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UF President Lombardi To Preside At June 15 Indian River Research And Education Center Groundbreaking Ceremonies

Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281

Calvin Arnold (561) 468-3922 ext. 112

FORT PIERCE—University of Florida President John Lombardi will host groundbreaking ceremonies on Tuesday, June 15, for a new $3.7 million classroom and teaching laboratory addition to the UF’s Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Fort Pierce. Other officials participating in the ceremonies, which begin at 10:30 a.m., include Michael Martin, UF vice president for agriculture and natural resources; Jimmy Cheek, dean of the UF’s College of Agriculture; State Rep. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie; State Rep. O.R. “Rick” Minton, Jr., D-Fort Pierce; Dan Richey, president of the Indian River Citrus League in Vero Beach; David Neill, vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange in Orlando; Ed Hayslip, member of the Florida Nurseryman and Growers Association; and Calvin Arnold, director of the IRREC.

Martin, who heads the UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said the expanded teaching program at Fort Pierce reflects the UF’s unique statewide agricultural research and education mission that is mandated in federal laws, beginning with the 1862 Morrill Act that established land-grant universities in every state.

“Providing access to students, conducting research in the public interest and taking new knowledge to the people are more than land-grant traditions; they are legally-binding responsibilities,” Martin said.

Arnold said the new 19,700-square foot center addition, to be completed by December 2000, will accommodate the center’s growing number of students who can now earn their bachelor’s degree in horticulture or agribusiness management without having to leave the Treasure Coast. He said the program is open to both degree-seeking and nondegree-seeking students.

He said the cooperative teaching program at the center involves Indian River Community College (IRCC) in Fort Pierce and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. IRCC President Edwin Massey and FAU President Anthony Catanese will also attend the ceremonies.

“Thanks to the support and collaboration of our legislators, local and state educators, business groups and others, we are able to move forward and expand the statewide teaching programs of the UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS),” Arnold said. “The Fort Pierce center is one of three UF/IFAS branch campuses with teaching programs — others are in Fort Lauderdale and Milton near Pensacola.

“In particular, we want to thank Rep. Pruitt, chair of the Treasure Coast legislative delegation, and Rep. Minton, vice chair of the delegation, for their outstanding support in making this expansion a reality.”

Arnold said the UF’s College of Agriculture is the only comprehensive program of its kind in the state, providing instruction in food, natural resources, human and life sciences.

The UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center was established in 1947 to serve the research and education needs of Florida with special emphasis on the five-county area comprising St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Martin, Indian River and Brevard counties.