Fargo, N.D. — One of North Dakota State University’s most iconic family names will soon be memorialized on a new campus building. The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved the naming of North Dakota State University’s Agricultural Products Development Center at its Sept. 30, 2021, meeting. The “Peltier Complex” will be NDSU’s largest academic facility and honors one of the region’s most longstanding supporters of teaching, research, and extension in agriculture.
“The Peltier family has been an integral part of the history of NDSU and agriculture in the state,” NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said. “From farming, to the seed business, to grain elevators, to serving on commodities boards in the state, the family is uniquely aware of the critical role NDSU’s College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources plays in our state, the nation, and the world.”
The Peltier family made leadership philanthropic gifts to support the private fundraising portion of the project, which partnered with the North Dakota Legislature to complete the overall financing package.
“We believe this is a showcase building for agriculture in North Dakota and for marketing our products to the world,” Keith Peltier ’75, president and general manager of Proseed, said. “My dad, who’s not living anymore, was a great promoter of ag products. We thought it would be a great place to be able to honor him.”
Joe ’51 and Norma Peltier were married for 61 years and supported NDSU and its continued success for decades. Joe was in the elevator business for nearly 50 years and held several positions with Arthur Farmers Elevator/Arthur Companies including general manager and vice president from 1955 through 1992 and as a board member from 1957 through 2007. He was chairman of the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association from 1958-1964 and was the first chairman of the North Dakota Sunflower Council from 1976-1980. Joe was also a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1979-1985 and served on the State Board of Higher Education from 1993-2000.
The Peltier family’s NDSU legacy goes all the way back to NDSU’s early days. Joe’s maternal grandmother, Jessamine Slaughter Burgum, was the first female student at NDSU (then NDAC). His mother, Marjorie Burgum Peltier, continued her education at NDSU, and all of Joe’s children, Keith ’75, Jeff ’76, Suzette ’79, and Betty-Jo ’83, are alumni. Keith, currently an NDSU Foundation Trustee and Executive Governing Board member, and his wife, Cathy (Lovas) Peltier ’77, are serving as campaign ambassadors for In Our Hands: The $400 Million Campaign for North Dakota State University that has now raised more than $440 million.
The Peltier Complex will join NDSU’s food science, meat science, and cereal science laboratories along with the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), a four-state-focused agency committed to promoting, developing, and marketing crops grown in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana. Located in the southwest corner of NDSU’s campus, the state-of-the-art facility will be uniquely positioned as a cornerstone of the University while being just minutes away from the fields that yield much of the world’s food.
“It’s fantastic that we can put the Peltier name on this building given the family’s history with the institution and their support of NDSU agriculture,” Greg Lardy, NDSU’s vice president for agricultural affairs, said. “Joe Peltier was active with a variety of agricultural research programs and supporting those in a number of ways, and his family has continued to carry on that legacy.”
Joe was also active in the creation of the NCI in the late-1970s and early-1980s and would often host trade groups at the elevator when they came to the Institute. Keith served on the Northern Crops Council, the governing board for NCI, for six years.
“The Peltiers have been longtime leaders in agriculture in the region, and NCI is no exception,” Mark Jirik, NCI director, said. “They have provided leadership, guidance, and program support to NCI since its founding. Having the Peltier name on this facility is a perfect fit.”
The North Dakota Legislature approved $70 million for the completion of the facility and authorized an additional $15 million in fundraising.
“The Peltier family has a lasting legacy of philanthropic impact on our students, faculty, and programs in agriculture, athletics, and the arts, and now, we are honored to put their name on a campus building that will change the future of agriculture education, research, and service,” John Glover, NDSU Foundation President and CEO, said. “We are so grateful to the entire Peltier family and their commitment to NDSU, the In Our Hands campaign and our collective future.”
A groundbreaking and naming ceremony for the Peltier Complex will be held Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at 2 p.m. on the second floor of the NDSU Wallman Wellness Center, which overlooks the future building site.
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