Plant biosciences building to be named for Orville A. Vogel

Washington State University’s plant biosciences building officially will be named the Orville A. Vogel Plant Biosciences Building at a public ceremony scheduled for 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, inside the northwest entrance.

Vogel served as a USDA Agriculture Research Service scientist and a WSU faculty member from 1931 to 1972. He and his wheat breeding team developed the first commercial semi-dwarf wheat varieties and complementary production systems in the Pacific Northwest. His work with dwarf wheat varieties is widely recognized for laying the foundation for the Green Revolution in developing countries.

“Dr. Vogel, arguably WSU’s most famous scientist, brought great recognition to the university throughout the world,” said Dan Bernardo, College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences dean. “His discoveries had a profound impact in addressing world hunger and stimulating unprecedented economic growth in many developing countries.”

The $39 million building, completed in 2005, houses the research programs of scientists from four departments in CAHNRS and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service as well as the plant transformation core laboratory of the Center for Integrated Biotechnology.

Scheduled speakers include WSU President Elson S. Floyd; Harold Cochran, Walla Walla, a member of the WSU Board of Regents; Bernardo; Steve Jones, WSU wheat breeder; and Robert Allan, retired USDA-ARS wheat geneticist.

In 1973, on the occasion of Vogel’s retirement, Norman Borlaug, who three years earlier had received the Nobel Peace Prize as father of the Green Revolution, said that Vogel’s contribution to world wheat research “changed our entire concept of wheat yield potentials.” Vogel was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1975 by President Gerald R. Ford for his lifetime of work. Vogel died in 1991.

The Vogel Plant Biosciences Building is located at the intersection of Wilson Road and Stadium Way.