Vincennes University, Purdue University 60-plus-year agriculture partnership celebrated during alumni event

Vincennes University, Purdue University 60-plus-year agriculture partnership celebrated during alumni event

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March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020 / Vincennes University, Purdue University 60-plus-year agriculture partnership celebrated during alumni event

Knox County Purdue University Ag Alumni Spring Meeting

VINCENNES, Ind. – Purdue University and Vincennes University celebrated a partnership that spans more than 60 years during the Knox County Purdue University Ag Alumni Spring Meeting on March 10.

Around 75 people attended the event at VU’s new Agricultural Center. VU President Chuck Johnson and Karen Plaut, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, were keynote speakers.

The articulation agreement between VU and Purdue begins with agriculture students earning an associate of science degree from VU, then transferring as juniors to Purdue to earn a bachelor’s degree. The union of the two universities began with agriculture in 1957 and has since expanded to other areas, including engineering, tourism and hospitality.

“We get top-notch students from VU,” Plaut said. “For students who want to go to Purdue, coming to VU gives them a chance to experience higher education in a more intimate setting, and then they can go to Purdue and get a wider breadth of experience.”

Purdue’s Ag program is one of the best in the world. It is the No. 6 agriculture program in the United States and No. 12 in the world, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (2019).

The alumni gathering was held just north of Vincennes in the Agricultural Center that houses the University’s VU/PU Agriculture, Horticulture, Agribusiness, and John Deere Tech, and Precision Agriculture programs as well as Purdue’s Food Safety Training hub. A stone’s throw away from the modern and stunning building is the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center research complex.

“The fact that we share facilities and share people is something really special,” Plaut said. “Our partnership is the longest partnership of any in the Ag school. It’s really fantastic to have that long-term partnership. We’re going to continue to grow the partnership. We have talked about how we can strengthen our partnership and how we can really push opportunities forward.

“There are a number of people in the room who started at VU, then went to Purdue. We’re really proud of those graduates. A staff member just met with an alum in Arizona who started with the VU program, so they’re really across the world doing great things.”

The collaboration between VU and Purdue is also essential to Indiana and the state’s agriculture industry.

“I’m proud to say the relationship continues to be very strong,” Johnson said. “We’re very pleased and we’ve heard from our partners at Purdue that they’re wanting to help us continue to build a rich pipeline here.”

VU and Purdue are heavily intertwined in agriculture within Knox County and surrounding areas as evidenced by the alumni who attended the event. An estimated 70 percent attended both VU and Purdue.

Drew Garretson of Vincennes is one of those of alums. Garretson, who is employed as a U.S. E-Business Field Team Lead at Land O'Lakes, Inc., was a student in VU’s two-year agriculture program before graduating from Purdue in 2005.

“I knew I wanted to study Ag and my plan all along was to work my way toward a chance to attend Purdue via VU because it was better for me in terms of classroom size,” he said. “I needed a smaller classroom to help me dial in to some of the basic core submits like chemistry, math and biology. The experience at VU is an experience that you can find who you are, and you can really lean into the staff to help you sharpen your strengths and weaknesses.”

At VU, the next generation of farmers and agriculture professionals are being exposed to cutting-edge curriculum. They’re preparing in the classrooms and the fields on how to meet consumers’ changing needs, address environmental challenges, and adapt to the technological changes that are transforming the industry. Students are learning innovative farming solutions such as hydroponics, which is growing plants without soil and instead utilizing sand, gravel, or liquid. Students are also gaining knowledge on how to use and maintain the latest technology, including drones. VU has also introduced an Urban Agriculture Concentration. The program teaches students about agriculture which takes the form of backyard, roof-top, and balcony gardening, community gardening, roadside urban fringe agriculture, and livestock grazing in open space.

Learn more about Vincennes University’s Agriculture programs.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. VU offers online degrees and classes to students who need access to college courses and flexibility through its Distance Education.

A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,