CSUB gets $5M gift from Grimmway Farms to create new agribusiness center

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Cal State Bakersfield is getting a new Grimm Family Center for Agricultural Business after receiving a $5 million donation from Grimmway Farms. 

The CSU Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the center during its meeting today. The endowment from Barbara Grimm-Marshall and Kari Grimm Anderson is the single largest gift in the history of CSU Bakersfield.

 The gift coincides with the 50th anniversary of Grimmway Farms and honors the legacy of the company’s founders, Rod and Bob Grimm. She said the gift was the result of a family conversation focused on how to thank the region. 

“The Grimm family believes that lives are transformed through education, and that certainly applies to agricultural education,” Grimm-Marshall said. “Ever-evolving technologies and more sophisticated business practices mean that students who wish to pursue a career in agriculture must spend as much time in the classroom as in the field. The center will allow students to work with the best minds in agribusiness today to secure our region’s position as a pioneer and global leader in the industry that has created opportunity and prosperity for so many.” 

The university said the new center will give CSUB’s agribusiness students the chance to get hands-on experience in the field and work with agribusiness experts.

 It will be operated by an executive director who will create a strategic plan for the center and build up a network of professionals and experts to oversee the development of curriculum, events, programs, scholarships and more. 

In remarks at the board meeting in Long Beach, CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny Bakersfield said the new center will revolutionize the study of agriculture in the top crop-producing region of the nation. 

“The Grimm Family Center for Agricultural Business represents a transformative opportunity for CSU Bakersfield students, our local workforce, economy and the very future of farming,” she said. “With their $5 million, three-year pledge, Barbara and Kari will allow CSU Bakersfield to offer a world-class agribusiness education to thousands of Valley families who have worked the land through the generations, as well as students from all over the country, who will be eager to take advantage of this opportunity, found only at CSUB.” 

The university said the new center will be housed in an existing building on campus.

At this point, there is no plan to construct a building. It will be housed in existing space. CSUB is expected to appoint key personnel to lead the new center by Aug. 31. There’s no word yet on when the center would be ready for students.

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