The Old Dairy Barn at Kansas State University was re-named Oct. 5 to honor Glenn Beck, the university's dean and vice president of agriculture in the 1960s and early 1970s.
As a cornerstone to the University Gardens, the Glenn H. Beck Dairy Barn will soon feature complementary educational exhibits on the ground floor, while the hayloft will support the developing Kansas Agriculture Heritage Museum, said Thomas Warner, the department head for horticulture, forestry and recreational resources at K-State.
"It will be a very active building," Warner said. "Beck was a long time college leader and administrator intimately tied to dairy. It is appropriate and fitting to put his name on the barn for his contributions to K-State."
Although born in Utah, Beck was raised on a reclaimed desert irrigated livestock farm in Idaho. He studied dairy production, then referred to as dairy husbandry, at the University of Idaho.
"This was the best background I could have had," Beck said. "I grew up and worked with livestock since I was three years old." Working in the university dairy barn and living in a home-made sheep herder's camper on the edge of campus, Beck graduated in 1936 with a joint degree in dairy husbandry and vocational agricultural education.
"It was difficult going," Beck said. "My first job offer was a teaching position, but I could not pass up an invitation from the former dairy department head who moved to K-State to work in the research laboratories."
Beck arrived at K-State Aug. 15, 1936.
"My first impression of Kansas was during the drought years," he said. "Since then, it has transformed into a very productive state."
Beck earned the masters degree in 1938 after working two years as a graduate research assistant. He taught in the K-State dairy department for five years before serving three years in the U.S. Army.
Upon his return in 1946, Beck quickly climbed the promotional ladder in the College of Agriculture. He earned an animal nutrition and physiology doctorate from Cornell University in 1950. His 40-year career at K-State included serving as a dairy professor, dairy judging team coach, dairy department head, experiment station director, dean of agriculture and vice president for agriculture.
For Beck, the services of the land grant university were not to be contained within Kansas or the nation. Beck made strides in developing similar research and extension systems in other parts of the world.
"Beck added a fourth leg to the traditional land grant university system," said Carroll Hess, former College of Agriculture Dean appointed by Beck in 1966. "The three regular legs include teaching, research and extension. Beck, however, added international agriculture as another major emphasis for K-State to contribute to the world."
Beck's visionary efforts allowed K-State to make tremendous contributions in international agricultural development, Hess said. Having developed a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. State Department's Agency for International Development, Beck made several consulting trips overseas to present recommendations on land grant opportunities.
"Beck didn't just come in and continue the traditions," he said. "In a time when not many were interested in expanding into other countries, he focused on programs abroad to feed starving millions. Beck wanted to share our post-World War II production capacity and technical explosions with developing Africa and southeast Asia."
On campus, Beck took a sustainable perspective by creating the Food and Feed Grain Institute and International Grains Program. He attracted state and federal funding to strengthen staff and facilities to provide graduate programs for international students, who could obtain advanced degrees and return back to their countries to be the nucleus of their universities.
"I am a great believer in the land grant system," Beck said. "I knew these programs would work."
Beck retired from K-State in 1977. He continued to serve as a consultant to the international development organizations until 1985, when he moved to Arizona.
"There have been so many areas of growth at the university," he said. "The number of students now on campus is staggering compared to the 4,000 students when I was there. The Extension system continues to have tremendous influence in helping the people of Kansas and the world. It is an honor to return to K-State in such circumstances."