On June 16, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 2380 into law, which designates Feb. 1 each year (the beginning of Black History Month) as George Washington Carver Day in Iowa, and encourages government offices, civic organizations, schools, colleges and universities to recognize the agricultural, scientific and global humanitarian accomplishments of Carver. (The designation did not create a state holiday.)
Missouri native Carver, who began his college work at Simpson College, Indianola, received bachelor's (1894) and master's (1896) degrees in agriculture from Iowa Agricultural College (since 1959 Iowa State University). Carver was Iowa State's first Black student and faculty member before leaving for a lifelong career at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, developing hundreds of food products from plants such as peanuts, sweet potatoes and about a dozen others native to the southern United States.
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president emeritus of the World Food Prize Foundation, and Simon Estes, internationally renowned opera star and faculty member at Iowa State and the Des Moines Area Community College, were the driving force behind the designation. Quinn and Estes recounted the effort, with a nod to support from President Wendy Wintersteen, in a June 19 essay in the Des Moines Register.