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Funding is earmarked for the William H. Darr Agricultural Center.
Photo provided by Missouri State University
Funding is earmarked for the William H. Darr Agricultural Center.

Darr donates $6.5M to MSU

Posted online

Last edited 2:56 p.m., Dec. 10, 2019

Southwest Missouri businessman Bill Darr made a $6.5 million donation to improve the Missouri State University agricultural college and campus that bears his name.

The donation from Darr and the Darr Family Foundation is earmarked for the construction of two buildings at the Darr Agricultural Center on South Kansas Expressway. One would house a Springfield Public Schools magnet school and the other would serve as a companion animal education facility for the William H. Darr College of Agriculture, according to a news release.

“The addition of an agriculture magnet school is an important part of a broader effort to enhance workforce development by ensuring our students are better prepared for a variety of college and career opportunities,” SPS Superintendent John Jungmann said in the release.

The new magnet school, expected to start classes in fall 2021, would serve roughly 150 elementary students.

Darr College of Agriculture Dean Ronald Del Vecchio said the new animal center would allow the university to expand small animal education.

“The facility will also provide the only fully equipped teaching laboratory at the Darr Agricultural Center,” Del Vecchio said in the release.

The donation is part of MSU’s recently announced Onward, Upward fundraiser, a $250 million capital campaign. Brent Dunn, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the MSU Foundation, said the total is now at more than $165 million.

Darr recently completed the sale of his American Dehydrated Foods and International Dehydrated Foods businesses to Germany-based Symrise AG for $900 million.

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