ARS 50th Anniversary Celebrated in Corvallis, Oregon

Summary by Kim E. Hummer.

 On 3 November 2003, a reception was held in the Giustina Gallery of the LaSells Stewart Center, at Oregon State University, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). About 150 employees and former employees of the agency gathered to recognize the agency's birthday. Employees from the three units, the Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory (HCRL), the National Forage Seed Production Research Center (NSFPRC), and the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR) met and discussed the agency and past, present, and future research.


Two individuals who are now retired, Dr. Richard Converse (left, seated) and Dr. Mel Westwood (standing), began their federal careers in the 1950s. These scientists were the most senior employees present at Corvallis gathering. Dr. Converse began working in Plant Pathology with the Bureau of Plant Industry six months prior to the establishment of ARS. Dr. Westwood began working in the study of tree fruits under Dr. Magness at Prosser, Washington, shortly after ARS came into being.


For each of the subsequent decades, employees volunteered reminiscences of their first years of work with ARS. The stories finished with the newest Corvallis employee, Jack Peters, who had started his tour of duty at 8:00 a.m. that day of the reception.


Laura Schumacher, Yvonne Pedersen, Robert Linderman, Harry Lagerstedt.

Germplasm Repository staff, from left to right, Barbara Reed, Joseph Postman, Jack Peters, Nahla Bassil, Kim Hummer, Yvonne Pedersen, Joe Snead

Robert Martin and Joseph Postman

Gary Banowetz et al.

Bobbie McNichol in foreground.

Barbara Reed, Carolyn Paynter (seated) and Ann Davis(seated)
Reception scene. (Barbara Reed, Ioannis Tzanetakis, Al Haunold, and John Henning)

Janine de Paz receives spot award from Dr. Barbara Reed (on right).

A very enjoyable discussion was had by all in attendance at the reception. Present employees were greatly pleased to see old friends and colleagues who previously worked with them. The former employees were able to catch up on the present happenings. A photo and report of the event was published on the front page of the Capital Press (Salem, Oregon, weekly newspaper) on November 8, 2003, Golden Anniversary of ARS.

During the coming year each of the three research units will prepare a page summarizing the unit history including timelines and accomplishments. The units will also be hosting open houses this spring, summer and fall to encourage public awareness of 50 years of ARS.