Recent endowment supports ISU’s study of agricultural cooperatives
The study of agricultural cooperatives at Iowa State University has received substantial support through a new $70,000 endowment.
The Barbara and Thomas Lyon Scholarship for the Study of Agricultural Cooperatives will provide funding annually for a graduate student interested in pursuing a career in agricultural cooperative business enterprise through study in the Department of Economics at ISU.
ISU alumnus and donor Thomas Lyon (pictured left with wife Barbara) said the gift attempts to "stimulate training in cooperative business."
Dairy industry cooperatives have been the focus of Lyon’s career, as the retired CEO of Cooperative Resources International in Shawano, Wisconsin. His contributions to the industry have received acclaim both nationally and within Wisconsin, as an inductee of the National Cooperative Business Hall of Fame, and the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame, where he is the only cooperative business person included.
"I have dedicated my professional career to co-ops, and was raised with the strong belief that cooperative enterprises in agriculture are a way for farmers to invest in their intelligent best interests," he said. "Cooperatives are as pure a form of capitalism as you can envision."
Keri Jacobs, assistant professor and agricultural cooperative specialist with the Department of Economics at ISU, said that “the cooperative form continues to be an important component of the national agricultural economy, and cooperatives here in Iowa are integral to the functioning of the state’s ag sector.
“The value of this type of support from the Lyon’s derives from its provision of training for future cooperative leaders, and economists who understand the unique needs of agricultural cooperatives," she said. "This will help us to create a unique research and learning opportunity for our graduate students in the economics of agricultural cooperatives."
Lyon, a 1962 graduate of Iowa State University, grew up on a registered dairy farm in Toledo, Iowa, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in dairy science. "Three generations of Lyons are ISU grads,” he said. "My father taught me not to forget the people who helped you along the way. I think the modest success of our family is, in part, owed to ISU and its professors."