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The Ag Trust Story
In 1998, Bob Salisbury, a local viticulturist in Sonoma County and member of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Board of Directors, and Linda Frank, former Executive Director of the SRJC Foundation, came to a staff meeting of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department with an idea for the department to form a committee to raise funds for the department.
Initially, there was some concern from the department because there were many student fundraisers held during the year that could be impacted by the new organization. Bob Salisbury explained that the new Ag Trust could consolidate all fundraisers for the department and guarantee funds annually to the student organizations and activities. This would allow more time for faculty and students to concentrate on their leadership and educational activities without having to spend countless hours fundraising throughout the year. After numerous meetings and discussions in the department, the department voted to proceed with the organization of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Ag Trust. On May 20, 1999, the SRJC Foundation Board of Directors passed a motion to establish the Ag Trust Committee to encourage and generate support and assist in promoting the agriculture/natural resources programs.
Warren G. Dutton became the founding chair and spearheaded a major fundraiser in 2000 that netted over $50,000 for student activities and departmental supplies for the year. The following year, in 2001, the Ag Trust held a second fundraiser honoring longtime viticulture instructor Richard L. Thomas. The funds that were raised produced the Richard L. Thomas classroom at Shone Farm. After the tragic passing of Warren G. Dutton, the Ag Trust held a successful Warren G. Dutton Tribute in 2003, netting over $500,000 for machinery and equipment for the Warren G. Dutton Agriculture Pavilion. In 2008, the Ag Trust hosted a fundraiser in honor of Steve Olson, retiring Dean of Career and Technical Education and Economic Development. In this capacity, Steve also served as Dean for the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, in addition to being a long-term faculty member in the department.
The current chair of the Ag Trust is Henry Beaumont. Access more information about the Ag Trust on the SRJC Foundation’s Ag Trust homepage.