OSU location rebrands as CFAES Wooster

WOOSTER – The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has long held a major presence in Wooster.

It’s a place where science and research are valued, where discoveries really mean something for the advancement of Ohio and the world.

College officials and leaders are hoping a rebranding of the 4,200-acre local campus, now known as CFAES Wooster, will further solidify that presence, better make known “who we are and what we do,” as a land-grant institution and lead to more collaboration and discoveries, said Anne Dorrance, associate dean and director of the Wooster campus.

“We’re doing everything we can to break the silos down,” Dorrance said. “We do, as a land-grant university, have a research mission, a teaching mission and also an outreach or extension mission. Having everything we do here exemplify those missions is really our goal.” 

Anne Dorrance, associate dean and director of The Ohio State University Wooster campus, stands in front of a state map that shows all of the OSU campuses in February 2020.

Cathann Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, said the start of the year felt like a natural time for the name change, which has been brewing for a while and will connect more fully the research and student-focused pieces.

Instead of the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), the two-year, associate-degree-granting program within CFAES, and research being done by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) feeling separate, much more collaboration and resource sharing is underway, she said.

“We think of ourselves as one college with three campuses: Wooster, Columbus and our statewide campus,” with extension across Ohio’s 88 counties, Kress said. “That’s about 11,000 acres in total.”


Some people are unaware of the OARDC’s farms and agricultural research stations across the state, which include locations in Caldwell, Coshocton, Custar, Fremont, Jackson, Kingsville, South Charleston and Willard, according to the CFAES website. “We want people to know our research is expansive and serves Ohioans throughout the state,” Kress said.

New science building unveiled

Labs are in the process of moving from Thorne Hall and being set up in the new science building on the CFAES Wooster campus.

With the rebranding also comes a new, sparkling science building on the CFAES Wooster campus, located at one end of the large parking lot across from the Fisher Auditorium. 

The 60,000-square-foot, $33.5 million building, unveiled Thursday during a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony, will house the department of entomology, undergraduate chemistry classrooms for ATI students, teaching and research labs, office spaces and a cafe on the first floor. The department of entomology’s Bug Zoo alsowill be located inside, as a place for visitors and school groups to tour.

Campus signage and road names, along with infrastructure changes, are already in the works too. It was difficult to get from ATI to the other side of campus without getting on a main road, Kress said, so she is looking forward to modifications. 

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said CFAES Wooster has “a lot to celebrate,” including entrepreneurship. “Agricultural leaders and farmers are at their very heart entrepreneurs,” he said, especially for the health and success of Ohioans.

“Because of the work we did in the state legislature, we’ve been able to make a wise investment of taxpayer dollars in this facility. … As great as the building is, it’s what’s going to happen in this building that really is going to be transformational,” he said. 

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose spoke at the ribbon-cutting event for the opening of the new science building on the CFAES Wooster campus Thursday.

Dorrance is excited about having ergonomic benches in the modern labs. She remembers having a pair of students in one of her labs, one who was short and the other tall, but there was no way for them to adjust the height of their benches. “Little things like that are nice,” she said.

Students will begin using the science building when Ohio State University resumes in-person learning Jan. 25, Dorrance said. (The first two weeks of spring semester classes are online.) The cafe is scheduled to open in mid-February.

Pictured here is a wall of exhibits outside the soon-to-be Bug Zoo in the new science building on the CFAES Wooster campus.

“We have a placeholder name,” she said. “We’re calling it the Wooster Science Building. We have three open labs and want to wait to see who else takes ownership and moves in before we actually name it.”

CFAES Wooster: More teamwork, efficiency afoot

The need for efficiency and collaboration in agricultural research is always growing, as “research is an expensive endeavor,” Dorrance said. The rebranding and new science building will help facilitate, CFAES leaders explained.

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