Celebrating 100 years of excellence

by Arvin Donley
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The 100th anniversary celebration of Kansas State University’s (KSU) Department of Grain Science and Industry, Oct. 2-3 in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., was highlighted by the presence of many important figures from its past and several promising announcements regarding its future.

Among those taking part in the event, which culminated with the “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future” evening gala, were current department head Dirk Maier as well as four of his   predecessors: Virgil Smail, Brendan Donnelly, Richard Hahn and Charles Deyoe.

Several generations of department graduates were represented at the event, with Don Dubois, a 1942 graduate, and Art Hibbs, who graduated in 1943, being the oldest alumni to attend. Representatives from a number of major grain, flour, feed and baking companies and from companies that supply equipment to those industries were in Manhattan for the celebration,   as were executives from the American Feed Industry Association, the North American Millers Association, the International Association of Operative Millers, the American Bakers Association and the American Institute of Baking.

“The people who turned out and participated were really incredible,” Maier said. “That’s what stood out the most to me. Within those groups of people, we were able to honor a number of outstanding faculty and administrators from the past who have had such an amazing impact on the industry as a whole.”  

Nine individuals were recognized during the anniversary celebration with video tributes and plaques for their career contributions to the department and the grain industry.  

Five of those individuals were present including: Robert Schoeff, extension specialist focusing on grain elevator safety; Deyoe, former department head and animal nutrition specialist; Charles Hoseney, cereal chemist; Paul Seib, cereal chemist, all of Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., and Okkyung Chung, cereal chemist, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.

Additionally, four individuals were recognized posthumously for their contributions to the Grain Science and Industry Department including Arlin Ward, milling science professor instrumental in development of the International Grains Program; Karl Finney, cereal chemist and wheat quality researcher; William Hoover, former department head and former president of American Institute of Baking; and John Shellenberger, former department head who oversaw significant expansion of the department.

The families of Hoover and Shellenberger attended the evening gala and were presented plaques.

The contributions of Deyoe and Ward, who paved the way for the establishment of the International Grains Program (IGP) in 1978, were also recognized with room dedications. The IGP conference center auditorium is named after Deyoe and the board room is posthumously named after Ward.

“These two men were visionaries and worked hard in the 1960s and 1970s to make the International Grains Program a reality at K-State,” said Mark Fowler, IGP associate director.

Emeritus Professor Deyoe is a former department head of Grain Science and Industry. IGP was formed under his leadership. His vision was to create a place through which international professionals could learn about Kansas and U.S. grains.

“Dr. Deyoe garnered the necessary support from state and national commodity groups, farm organizations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that resulted in legislation creating the International Grains Program with him as the first director,” said KSU President Kirk Schultz.

Deyoe’s vision was inspired by the earlier work of Ward.   Ward was a milling professor who developed the shortcourse platform that is still in place at IGP today. He traveled abroad extensively during his tenure. Through his travels, he encouraged industry professionals to visit KSU and participate in hands-on trainings conducted by grain science experts.

“Professor Ward began to encourage flour millers abroad to come to Kansas State University for academic programs and special short courses in 1962. His work with his colleagues and countless others was the driving force that gave the Department of Grain Science and Industry its stellar global reputation and ultimately resulted in the establishment of the International Grains Program,” Schultz said.  


In an evening of many “feel good” moments, Maier’s announcement that the department had reached what is believed to be an all-time high in undergraduate enrollment with 206 students may have been the biggest highlight.

Just five years ago the number of undergraduates had fallen to below 150, which prompted the department to make student recruiting a top priority. Maier, who has been department head since 2008, said the effort has paid off

“We set a pretty high goal for ourselves and we really didn’t expect to hit this particular milestone so quickly,” he said.

He said a more coordinated and aggressive recruiting effort, greater involvement by companies in the grain, feed, baking and milling industries in that effort, and a public relations and marketing campaign that emphasized the employment opportunities and starting salaries for graduates as well as the scholarship support available were the primary reasons for the recent increase in enrollment.

During the evening gala, Sosland Publishing Company announced that it would present the department with a $15,000 student scholarship through part of the advertising revenue it received from its 76-page publication commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Department of Grain Science and Industry. The publication was presented to those attending the weekend festivities.  

Those in attendance were also treated to an educational program that focused on the department’s global impact through “education and outreach” and “research and technology transfer.” Among the topics presented by current KSU professors were:

• “Microstructure, Texture and Rheology of Cereal Grains and Cereal Food Products,” Dr. Hulya Dogan;

• “Carbohydrate Polymers — Technology and Product Innovation,” Dr. Yong-Cheng Shi;

• “Extrusion Processing — Research and Engagement for Addressing Nutritional Challenges Worldwide,” Dr. Sajid Alavi;

• “Stored-Product Pest Management Research: Past, Present and Future,” Dr. Subramanyam Bhadriraju;

• “Bioprocessing of Renewable Agricultural Resources: Current Research and Future Projects,” Dr. Praveen Vadlani; and

• “Bio-based Materials Derived from Grains and Plants,” Dr. Susan Sun.

The weekend festivities also included tours of the International Grains Program (IGP) Conference Center, Bioprocessing and Industrial Value Added Program (BIVAP) building, Hal Ross Flour Mill and the pilot flour mill and feed mill at Shellenberger Hall.

The celebration activities concluded the centennial events planned by the department. Plans are under way to release a commemorative DVD of all of the 2010 Centennial events, including the Centennial Lecture series, in the spring of 2011.