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University of Wyoming Foundation

Donor Stories

A Very Fine Faculty and Students

A Very Fine Faculty & Students

A university is only as strong as its people.

Dr. Andrew Vanvig knows the importance of attracting quality undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty to the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He was head of the Agricultural Economics department for 25 years and a faculty member for 34 years.

What better way to attract the cream of the crop than to reward excellence? Dr. Vanvig and his wife Connie did just that when they set up three endowments, and friends and colleagues also made significant contributions to support these endowments:

• the Andrew and Connie Vanvig Scholarship that benefits undergraduates majoring in agricultural economics,

• the Andrew and Connie Vanvig Graduate Fellowship that rewards outstanding achievement inside and outside the ag econ classroom, and

• the Andrew Vanvig Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award that goes to a tenured or active retired faculty member who demonstrates continued dedication to students and research.

“We’re pleased to be able to do that,” says Dr. Vanvig. “We think investment in the university is a good investment. It seemed like a win-win situation, not only for the students receiving the scholarship but also the college and the university. It may make the difference between people going to college or not, if they’re able to get a scholarship. Education is very important.”

Sam Cordes, former department head, had the original idea for the undergraduate scholarship, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was Dean Frank Galey’s idea. “It was a good idea,” says Dr. Vanvig.

His time at UW was very fruitful, for which he commends his “very fine faculty.” During his tenure, the number of students within the ag econ department grew from 11 to 145. One of his advisees was Dick Taggart, who manages the budget of Weyerhaeuser Co., a Fortune 200 company with annual sales of $22 billion.

“I was very pleased to learn that Dr. Vanvig was going to be recognized in this year’s Endowment and Facilities Report,” says Taggart. “Forty-five years ago, Dr. Vanvig was my graduate advisor. His quiet encouragement and patient guidance led me to the courses and research that provided the foundation for my future career. For someone pursing a graduate degree in ag economics who did not have an agricultural background, I could not have had a better advisor.”

Dr. Vanvig’s contributions to agricultural economics include many professional and extension publications on his research on the statistics on farm and ranch finances and lending in Wyoming. He studied the land market and initiated an annual survey of real estate values that continues to this day. He has always been a staunch advocate for the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and extension, and his professional life reflects that dedication.

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