The second largest single private gift in the 104-year history of Missouri State University – in excess of $7 million – will provide almost unlimited opportunities to expand and transform the university’s William H. Darr School of Agriculture, according to Missouri State officials.
Local businessperson Leo Journagan and his family have committed to donate the family’s Douglas County ranch acreage and assets to the Missouri State Foundation. When completed, the gift will include more than 3,300 acres, as many as 1,000 head of cattle, equipment and other ranch facilities. The total value of the gift is estimated to be more than $7 million.
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The ranch is located about 10 miles south of the university’s Mountain Grove Campus. While the university will have access to the ranch immediately, the official transfer of property and other assets will occur over several years during Leo Journagan’s lifetime, and then be completed as part of his estate. The first part of the gift was completed in December with the transfer of 243 registered Hereford cows from what is considered to be among the top 15 Hereford herds in the country, according to Craig Huffhines, executive vice president of the American Hereford Association. And with this transfer, Missouri State now has the largest Hereford herd in the country that is associated with a university.
“This is a tremendous gift – far and away the second largest in our history – that will benefit the Darr School of Agriculture and the future generations of students who study agriculture at Missouri State,” said Missouri State President Michael T. Nietzel. “Given the diverse nature of the Journagan Ranch, with its variety of terrains, water sources, forestation, wildlife and livestock, it can serve as a living, breathing laboratory for many agriculture educational initiatives and research projects.”
[videoUrl url=”https://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/FeedEnclosure/missouristate.edu.1924989065.01924989068.3332732439/cjb226%40SGF/004b756fa251ef7e5afd6679c279b7003c1981cfe363d57a071ca8a1121c32b6e039cd7b14.mp4″]On Dec. 1, 2009, the School of Agriculture was named for William H. Darr in recognition of his long-time support of both the university and the agriculture program. The largest gift commitment to the university was $30 million made in 2006 by John Q. Hammons to help fund the $67 million JQH Arena.
“It has been quite a couple of months for those of us in the William H. Darr School of Agriculture, I can tell you that,” said Dr. Anson Elliott, head of the school. “We are so appreciate of Mr. Journagan and his family for their generosity. Until you have been there, is it really hard to grasp the size and scope of this ranch. To give you some idea, it is seven miles long from north to south, and it includes hills and valleys having springs and streams that are noted in south-central Missouri.
“Over the next several years, the ranch will allow us to develop even more comprehensive programs in animal science, conservation, soils and plant science. We expect that the addition of the ranch will improve our capacity to compete for external grants and contracts. And, of course, the programs on the Journagan Ranch will be coordinated with the work already being done at the Darr Agricultural Center in Springfield and the Research Campus in Mountain Grove.”
The Journagan gift will be part of the university’s $125 million comprehensive campaign. With this gift, more than $110 million has now been received or committed to the campaign.
The Journagan Construction Company has supported Missouri State for many years. The company and the Journagan family have supported Ozarks Public Television, KSMU, intercollegiate athletics and the Darr Ag Center.
“The Journagan family is pleased and excited to be working in this partnership with Missouri State University and its Darr School of Agriculture,” said Allen Journagan on behalf of the family. “We are most pleased to know that Leo’s gift of his ranch, which has required 45 years to build, will continue to provide meaningful service to the agricultural community of Missouri and the generations of students which will benefit from the programs and projects that will grow there.”