Big Ten Alumni Reception

Capitol; photo courtesy of


More than 200 ag alumni from eight Big Ten schools gathered in Washington, D.C., on February 27 to work together for what Naomi Knaub, ’98 HHD, calls “the good of the land-grant mission.”

For the second consecutive year, alumni and deans from Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin met at the American Farm Bureau Building to network and become more aware of the ways they can support and advocate for the funding of land-grant institutions, said Knaub, who is the director of alumni relations. The event fosters relationships and “shows great institutional cooperation on many levels,” she adds.

Four Ag Advocate undergraduates also attended the reception and meetings with the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), which took place earlier in the day. CARET is a national grassroots organization that is a part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). During the meetings, CARET delegates discussed the current political climate and how to approach legislators about funding the land-grant university system given that climate, said Marissa Keys, a junior majoring in agroecology.

“We learned where some of the barriers of funding for land-grant institutions could be and how to overcome those barriers,” Keys said. “It was a really great opportunity.”

Matt Owens, ’93 Landscape Contracting, who has stayed highly involved with the college since leaving Penn State and works in the D.C. area, thought the reception was a huge success. He said he had a great time speaking with the four student representatives from Penn State and networking with alumni from around the country who worked in many different fields of the agricultural sciences.