New research center dedicated in Georgetown


To view, the special video screened at the dedication, click here.

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3:55 p.m., May 2, 2006--The University of Delaware's presence in southern Delaware was greatly enhanced on Monday, May 1, with the dedication of The Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.

Nearly 300 guests attended the dedication of the $7.6 million research center, including elected officials, lawmakers, UD administrators and staff, members of the Carvel family and members of the agriculture community.

The Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center honors the former governor and his wife and their legacy of giving to the community, the state and the University of Delaware.

UD President David P. Roselle welcomed attendees and program speakers, including Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, Howard E. Cosgrove, chairman of UD's Board of Trustees, Robin W. Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Carvels' granddaughter, Beatrice Saviola Wheeler.

Roselle also praised the Carvels for their generous gift of $2 million toward the building of a “greatly needed research and educational facility in southern Delaware.

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown. are (from left): Robin W. Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Beatrice Saviola Wheeler, granddaughter of Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel; UD Board Chairman Howard E. Cosgrove; Gov. Ruth Ann Minner; state Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr.; and UD President David P. Roselle.
“There are numerous reasons to celebrate today. The most important, however, is to remember two individuals, Ann and Bert Carvel, whose lifelong commitment to both private enterprise and entrepreneurship combined with public service and philanthropy, significantly improved the quality of life for all Delawareans,” Roselle said. “The Carvels' generous contribution paved the way for making the center a reality, and we are indebted to their legacy.”


The 24,000-square-foot facility, located adjacent to Lasher Laboratory on the north side of Route 9, serves as the central office building and meeting facility for UD in Georgetown, and also is used by Sussex County Cooperative Extension, 4-H, state Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, among other programs. Lasher Lab houses facilities dedicated to poultry health research, weed research and soil and environmental studies.

Roselle said that the completion of such a facility in Sussex County was a great way to pay tribute to a man whose public service career included a term as lieutenant governor and two terms as governor, from 1949-53 and 1961-65.

A video presentation highlighted some of the accomplishments during the former governor's tenures in office, including the building of the first span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the development of many roads and highways, the establishment of the Public Service Commission and the initiation of the State Development Department. Carvel also served on UD's Board of Trustees from 1945-1985 and served as vice-chairman from 1972-85.

In the video, State Senator Thurmond Adams, who was instrumental in providing $4 million in state funding for the new research facility, said that he was happy that Gov. Carvel was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 29, 2004, and that he would have been very proud to have seen the completion of the facility.

Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted that Carvel was indeed able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony and that much had happened in the lives of the Carvel family since then.

“Sadly, Gov. Carvel passed away on Feb. 6, 2005, and his wife Ann Hall Valliant Carvel, died later in the year on Oct. 24,” Morgan said. “We wish that they could have seen this fabulous facility.”

Morgan said that the Carvel Research and Education Center reflects UD's commitment to the agriculture community and the people of southern Delaware.

A portrait of the Carvels, painted by Kelly McConnell Cox, hangs in the newly dedicated building.
“UD is a many-faceted university, and yet it remains grounded in its Land Grant roots,” Morgan said. “We believe in providing access to affordable education and in discovering knowledge that meets the needs of the people.”


The Carvels' association with UD also included the Carvel Scholarships, which resulted from a fund-raising effort personally endorsed by Gov. Carvel, Morgan said.

“In the 20 years since the Carvel scholarships were established in 1986, 76 students have held them,” Morgan said. “Currently, 26 students are Carvel Scholars, and many of them are with us today.”

While Bert and Ann Carvel did not live to see the formal dedication of the building, their presence will remain in a portrait of the couple painted by UD alumna Kelly McConnell Cox, that will hang in the lobby.

Morgan also praised the efforts of individuals involved in the planning and construction project, including Mark Isaacs, assistant professor of plant and soil science and director of the Carvel Research and Education Center, and Scott Davis, superintendent from Nason Construction. Also recognized were Alvin French, of French and Ryan, architects for the project, and a UD Facilities Planning and Construction group assigned to the project that included Marge McDermott, Penny Person, Gino Sinovich and Larry McGuire.

The greatest legacy of the former governor is perhaps the example he set for others to follow, she said. “Gov. Carvel gave his life to public service,” Morgan said. “Today we dedicate this building to his memory. Let us follow his lead and build its future on the principle and practice of serving others.”

Delaware's current governor said that despite the passing of Bert and Ann Carvel last year, their presence and generous spirit will be felt by Delawareans for many generations. “Today's dedication is a fitting tribute to a family that has been so important in the history of our state,” Minner said. “This building is another example of how the Carvels continue to improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.”

Beatrice Saviola Wheeler
Minner also said the Carvels' generosity would continue to foster the efforts of UD researchers in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, including nutrient-management concerns and animal diseases.


“I know that the ongoing work conducted here at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Education Center will make a positive impact on our agriculture industry and on our state as a whole,” Minner said. “What more can you ask for than to have it all in one facility.”

Saviola Wheeler, a Carvel Scholarship student who graduated magna cum laude in animal sciences at UD in 1991, also expressed the belief that both her grandparents would be pleased to see the research facility being dedicated in their honor.

“My grandparents would be proud to see this building,” Saviola Wheeler said. “My grandfather was a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kind of guy, and he believed that a quality education was not the right of a privileged few, but should be part of a network of public universities.”

Saviola Wheeler, who earned her doctorate form Johns Hopkins University in 1997, is an assistant professor of microbiology at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., and is widely recognized for her work on tuberculosis and its causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In describing her grandmother as the daughter of a fertilizer merchant who grew up in Centreville, Md., Saviola Wheeler said that Ann Carvel would be happy to see that the generosity of her family would help preserve a way of life that is vanishing on the Delmarva Peninsula.

“She would want to aid in preserving and enhancing our agricultural tradition in Delaware,” Saviola Wheeler said. “It would be very satisfying to both my grandparents to know that their contributions would help advance education and research in the agricultural community.”

Cosgrove said that the center dedication of the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center reflected the Carvels' commitment to improving the quality of life for all Delawareans.

Members of the Carvel family at the dedication (from left): Drew Palmer, Heather Palmer, Betty Palmer, Barbara Carvel-Krahn, Beatrice Saviola Wheeler and Dylan Palmer
“The Carvels' generous contribution paved the way for making the center a reality, and we are indebted to their legacy,” Cosgrove said. “Bert and Ann Carvel together had a stand in the community and the state as generous benefactors and today we add yet another legacy of the Carvel name.”


The dedication program concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception and tour of the new facilities.

For more information on the dedication, as well as the community programs and research activities at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, visit [].

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Jon Cox and Kathy F. Atkinson





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