the community level and challenge implicit bias in juvenile justice.

The $1.5 million endowment to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is now in its 15th year. It supports work in holistic approaches to balancing and simultaneously improving the social, economic and environmental dimensions of agriculture, according to Casey Hoy, endowed chair.

The Kellogg Foundation also has had a keen interest in higher education through support of the community college system and land-grant universities. In 1996, the foundation funded the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, a four-year $1.2 million grant to define the future direction of public universities and recommend reforms. Ohio State President

E. Gordon Gee was chairman of the commission as the first of six reports was published.

Bobby Moser, special assistant for External Relations at Ohio State and member of the board of directors for the Kellogg Foundation, says Ohio State and the foundation are a good fit.

“I think Ohio State is definitely an engaged university,” Moser said. “Ohio State performs in a manner that Kellogg can support. We are working on issues that are common to society and to the community and I think Kellogg can see that and is willing to support in that regard.

“We not only discover knowledge, we get it out there in the hands of the people where it can make a difference in their lives. Our bottom line is to enhance the quality of life for the people of this state and that’s what a land grant university was set up to do.”

Article originally published in onCampus -

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