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Northwest alumni Jim and Miriam Meadows joined the University's  Homesteaders by providing leading support for the Agricultural Learning Center. (Submitted photo)

Northwest alumni Jim and Miriam Meadows joined the University's Homesteaders by providing leading support for the Agricultural Learning Center. (Submitted photo)

June 15, 2022

Iowa couple’s interest in agriculture inspires support of Ag Learning Center


With a shared love of agriculture and appreciation for the education they received at Northwest Missouri State University, a southwest Iowa couple is among the University alumni and friends who have joined the University’s Homesteader society in support of the Agricultural Learning Center.

Jim Meadows studied math and physics at Northwest, graduating in 1962, and Miriam Wood Meadows is a 1964 graduate who studied business and secondary education. The couple met at Northwest and have been married for 19 years.

“We feel very grateful for Northwest,” Jim said. “We feel that the education that we got was very good. It’s been a big contributor to our success in life, and we’re just glad to be a part of Northwest.”

While more than 60 public and private donors have joined the Homesteaders by providing leading support of $25,000 or greater toward the Agricultural Learning Center, the Meadowses say their contribution is a tribute to their farming heritage as well as a demonstration of appreciation for Northwest.

Having grown up on farms in southwest Iowa, Jim enjoyed observing and learning from family and friends who worked in the field. Miriam was raised on a farm in New Market, Iowa, and regularly returned to it on weekends while she was a Northwest student to help her family. Today, the couple maintains two farms – one in Kellerton and another in Gravity that Miriam operates with her son.

“I’m a farmer at heart,” Miriam said. “Before I ever knew how to drive a car, I learned how to drive a tractor. I remember hoeing beans and corn with this little tractor and baling hay. My background is agriculture, and I still love agriculture.”

Neither Jim nor Miriam made farming a full-time career, however.

After completing his degree, Jim worked in the insurance field for a couple years in southwest Iowa. During that time, he learned to fly airplanes and eventually joined the Air National Guard. He then joined United Airlines as a pilot and flew passengers around the world for 32 years until retiring in 1996.

Miriam taught at Ar-We-Va Community School for a couple of years in northern Iowa before moving to Missouri. She then worked as a bookkeeper for 20 years with the American Chianina Association, a cattle organization in Platte City, and annually attended national shows in Louisville, Kentucky, where she sold merchandise and clerked. She eventually returned to Iowa and joined Barker Implement, a John Deere dealership in Indianola, as a bookkeeper.

In addition to the pride Jim and Miriam feel for Northwest, several members of their family are Northwest alumni, including Miriam’s son, Rick Schmitz ’90, along with Rick’s wife, Esther French Schmitz ’93, and their daughter, Bailey Schmitz Stanley ’19. Rick works for First National Bank in Creston, Iowa, as an ag loan officer, while Esther recently retired after teaching first grade for 20 years in Lenox, Iowa, and Bailey teaches third grade in Eagleville, Missouri.

Jim’s mother, Pauline Toush Meadows, graduated from Northwest when it was Northwest Missouri State Teachers College and taught in Kellerton. Additionally, his sisters, Jean Meadows ’67 and Joan Meadows Ochoa ’69, and grandson, Scott Meadows ’82, are Northwest alumni.

“The world’s been good to me,” Jim said. “I’ve had a very prosperous and successful life, and life has been good to me and my wife. Miriam and I are really happy with our Northwest heritage.”

Northwest's Agricultural Learning Center opened in 2021 at the University's R.T. Wright Farm. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

Northwest's Agricultural Learning Center opened in 2021 at the University's R.T. Wright Farm. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

About the Agricultural Learning Center

Opened during the summer of 2021, the 29,500-square-foot Agricultural Learning Center enhances the School of Agricultural Sciences and its curriculum, which today offers programs in agricultural business, agricultural education, agricultural media, agricultural science, agronomy and animal science.

Located on Northwest’s 448-acre R.T Wright Farm, the multipurpose facility features laboratories, a kitchen, classrooms, study spaces and offices as well as a large exposition space and an outdoor education plaza. It also enables innovation and partnerships while addressing best practices for the Northwest campus and agricultural sciences.

The University raised more than $6.5 million for the Agricultural Learning Center through the support of more than 200 individual gifts. Additionally, the Missouri General Assembly issued $2.5 million in state-appropriated funding for the construction.

For more information about supporting the Agricultural Learning Center and other giving opportunities at Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or advance@covenhouse.com.



Contact

Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215
660.562.1704
mhorn@covenhouse.com