This past academic year was a memorable one as Kansas State University, founded in 1863, celebrated its sesquicentennial. Faculty, students, alumni and friends joined to recognize K-State’s proud heritage and to look toward the future. The department of biological and agricultural engineering (BAE) joined in the sesquicentennial festivities and celebrated our own milestone — our centennial as an agricultural engineering department.
Today BAE has faculty engaged in the three pillars of a land-grant university: teaching, research and extension. The first agricultural engineering curriculum was approved in 1914 with an emphasis on farm machinery, flour milling and irrigation. One hundred years later, BAE is continuing the tradition of excellence with emphasis on machinery systems, bioprocessing and natural resources. We also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agricultural mechanics program, which began in the early 1960s.
The core emphasis of the department 100 years ago was utilization of energy and natural resources for food production and processing wheat for human food consumption. An abundance of energy and natural resources, such as water, was available during the early years. With increases in global population and limited natural resources, there is a renewed vigor to focus on inputs necessary for food and fiber production systems. Adding value to each step in the feed-to-food processing chain is part of the sustainability of the system.
We are committed to continuing the legacy established by BAE/ATM alumni through our research, outreach and education of young people. This next generation will be asked to develop sustainable solutions to feed a growing global population while ensuring adequate natural resources for the next generation. Our goal is to continue the “tradition of excellence” established by our alumni and prepare the next generation in “making a world of difference.”