News Service


Murray Blackwelder, Vice President for External Affairs, (515) 294-7730
Bryan Burkhardt, President, Government of the Student Body, (515) 294-1585
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137
Karen Bolluyt, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-3701


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University students will kick off a new academic year and a university celebration of George Washington Carver with a free performance by comedian Bill Cosby.

Cosby will appear at Stephens Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 30. Cosby will perform a free comedy show for Iowa State students in the evening and a show for the general public earlier in the day, for which tickets will be sold. Ticket information for the afternoon Cosby performance will be announced in June.

The Cosby event will kick off the 1998-99 academic year and will be followed by a year-long celebration of the legacy of George Washington Carver. The celebration, titled "Inspiring Students to Become Their Best -- The Legacy of George Washington Carver," "will shape many university events and outreach activities, and will include a multicultural exhibit and performance series," said Murray Blackwelder, vice president for external affairs.

These Carver events and activities include a lecture series, a Carver display tour of Iowa and a Carver theme for the ISU College of Agriculture's Iowa State Fair booth.

ISU's College of Agriculture also will be in the spotlight during the year, as Carver received his bachelor of agriculture degree in 1894 and his master of agriculture degree in 1896 from ISU. Carver was the first African American to enroll at Iowa State in 1891, was the first African American to earn a degree from the school and spent a year as ISU's first African-American faculty member. He went on to become an acclaimed scientist at Tuskegee University, creating many uses for peanuts, pecans and sweet potatoes, and helping Southern farmers be more productive and profitable.

The ISU administration worked closely with the ISU Government of the Student Body (GSB) and the Committee on Lectures in bringing Cosby to campus to do a free show for ISU students. Bryan Burkhardt, 1998-99 GSB president, will serve on a committee involved in further developing the Carver celebration.

"I believe this theme serves as a wonderful challenge for students. It encourages us to strive to be our best as individuals and as a campus community. The combination of entertainment, art and academic events planned for next year will provide excellent opportunities for students and will help celebrate the contributions George Washington Carver made at Iowa State and elsewhere," said Burkhardt.

Agriculture Dean David Topel said Carver's legacy adds extra meaning to current programs that emphasize adding value in Iowa agriculture.

"George Washington Carver was a creative leader. Through teaching and research, he contributed to the science and technology of value-added agriculture and the importance of good stewardship of natural resources. It's a pleasure to participate in celebrating his life and accomplishments," Topel said.

Members of the university community interested in serving on the committee developing the 1998-99 Carver celebration should contact Blackwelder.


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