“Dr. Vogel clearly brought great recognition to Washington State University and throughout our world,” WSU President Elson S. Floyd told an audience of more than 100 at the naming ceremony of the Orville A. Vogel Plant Biosciences Building on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007.
“As a USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist and a faculty member here at our university, Dr. Vogel demonstrated the close collaboration between Washington State University and the USDA in serving the wheat industry of the Pacific Northwest,” Floyd continued.
“His discoveries had a profound impact in addressing world hunger and stimulating unprecedented economic growth in developing countries. Our nation recognized the importance of his work by honoring him with the President’s National Medal of Science in 1975. We are proud of the work of Dr. Vogel. We are proud that he earned his doctoral degree in agronomy here at Washington State University in 1939. And we are proud that his family continues to be part of this remarkable place.”
Vogel served as a USDA Agriculture Research Service scientist and a WSU faculty member from 1931 to 1972. He and his wheat breeding team developed the first commercial semi-dwarf wheat varieties and complementary production systems in the Pacific Northwest. His work with dwarf wheat varieties is widely recognized for laying the foundation for the Green Revolution in developing countries.
“We appreciate the strong partnership ARS has with WSU,” said Andrew Hammond, USDA-ARS associate area director for the Pacific West Area. “The naming of this building in honor of a USDA scientist underscores the historical strength of that partnership here.”
“Orville was much more than a world-renown plant scientist,” recalled Bob Allan, a retired USDA-ARS wheat geneticist who was hired by Vogel 50 years ago. “He was a great ordinary guy. He mentored literally hundreds of young men in his Farmhouse Fraternity.”
He concluded, “I wish great success to those of you conducting research in this building. May your research really make a difference like that of Orville Vogel’s. And to your graduate students seeking advanced degrees from WSU, perhaps someday, like Dr. Orville Vogel, you too will win the National Medal of Science.”
The $39 million Vogel building, completed in 2005, houses the research programs of scientists from four departments in CAHNRS and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service as well as the plant transformation core laboratory of the Center for Integrated Biotechnology.