Darr Gift to Establish Agriculture Magnet School, Expand Companion Animal Program

By University Communications

The Darr family has been friends and supporters of Missouri State University and Springfield Public Schools for many years.

William H. Darr and the Darr Family Foundation’s latest gift will greatly expand agriculture education and opportunities for Missouri State and Springfield students.

A $6.5 million gift will fund the construction of two buildings – a classroom building to house an SPS magnet school dedicated to agricultural education and a companion animal education facility for the William H. Darr College of Agriculture.

The gift is part of Onward, Upward: The Campaign for Missouri State University.

“Gifts from Bill and Virginia Darr and the Darr Family Foundation have completely transformed the Darr College of Agriculture,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “This gift will allow us to further expand our programs to better serve the needs of southwest Missouri.

“We’re also excited to be a part of a new education option for students in Springfield,” Smart added.

The Darr Family Foundation’s investment in Springfield students represents the largest known gift in Springfield Public Schools’ history.

“This generosity and our strong collaboration with Missouri State allows SPS to continue our expansion of choice programming for students and their families,” said Dr. John Jungmann, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools.

“The addition of an agriculture magnet school is an important part of a broader effort to enhance workforce development by ensuring our students are better prepared for a variety of college and career opportunities. We sincerely thank the Darr family and Missouri State for making this possible.”

The first building funded through this gift will become the home of a new choice program for Springfield Public Schools. The program will focus on agriculture education and is expected to begin in fall 2021.

The building will serve approximately 150 elementary students.

Missouri State currently offers a companion animal minor and certificate program. It is a popular educational option for many students majoring in animal science and pre-veterinary medicine, as well as students from across the entire MSU campus.

“Missouri State University has a very strong livestock education program,” said Dr. Ronald Del Vecchio, dean of the Darr College of Agriculture. “The companion animal facility will allow us to expand existing education on small animals. The facility will also provide the only fully equipped teaching laboratory at the Darr Agricultural Center.”