Carrie Merchant and Dr. Joshua D. Merchant

May 1, 2018

Buena Vista University President Joshua D. Merchant, and his wife, Carrie, have established a $50,000 endowed scholarship to support students who pursue programs as part of BVU’s new Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management. 

The Joshua and Carrie Merchant Endowed Scholarship in Agriculture will be awarded to students who are pursuing academic majors in agriculture and are actively engaged in BVU’s Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management. Preference is given to students who are first in the family to attend college, have been active participants in either 4-H or FFA, and demonstrate financial need.  

“Our wish is to provide more high-achieving students access to a quality education and to the depth of opportunities that exist in the agricultural industry.”

Joshua D. Merchant

Merchant, who was a first generation college student, grew up on a farm in Ithaca, Mich., where he was also active in 4-H. His first job in philanthropy was working for the Michigan FFA Foundation.  

“The opportunity to help students achieve their educational, personal, and professional aspirations through a BVU education is deeply meaningful for Carrie and me,” said Merchant. “Our wish is to provide more high-achieving students access to a quality education and to the depth of opportunities that exist in the agricultural industry.” 

The launch of BVU’s Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management aligns with recent and emerging trends showing there is high demand for college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs. The institute will be home to a number of agricultural business and science programs, equipping students with the skills needed to secure employment opportunities in the areas of food, agriculture, renewable resources, the environment, and more. The University’s goal is to have the institute and new programs in place by the fall 2019 semester. 

“Carrie and I wholeheartedly believe that the institute will serve as a pathway for students to excel in a field that’s vital to the Midwest and to our state,” added Merchant. “We wanted to do our part by charting a new path for those who are interested in pursuing ag-related careers that are essential to sustaining our region’s heritage and economy.”  

The announcement comes days before the official inauguration of Merchant, which will take place on Friday, May 4 at 4 p.m. in Siebens Fieldhouse on the BVU campus. 

Following the installation ceremony, attendees are invited to a reception in the Foyer located in the Harold Walter Siebens Forum on the BVU campus. A Community Block Party in honor of Merchant’s inauguration is also set for Saturday, May 5, on Grand Avenue near the BVU campus. The free, community-wide celebration will include several student-led, family fun activities. A variety of food truck items will also be available for purchase.