Monday, January 9, 2023
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Jami McAnulty was at her church youth group like any other Wednesday night when she saw a handsome boy from Jenks, Oklahoma, walk in.
“He was more of a city kid, and we were all just some young country kids,” she said.
The first time the then 12-year-old girl saw John Longacre, her now husband of 27 years, they were in the sanctuary at the Kellyville First Baptist Church.
“When I saw her, I just thought, ‘Whoa,’” John Longacre said.
At the time, he thought his future wife thought that about him, too, he said — and he was right.
“He was so handsome and cute,” Jami McAnulty Longacre said. “He was dressed so nice, and he was just different from the rest of us.”
Since those early years, the two have built a family, successful careers and a shared love for Oklahoma State University and the Ferguson College of Agriculture, Jami Longacre said.
The two come from hard-working families where they were taught if you want things in life, you have to work for them, Jami Longacre added.
After high school, the two attended OSU from 1988 to 1992: Jami Longacre majored in agricultural economics while John Longacre majored in animal science.
During Jami Longacre’s time at OSU, she served as the 1992 agricultural legislative intern, an experience that forever changed her life.
“If I had not done the legislative internship and been exposed to policy and the capitol, I don’t know what I would be doing today,” said Jami Longacre, president of Longacre Inc., which is a legislative consulting firm. “As soon as I finished up that internship, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to be.”
John Longacre, president of Crown Auto World Bristow, said his time spent at OSU was the best four years of his life where he made friends and learned many life lessons.
The pair have been OSU fans and big supporters of the university and the Ferguson College of Agriculture ever since, said Heidi Williams, associate vice president of constituent development for the OSU Foundation.
“When I first came to the OSU Foundation, the Longacres were really engaged alumni,” Williams said. “I could just tell they were movers and shakers and knew everyone to know in the agricultural world.
“Through introductions, they opened doors to other alumni and donors,” she added.
The couple has supported OSU and the college through scholarships, organizations and volunteering. However, their most recent support has been to the New Frontiers campaign.
“They’re part of an overall campaign effort we had to raise $50 million for the new building for the college,” Williams said. “That was about half the cost at the time, so their support has really helped.”
The Longacres knew from the beginning they wanted to be a part of the New Frontiers project for many different reasons, Jami Longacre said.
“Obviously, we wanted to be a part of the entire project,” Jami Longacre said. “From our vantage point, when you look back at all the things OSU and the Ferguson College of Agriculture have done for us, it just felt extremely natural to be able to give back.”
Jami Longacre said they would not be where they are today if not for their experiences at OSU and what is now the Ferguson College of Agriculture.
Williams said the Longacres have named two spaces in the academic programs office in the new building to help students be successful.
“It’s a big deal,” John Longacre said, “but that wasn’t our motivation or even a consideration for us when deciding to donate.”
While the Ferguson College of Agriculture is getting a “much-needed” renewal, Williams said the upgrade is more than just a fancy new building.
“It’s really about designing these spaces that change the way we teach and how students learn,” Williams said. “There are going to be lots of flexible classrooms and gathering spaces that students can utilize.”
The Longacres are one of the youngest couples to donate and the only couple to have both given and have a child who will get to use the building as a student, Williams said.
Turner Longacre, the couple’s 18-year-old son, will graduate from Bristow High School in Spring 2023. He plans to join the Ferguson College of Agriculture family in Fall 2023 as an animal science student.
“After I get my bachelor’s from OSU, I plan to get my master’s in reproductive physiology, then attend the veterinary school at OSU,” Turner Longacre said. “When I get out of school, I want to be a reproductive specialist for cattle.”
Turner said he is excited to start at OSU in the fall. His parents could not be more excited about his decision.
“I’m over the moon and cannot wait,” she said. “It was the best time of our lives, and the fact that he’s going to get to experience all the same things like we did — and experience all of the newness and innovations from the new building — just thrills us.”
The Longacres also have a long family tradition of graduates from OSU and the Ferguson College of Agriculture.
“We all share the same orange tradition,” she said. “It’s a family thing for us to give to Oklahoma State, and it’s more of a family thing for us to give to the Ferguson College of Agriculture.”
The Longacres hope to start another living family tradition for their son and many generations to come.
“You need to invest in things that mean the most to you, have helped you the most in life, and you feel the most passionate about,” Jami Longacre added. “For our family, the passion has been Oklahoma State and the Ferguson College of Agriculture.”
New building. New update.
The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall is set to be finished and ready for students in Fall 2024.
As of October 2022, construction workers poured the remainder of the concrete foundation for the entire first floor of the new building. They continue to work on building the three floors in sections.
The new building is designed to occupy 1,960 people in its three above-ground floors and includes a Dairy Bar, a dining option for students and a nod to the original Dairy Bar, which closed in 2006.
- three 32-seat classrooms
- three 48-seat classrooms
- one 72-seat classroom
- one 175-seat tiered lecture hall
- three curriculum-specific and shared teaching and computer labs
- four growth rooms
- seven growth chambers
- numerous shared freezers
- dedicated sample preparation and grinding spaces
- 25,855 sq. ft. of new research lab space
- 10 club and study rooms
- 11 conference rooms
- 19 huddle rooms
- 119 faculty offices
- five double postdoc offices
- 237 graduate student spaces
Story By: Savannah Hopkins | Cowboy Journal