UD breaks ground for new agriculture and extension center


Architect’s rendering of the new Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown
7:37 p.m., Oct. 29, 2004--Former Delaware Gov. Elbert N. Carvel and members of his family joined UD administrators and Delaware elected officials at an Oct. 29 groundbreaking ceremony for the new Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.  

UD President David P. Roselle welcomed program speakers, including Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, UD Board Chairman Howard E. Cosgrove, Robin W. Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and state Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr.

"There are numerous reasons to celebrate today, but probably the most important is to honor two individuals, Ann and Bert Carvel, whose lifelong commitment to both private enterprise and entrepreneurship, combined with public service and philanthropy, has significantly improved the quality of life for all Delawareans," Roselle, said.

"Bert Carvel has a whole lifetime of experience in giving to the community, and now, he and Ann are making a gift to the entire state of Delaware—yet another legacy of the Carvel name,” he said.

UD Board Chairman Howard E. Cosgrove, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, former Delaware Gov. Elbert N. Carvel, state Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr., UD President David P. Roselle and Robin W. Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, break ground for the new Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.
The groundbreaking followed the Aug. 11 announcement of a $2 million gift from the former governor and his wife toward the building of the state-of-the-art facility on Rt. 9 just north of Georgetown. UD also has received $2 million from state lawmakers towards construction of the $7.6 million facility.


To be located adjacent to Lasher Laboratory, the new 24,000-square-foot Carvel Center will replace a 65-year-old facility, which currently houses a variety of academic and community programs.

The new building will feature meeting rooms, an interactive television system and offices for Sussex County Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners, 4-H, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and also will house graduate students and research associates.

Adams, who was instrumental in providing state funding for the new research center, noted the contributions of the Carvel family and the UD Research and Education Center to Sussex County and the state.

U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle
"This is a special day when we come here to honor special people like Bert and Ann Carvel," Adams said. "The new Carvel Research and Education Center will be here for a long time and will serve to remind us of the special contributions of Bert and Ann Carvel and the University of Delaware."


Researchers at Lasher Lab and the new Carvel Center will continue to develop, evaluate and refine the latest technologies and methodologies in poultry and vegetable crop production, agronomy, water quality and pest, nutrient and irrigation management, Adams said.

During the avian flu (H7 influenza) problem last winter, UD scientists were instrumental in testing chickens from more than 2,300 farms within days after it was discovered that a flock owned by an independent Harrington-area producer was infected with the H7 influenza. The majority of the tests were done at Lasher Lab under the leadership of Mariano Salem, director of UD’s Poultry Diagnostic Center.

UD Board Chairman Howard E. Cosgrove
Minner recalled the round-the-clock testing of commercial flocks and disposal of infected birds by the center that helped avert a crisis that had the potential to economically devastate Delmarva’s $1.5 billion broiler industry.


"People across the state know what the University does, because UD is out there working in the community," Minner said. “UD has a tremendous impact, not just on the farmers, but on their children, encouraging them to remain in agriculture."

Minner also noted the reputation that UD garnered among officials and scientists from neighboring states because of its rapid response to the avian flu crisis.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner
"The people from the University were the first ones to call us and ask us what they could do, and they were the last ones to call us and tell us that the work was completed," Minner said. "The University of Delaware made the difference."


The Research and Education Center, which houses 60 UD employees, also plays an important role in addressing youth, family and community needs as home of the Sussex County office of UD’s Cooperative Extension. Among the programs offered by Extension are food safety and nutrition workshops, 4-H clubs and activities, including summer camp programs, home horticulture and environment classes, financial management seminars and a variety of programs for at-risk families and youth.

"The people who work here are expected to do just about everything," Morgan said. "Every day, they are called upon to teach and answer phone calls and e-mail, to assist the elderly and help the young. They not only work in the community, they are part of the community."

State Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr
One example of this community involvement is the creation by Extension consumer science educators of the “Dining with Diabetes” program that addresses statistics showing that Sussex County has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation. Through a targeted nutritional program, the popular and effective class helps persons with diabetes better manage and control their disease.

Carvel began his career in Delaware politics in 1944 as lieutenant governor and served as governor from 1949-53 and 1961-65. Highlights of his tenures include the building of the first span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, developing numerous roads and highways, establishing the Public Service Commission and initiating the State Development Department. Carvel served on UD’s Board of Trustees from 1945-85 and was vice chairman from 1972-85.


"The generosity of the Carvel family is unbelievable," Castle said. "The new center will strengthen the connection between UD and Sussex County, the agriculture industry and the poultry industry."

After the remarks, members of the Carvel family and guests were invited by Cosgrove to witness the official groundbreaking.

Robin W. Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
"The Carvel center will reflect the character of the Carvels themselves and will provide the very things the Carvels have provided through their lifetimes," Cosgrove said. "They include service to the University; service to the state and region; serving as an agent for educational and research pursuits and support for researchers and scholars in the agribusiness community. What a truly wonderful legacy they have given us."


In addition to the Carvel family’s support and a $2 million-allocation from lawmakers, UD is seeking additional state and federal funding. For more information about donation opportunities, or to arrange a visit to the center, call Joe Bradley in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at (302) 831-2501 or e-mail [jbradley@udel.edu].

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Kathy Atkinson