April 22, 2024

New NDSU agricultural research laboratory named for pioneering plant pathologist


North Dakota State University’s new agricultural research laboratory will soon be named the Bolley Agricultural Laboratory after receiving approval from the State Board of Higher Education last month. The North Dakota Legislature appropriated $87 million for the construction of this facility during the 2023 legislative session, which has been matched with $3.6 million in philanthropic funds.

The Bolley Agricultural Laboratory will be one of the largest capital construction projects in NDSU history and will house a variety of agricultural research programs including plant pathology, plant breeding, weed science, agronomy, soil science and horticulture.

The laboratory’s namesake, Henry L. Bolley, was one of the first faculty members at North Dakota Agricultural College, now NDSU. He was also founder and coach of the university’s football team, and the first plant pathologist at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Born in Indiana and educated at Purdue University, Bolley served as the state seed commissioner from 1909 to 1929. He wrote and advocated for the North Dakota Pure Seed and Weed Law and developed the state’s Certified Seed program and an herbarium at the university. One of his proudest scientific contributions is cited as the link between barberry bushes and rust spores contaminating wheat crops, which emphasized the importance of breeding and selecting cereals for rust resistance. He taught at NDAC from 1890 to 1945 and received honorary doctorates from Purdue University and NDAC in recognition of his years of research and service.

The Bolley Agricultural Laboratory will be located on the western edge of NDSU’s campus and will overlook agricultural plots immediately adjacent to campus. It will replace many of the current field lab facilities constructed decades ago, providing NDSU scientists with the space, equipment, and technology to drive innovation in several key areas related to the state’s agricultural industry and biggest economic sector. Construction is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2024.

Submit Your News Story
Help us report what’s happening around campus, or your student news.