College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Kicks off Fall Semester

Gerald Powell

Hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, chips, dip, and fellowship are staples of any Labor Day—this is true, but these were also staples of the IAA (Institute of Applied Agriculture) picnic and semester kickoff. IAA faculty, staff and students celebrated and socialized as they ruminated and discussed the achievements and bright future of the institution with well-portioned food, drink, and sumptuous desserts.

Business Services Specialist Carole Dingess graced the group with her cupcakes, while Director Glori Hyman’s pesto was a winner in the condiment department. Lecturer Ken Ingram labored in 92-degree weather over a scorching grill, risking life and limb in an effort to satisfy the anxious and hungry mob ready to grill him if the burgers and hot dogs were not cooked adequately.

All kidding aside, the picnic was yet another expression of community, friendship, and fellowship that permeate the department from director to students. The casual environment served as an icebreaker for some, especially the new students and faculty. Students had the opportunity to connect with faculty members to discuss their hopes for the semester as well their career goals, while the faculty had the opportunity to share their latest research and projects. Since the IAA prides itself on hands-on experience, the relationship between students and faculty is one that is active, personable, and immersive.

In addition to the professional goals and partnerships forged and anticipated, the picnic served as an excellent opportunity to reconnect old ties, discuss the future of the department, and to hit up the Good Doctor Kevin Mathias for Big Ten football tickets. The only thing missing from the picnic was live entertainment, but with the personalities and characters in the department (i.e., Tony Pagnotti, Eric Dunning, JoEllen Barnhart, and Ed Priola), there was no dearth of humor; however, I am curious to know, if the picnic was held at a local pub who would be first to sign up for karaoke? 

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