AMES, Iowa Kevin Lauver, who was an Iowa State University freshman in 1977, shares something in common with his son, Jacob, who is a freshman in agricultural studies at Iowa State this fall.
Both were members of freshmen classes that broke existing enrollment records in Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Undergraduate enrollment in the fall of 1977 was 3,623 students. This fall, 3,900 students are enrolled - breaking every record.
When Jacob started the semester he joined the Iowa Corn Growers club and the Farm Operations Club. He said he's seen numerous opportunities for students to get involved. He said he always planned to come to Iowa State.
"My parents went here and my brother is here," Jacob said. "This is one of the best agricultural schools in the nation."
It's been 35 years since Kevin first enrolled in agricultural business. Today, he is an account manager with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., in central Iowa. He remembers waiting in Curtiss Hall just to get on a list to get an interview with a potential employer.
"Career services would post a signup sheet and you had to be one of the first 20 signed up to get an interview," Kevin said.
Times change. Today the college has the largest agricultural career fairs in the nation and averages 98 percent placement along with numerous internships. This year's Ag Career Day, held Oct. 16, attracted more than 200 employers and 2,000 students.
Kevin said his older son, Andrew, a senior in agricultural studies at Iowa State, has already had offers.
"Today the employers send portfolios about their businesses. Andrew's also had internships with some of these companies, so he knows them," Kevin said.
Kevin said today's students have more study abroad opportunities. He said he didn't take an agricultural travel course back in the 1970s because it was difficult to take time away from the family farm near Rockwell City, Iowa, especially during the summer.
"These students understand diversity and they have lots of opportunities to study abroad," Kevin said.
Kevin and his wife, Linda, who graduated in 1983 with a marketing degree, live near Rockwell City on the farm where Kevin grew up.