Gift establishes $1.7M professorship in soil science

Emeritus professor of soil science Marv Beatty (center) with department chair Alfred Hartemink and CALS dean Kate VandenBosch at the April 6 gift recognition reception.

On Friday, April 6 the Department of Soil Science celebrated a new professorship established through a generous gift from emeritus professor Marv Beatty. The professorship will provide a tenured faculty member with resources to pursue research, attend professional meetings, travel, support undergraduate research and hire graduate student assistants.

At the event, Beatty described his time at UW as interesting and exciting. “There were a lot of opportunities to innovate. This institution offered me endless opportunities to be creative, to do what I could do, and I’m very glad to be able to come back and give back a little bit,” he said.

Beatty received his Ph.D. from the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science in 1955, and then went on to serve the department and UW-Extension for a total of 32 years. He was a soil science faculty member from 1956 – 1966, including serving as assistant chair of the department from 1965 – 1966. For three years, starting in 1966, he participated in CALS’ international program at Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, where he helped develop an advanced training program for professional workers in the Ministry of Agriculture. Beatty joined UW-Extension in 1970, holding a number of roles, including as faculty in the Water Resources Management and Land Resources Management programs; Dean of the Division of Community Programs; and Associate Dean and Director of the Cooperative Extension Service. In 1976, he co-authored “Soils of Wisconsin” with Francis Hole and Gerhard Lee. He retired in 1988.

Beatty received many accolades and awards over his career, including the Distinguished Service Award from UW-Extension; the Outstanding Service Award from the Wisconsin Association of Conservation Districts; and the Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America; as well as being named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

At the gift recognition reception, VandenBosch thanked Beatty for his “many contributions to soil science, to UW-Extension and to CALS, and for this wonderful gift that will help support the Department of Soil Science now and into the future.”

To establish the professorship, Beatty gave a gift of $1.2M, which qualified for an additional $500,000 from the university’s “Morgridge Match” program. UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge promised $100M to match new gifts toward professorships at UW-Madison. This is one of the final professorships in the capitol campaign to receive the match, which launched in 2014.

The Marvin T. Beatty Professorship in Soil Science will be awarded for five-year terms, with the faculty member selected by the Department of Soil Science.