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A.C. Magruder

A.C. Magruder

A.C. Magruder came to Oklahoma A&M College in 1891 with a B.S. degree in agricultural science from Mississippi Agricultural College. He was 24 years of age, but he had attended graduate school in Germany and worked for a short time at the West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Records indicate he was a person of impeccable manners and a quick sense of humor, as evidenced by the naming of his favorite gray stallion: "Dammit."

"Though officially affiliated with the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Magruder was a pioneer in taking research-based information to the people, effectively doing the work of an Extension specialist two decades before the passage of the Smith-Lever Act," said Dave Porter, head of the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Magruder met groups of farmers in homes, barns, fields and pastures, providing science-proven recommendations and soliciting feedback through round table discussions. He spent many hours answering specific requests by mail. For two years, he was the new college's agriculture and horticulture departments.

Called "the faculty's aristocrat" by a number of his contemporaries, Magruder was an individual of many firsts at what is now Oklahoma State University:

  • He was the first agriculturist.
  • He was the first instructor.
  • He took the first steps toward developing a school library, by either buying books with his own money or talking publishers out of samples.
  • He established the first livestock feeding trials.
  • He organized Oklahoma's first agricultural support organization, the Oklahoma Agricultural Society.
  • He established the first student awards at Oklahoma A&M - again, using his own money - by commissioning gold medals to be given annually for best oration by a student.

Magruder is probably best known for the OSU wheat plots that bear his name. He planted them in 1892. They are the nation's oldest, continually producing plots west of the Mississippi. More than just a bit of history, they represent the baseline research showing wheat can be grown in this region with no inputs or added irrigation and still provide a viable crop that can feed people and animals. The Magruder Plots were entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078