Jim and Judi Herbert met at UT and have been so loyal in their support as alumni that in 2017 the university named them Philanthropists of the Year. This year, the Herberts decided to make a significant gift in support of Jim’s home college, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” said Jim Herbert, the co-founder and executive chairman of Neogen Corporation. “We are proud to invest in the university most of my family has called home.”
Following the Herberts’ most recent gift, the Board of Trustees voted on April 17, with the formal announcement on June 22, to name the college in their honor.
The Herbert College of Agriculture becomes one of only two land-grant agricultural colleges in the United States to be named following a philanthropic gift.
Enrollment Growth since 2009
“This transformative gift will establish the Herbert College of Agriculture as one of the top institutions of its kind in the country,” said UT President Joe DiPietro.
Jim Herbert grew up on a farm outside Memphis and began his UT career earning room and board by watering the plants in an Institute of Agriculture greenhouse. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry in 1962. Judi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963.
In 1982 Jim co-founded Neogen, a pioneer in rapid diagnostic testing focused on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of products for food and animal safety.
“Jim’s vision in providing agricultural advancements for the health of humans and animals has had a global impact,” said Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Tim Cross in 2016, when Herbert received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ first-ever honorary doctorate.
During the university’s 2017 Big Orange Give campaign, the Herberts’ $500,000 challenge grant made it possible to expand the scope of UT’s Writing Center to include more students.
The naming gift will create an endowment focused on strategic initiatives to enhance student and faculty learning experiences. It also will provide programs that equip students with the knowledge to meet the world’s most pressing agricultural issues.
“The Herberts’ engagement and expectations of our college will help advance our land-grant mission to address real-life solutions,” said Caula Beyl, dean of the Herbert College of Agriculture. “We will be able to attract and retain students and faculty who will impact our state, nation, and world.”