|Local students who will be packing in a few months to make the move of a lifetime, to the University of Wisconsin, gathered Thursday evening to be a key part of the annual spring Founders Day program.|
Held annually by the Antigo Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, the dinner, singing of “Varsity,” speaker and selection of officers came off without a hitch at the Edison Club.
The Antigo students planning to start their university careers in Madison were introduced to the crowd. They included Colin Bastle, Matthew Incha, Cassius Noskowiak, Steph Hanke, Natasha Voytovich, Alexandra Falk and Logan Wanca.
Guest speaker was Bill Tracy, professor and chairman of the Department of Agronomy at the university.
In what sounds like an unusual topic, corn, Tracy drew plenty of interest and questions.
He discussed the exceptional corn grown in Wisconsin, a very important crop in the Langlade County area because of the presence of the dairy industry.
He covered developments in the industry with a special eye on the university and state of Wisconsin and told members of the chapter, the students heading for the school and their families to watch for a new variety of sweet corn in 2015, called “who gets kissed.”
He attracted even more attention explaining that some day, people will eat sweet corn just like bananas without the benefit of cooking.
Tracy received his bachelor of science and master of science in plant science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Ph.D. in plant breeding from Cornell University in 1982.
Following graduation, he worked as a corn breeder for the International Plant Research Institute and Cargill Inc.
Since moving to Madison in 1984, Tracy has taught Agronomy 100, Principles and Practices of Crop Production, and other undergraduate and graduate level courses. He has also taught a course on using corn in the elementary school classroom as part of the Wisconsin Teacher Enhancement in Biology Program.
At Wisconsin, Tracy leads one of the few remaining public sector sweet corn breeding programs in the U.S.A number of inbreeds and hybrids developed by his team are grown on every continent with arable land.
The Founders Day commemorates UW-Madison’s first class, which met on Feb. 5, 1849, but there is more. It’s a season of celebrating the UW, its reputation for academic excellence and its impact in the classroom, community and world.
Front row, from left, Colin Bastle, Matthew Incha, Cassius Noskowiak, Steph Hanke, Natasha Voytovich, Alexandra Falk, Logan Wanca. The UW alumni include from the left, Dr. Patrick McKenna, board; Chris Shinners, scholarship chairman; William Tracy, keynote speaker; Sherry Bunten, board president; Dr. Ted Fox, “Bucky’’ from 1952 to 1953; Jason Jansen, board treasurer; Laura Waldovgel, board secretary; Gary Voytovich, board vice president.