Feb. 1 will be George Washington Carver Day in Iowa

Party gathered at signing ceremony

Standing behind Gov. Kim Reynolds (seated) for the June 16 bill signing are (l-r) Natalie Bidner and Neha Kashyap, World Food Prize Foundation; Angela Franklin, Des Moines University; John Woell, Simpson College; Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State University; Thomas Phillips, retired from Pioneer; Simon Estes, Iowa State University; Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize Foundation; Charles Sukup, Sukup Manufacturing; Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, State of Iowa; Joe Murphy, Iowa Business Council; Brooke Axiotis, Iowa Board of Education; Andrea Woodard, Greater Des Moines Partnership; Mashal Husain, World Food Prize Foundation; and Catherine Swoboda, horticulture, Iowa State University, and George Washington Carver Foundation. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

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.

Simon Estes telling a story to a gathering group at the state ca

Adjunct professor of music Simon Estes, shares a story as proponents of George Washington Carver Day gather in the ground level of the capitol June 16 prior to a bill signing with Gov. Kim Reynolds. Seated (l-r) are Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen, Des Moines University president Angela Franklin, World Food Prize Foundation president emeritus Kenneth Quinn, Pioneer retired community investment director Thomas Phillips and Estes. Photo by Christopher Gannon.