by Jennifer Huber
The turfgrass program at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has received welcome support from Syngenta Professional Products of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund was established with a $25,000 endowment in August. Syngenta Professional Products is a subsidiary of Syngenta, a leading global agribusiness headquartered in Switzerland that develops and markets sustainable agriculture products and technology.
The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund supports education, extension and research activities at the Department of Plant Science and the UConn Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. The diagnostic center provides service to commercial clients throughout the Northeast. It’s an essential resource for managers of athletic fields, high-maintenance commercial land and golf courses. Assistant Professor John Kaminski was recruited in 2005 to create the turfgrass pathology program and lead research into turfgrass diseases, fungicide resistance and disease management.
“[John Kaminski] is very energetic. He’s taken an active step to fill the need in the Northeast,” says Dave Ross, Technical Manager, Lawn and Garden at Syngenta Professional Products.
“When there are relatively new researchers in our field, we want to help them to be successful,” Ross adds. “We saw that he’s doing very good work, and we wanted to help his research program and the University.”
UConn is quickly becoming a leader in turfgrass education, research and development. Faculty and graduate students are applying discoveries made through research in the lab to develop innovative solutions and provide them to clients through the diagnostic center. Most significantly, cutting-edge research and development at UConn is leading to a reduction in the use of pesticides, says Kaminski.
“It really benefits everyone,” says Kaminski. “What we’re trying to do is marry the two programs, the research and the diagnostic services, to really benefit the end users.”
Kaminski notes that the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund provides a needed foundation on which to build support in order to grow UConn’s program.
“The goal is to build up the endowment to a level that will continue to provide support to the turfgrass pathology program at UConn,” says Kaminski. “I’m looking at longevity. When I retire, the next person will hopefully have a nest egg to fund graduate and research assistantships.”
Kaminski also emphasizes that strong private support from individuals and industry leaders like Syngenta will enable UConn to raise the profile of the turfgrass program. “It’s really to set the stage to build the program to where we want it to be, and that’s a nationally recognized research and education program,” he says.Standing atop a turfgrass plot at UConn, Assistant Professor John Kaminski (center) accepts a $25,000 check from Syngenta Professional Products for the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund on October 18. From left: John K. Martin, president of the UConn Foundation, Kirklyn M. Kerr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mary Musgrave, head of the Department of Plant Science, Kaminski, and Michael Agnew, Renee Keese, Dave Ross, and Robert Goglia of Syngenta Professional Products.
Copyright 2006 by The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.www.foundation.uconn.edu