Field days at the University of Missouri’s Delta Research Center at Portageville always draw a large crowd, but this year’s event was especially significant as attendees celebrated 50 years of the center’s service to agriculture.

And this year, MU Vice Chancellor and Dean Thomas Payne, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, announced the Center would be renamed the T.E. “Jake” Fisher Delta Research Center to honor the dedication and leadership of retiring superintendent, T.E. “Jake” Fisher.

Fisher has held almost every position possible at the Delta Research Center since joining it in 1961. He was promoted to assistant superintendent and then superintendent.

Payne said Fisher’s leadership was instrumental in making the Delta Research Center the showpiece of MU’s out-state research center network. With 50 years of service, Fisher joins the list of the top 10 longest-serving employees since the university was founded in 1839.

“We all know agriculture is the backbone for our economy — our way of life,” said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon during a speech at the event. “This university and this Delta Center are keys in the international marketplace and this state’s livelihood.”

Although Fisher retired at the end of September, his work and leadership will continue to impact MU students for years. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has established the T.E. “Jake” Fisher Scholarship, a permanently endowed fund at MU. St. Louis-based Monsanto helped to create the scholarship along with pledges from Fisher’s family, friends and colleagues. The fund will provide scholarships to students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

John Raines, vice president for customer advocacy for Monsanto, was on hand at Fisher’s retirement banquet in September to present the first scholarship to Ryan Rolwing, a sophomore from Charleston, Mo. Rolwing is majoring in agriculture systems management. Those interested in contributing to the scholarship can contact the Office of Advancement, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, 2-4 Agriculture Building, Columbia, MO 65211, (866) 400-4483 (toll free) or (573) 882-9003.