New Frontiers donors support Oklahoma 4-H with named spaces in new building
Monday, July 24, 2023
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Oklahoma State University is known for America’s Brightest Orange, but there is another color prominent on the OSU campus. Green represents Oklahoma 4-H, which is delivered by OSU Extension to provide experiences where young people learn by doing.
The OSU Stillwater campus will be covered with green during the 102nd State 4-H Roundup on July 26-28. While on campus, 4-H members will see the soon-to-be new home for Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development and the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.
The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024, will include a dedicated 4-H office suite. Since the campaign launch to build a state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for OSU Agriculture, donors have supported New Frontiers and named spaces in the 4-H office suite.
“Listening to the various stories from our alumni expressing how 4-H impacted their lives is inspiring,” said Steve Beck, state 4-H program leader. “It is an honor to have so many of these alumni give back to Oklahoma 4-H through their generous contributions to the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall. We are very excited about the new home for Oklahoma 4-H and know the facility will serve many future generations of Oklahoma youth.”
Jered and Lindsey Davidson, Jim Rutledge, Greg and Dixie Thomas, and American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance saw the need to invest in New Frontiers and support Oklahoma 4-H.
Jered Davidson said New Frontiers represented a unique opportunity to support both the college that he and Lindsey are alumni of and provide a permanent physical space on campus for an organization that gave them so many opportunities.
Naming a staff office in the 4-H suite was a natural fit given their membership, history and shared connections to the Oklahoma 4-H program, which led them to OSU.
“There is not an aspect of our lives that the 4-H program has not impacted,” he said. “In fact, if it wasn’t for the 4-H State Club Congress, Lindsey and I would have never met. The 4-H program helped us explore the world around us, prepared us for leadership roles in the organization and our community, and provided life skills to succeed in our professions and raise our son, Duke.”
Although Rutledge did not grow up in Oklahoma or get his original degrees from OSU, he has made Oklahoma his home. His love for OSU and the 4-H program is evident in his desire to give back.
Rutledge has spent most of his life as either a member or a professional in 4-H, and like the Davidsons, it seemed only natural to support the 4-H suite in New Frontiers and name the state 4-H program leader office.
“I believe that leadership makes a difference in any organization and especially one that is essentially volunteer-driven,” he said. “After spending 15 years as a program leader in two states and being the executive director for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, I thought being a donor for the 4-H suite would be another way to help lead the way. 4-H has given me my livelihood, and I have been blessed with the means to help.”
Greg Thomas said contributing financially to New Frontiers was a way to help future students and make agriculture better, not just in Oklahoma but throughout the world.
“I felt that naming a room in the 4-H office would be a way to honor my wife, Dixie Shaw Thomas, and her sister, Gwen Shaw, for their successes as Alfalfa County 4-H Club members,” he said. “4-H was a very positive influence on both Dixie and Gwen, and they have continued to provide leadership to Oklahoma 4-H as adult leaders and volunteers with their time, effort and influence.”
Dixie Thomas said their family’s love for 4-H started early.
“Our parents saw the value of 4-H and how its impact could potentially change a person’s future,” she said. “With its many opportunities, 4-H certainly influenced my life from skills learned to scholarships and trips won, and best of all, from the friendships and memories made.”
As part of the American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance gift to New Frontiers, the organization named the workroom in the 4-H suite.
In addition, the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation directors and staff set out to raise funds for naming opportunities in the 4-H suite. Jerry and Julie Kiefer, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, John and Janice Grundmann along with son Josh, Burns & Stowers, P.C., and American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance helped the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation achieve their New Frontiers commitment.
The 4-H Foundation campaign resulted in naming opportunities for the 4-H Foundation director’s office and two staff offices.
Although the New Frontiers campaign reached its $50 million goal in record time, additional naming opportunities are available in various areas of the building, including the 4-H office suite itself.
Visit New Frontiers to learn more about getting involved in the campaign or for construction updates and donor stories.
The New Frontiers campaign was launched in January 2020 to build a new state-of-the-art facility for OSU Agriculture. The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, expected to open in fall 2024, further advances teaching, research and Extension efforts that are critical to the state’s economy, citizens’ safety and quality of life. By advancing OSU Agriculture and its programs, New Frontiers is fostering innovation to help feed the world.