It is part alumni reunion and part recruiting drive. The annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry drew over 1500 to the State Fairgrounds on Saturday. Since 1949, alumni from the Purdue College of Agriculture have been gathering for a fish fry. Ag Alumni Executive Director Donya Lester said the event does more than just bring old classmates together, “Today people come to this event to learn about everything we do at Purdue not just about the Ag Alumni Association.”
The event drew top state leaders including Governor Pence and Lt Governor Ellspermann. In his remarks, Pence promised to make agriculture education a key part of the state’s educational curriculum, “We will be the first state in America to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school, and agriculture will be at the center of that enterprise I assure you.”
Lester said the Ag Alumni Association goes one step further and provides mentors to ag students to inspire the ag leaders of tomorrow, “We have ag alumni who are CEOs of companies all over the US who are willing and excited to be mentors to our students.” She said sharing the Purdue experience is a key part of what happens when students and alumni get together. Don Villwock, President of Indiana Farm Bureau, told HAT that the Fish Fry brings together the ag leaders of the past and present with the leaders of tomorrow, “Purdue not only teaches academics, but it teaches leadership and pride in our industry and our communities.”
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann shared with HAT that the Fish Fry is a key element in transferring the agricultural experience of the past to the next generation of ag leaders.