From the UConn Foundation's Our Moment newsletter (September-October 2012)
Donald N. '54 and Gail MaynardDonald N. '54 and Gail Maynard have a long tradition of support for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, creating lectureships, scholarships and programs through their philanthropy. Through a new gift, they are now funding a student lounge in the remodeled W.B. Young Building.
The senior author of the world's most widely used vegetable production book, Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers, Maynard is also active in Florida's Sun Coast Chapter of the UConn Alumni Association (link), the recipient of a distinguished alumni award and, along with Gail--a University of Kentucky alumna--an avid UConn athletics fan.
In this 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created universities like UConn, Don Maynard says that agriculture is as significant than ever.
"Safe, successful agriculture is so important for the entire world," he says. "Locally, it boosts Connecticut's economy, and UConn plays a very large role in that. And globally, of course, food production and agriculture are vital for the welfare and lives of millions of people who don't have the luxuries we do."
The couple sees resurgence in interest about the field.
"I think people increasingly want 'real' food," adds Gail. "They want to get back to basics, knowing what they are eating and actually having a part in it. Providing the knowledge in a way that is available for the public is a perfect role for land-grant universities like UConn."
The Maynards' recent gift will support the creation of a new student lounge in the Young Building, which is undergoing a $15-million renovation to improve nearly every facet of the almost 60-year-old building and give it LEED-certified status as a "green" building in terms of energy use and environmental impact. The Maynards say that supporting the lounge space is a natural extension of their past gifts to create scholarships in the College.
"It's a cliché, but today's agriculture students are our future, and we feel that we have to do everything we can to support them," Don says. "Through the scholarship, we have had the chance to meet students who have benefited greatly from what is really a relatively small amount of money, and we still hear from several of them even after they're left UConn. "I hope the lounge becomes a place for students and faculty to meet, work and relax in a less-formal setting, share knowledge and information, and improve agriculture for all of us tomorrow."
By: John Sponauer '92 '10, UConn Foundation
To support the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, please contact the Foundation's development department.