Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, agreed.

"This gift is testimony to three critical factors,” he said. "The first is the commitment and foresight of an extremely progressive industry. The second is the quality and contributions of the gifted and dedicated scientists at WSU who work tirelessly to serve the industry. And third is the trust and respect built between the two during a century-long partnership.”

Bernardo said WSU, over the past decade, has made significant and strategic investments in all areas of tree fruit research and extension. For the special project assessment, WSU worked closely with industry representatives to ensure their dollars are spent where they will have the most impact.

As a result, the funds will go to WSU’s research and extension centers at Wenatchee and Prosser. Specifically, the funds will be spent as follows:

• $11 million to create six endowed chairs to provide perpetual support for the tree fruit research program. WSU will cover the salary and benefit costs for each faculty position.

• $11 million to create an endowment to establish new positions in tree fruit production regions to accelerate the transfer of new information and technologies for Washington growers and shippers. These non-tenured positions will reinvigorate WSU extension activities and focus on industry priorities.

• $5 million to create an endowment to support dedicated research orchards in Prosser and Wenatchee and enhance development and evaluation of cutting edge technologies and practices.

Bernardo also noted that he will work directly with an advisory committee appointed by tree fruit industry organizations to ensure industry-endowed programs perform at the highest level and produce results for the growers and shippers of Washington.

Contributes to "Campaign for WSU”

Floyd announced last December that WSU is in a $1 billion comprehensive fundraising effort: "The Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas.” The tree fruit industry’s gift of $27 million gift will be counted within that $1 billion goal.

To date, generous donors, businesses and organizations have committed more than $621.4 million to the Campaign for WSU to increase support for the university’s students, faculty, research and extension programs and to leverage the university’s impact across the state, nation and world.

Allied industry members have made additional gifts of more than $500,000 in support of tree fruit research at WSU, and efforts will continue to secure an additional $10 million in gifts from other businesses associated with the tree fruit industry over the next year.