MTSU alumnus and retired U.S. Army Gen. Les Fuller called it “a huge night” in Fayetteville, Tennessee.
Fuller organized an MTSU alumni and friends effort, generating nearly $27,000 in funds and pledges for the Robert “Bob” Garrigus Endowed Scholarship for students in the university’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.
The fundraising barbecue event was held Jan. 28 at the Craig Game Preserve at Hamilton Hall in Lincoln County.
Fuller, a member of the Class of 1973, extended the invitation. Nearly 40 people responded.
The barbecue benefited the scholarship named for Garrigus, an MTSU faculty member from 1967 to 2001.
Affectionately called “Doc” by his students, many of who were on the livestock-judging teams he coached, Garrigus witnessed unprecedented agriculture student and facility growth while at MTSU.
As of Feb. 4, the supporters generated $26,875 from the Garrigus barbecue event efforts, bringing the endowment to more than $91,100 — less than $9,000 away from their goal of a Centennial Scholarship level of $100,000, said Nicole Chitty, development officer for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
“Many stories were told and history relived about the successful livestock-judging teams that Dr. Garrigus coached,” Fuller said.
“There were former students at this event I had not seen in 40-plus years. It was a great night for Dr. Garrigus and his wonderful family, the agriculture department and the university.”
Longtime friend Dr. Warren Gill, a former MTSU ag director who has returned to teaching and research, said the Tennessee Livestock Centerwould not exist had it not been for Garrigus, who also is a huge Blue Raiders fan.
“He worked closely with (then-state Rep.) John Bragg and (then-governor) Ned Ray McWherter and others to make it happen,” Gill said.
Gill added that Garrigus directed several of his best students to obtaining graduate degrees from the University of Kentucky, Garrigus’s alma mater, including Lanas Smith, Tim Redd and Dale Barnett.
Redd retired as director of the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center, also known as the MTSU farm and dairy, in Lascassas, Tennessee.
Although Garrigus was unable to attend, his wife, Jan, and daughter, Pam Garrigus Jebeles, were among those in the barbecue crowd.
The Fayetteville fundraiser included a silent auction featuring an M1 Garand rifle.
Chitty said if alumni and friends want to help reach the remaining amount of $8,868 to attain the Centennial level, they can go to www.mtsu.edu/supportag and click on “Garrigus Scholarship.”
When successful, the Garrigus scholarship will become the sixth MTSU scholarship to reach Centennial status.
Fuller said plans are formulating for a reunion of livestock judging teams, likely to occur in October during homecoming. For more information, call 615-898-2523.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)