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Hall of Laureates Celebrates George Washington Carver Day

George Washington Carver Day

January 26, 2024

If you’ve heard of Dr. George Washington Carver, you probably know he worked with peanuts. However, Dr. Carver’s story is so much more than just coming up with 105 ways to prepare the peanut. A man of great faith, an inventor and researcher he spent his career supporting farmers so they could grow crops in improved soil and live better lives. In recognition of his lifetime of achievements both in and out of the lab, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds designated Feb. 1 of each year as George Washington Carver Day in Iowa. Dr. Carver is only the third person to receive this honor, alongside President and Iowan Herbert Hoover and Dr. Norman Borlaug, Iowan and founder of the World Food Prize.

About the George Washington Carver Day Event

We invite you to join us at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates on Thursday, Feb. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We celebrate Dr. Carver every day through artwork, and artist Mary Kline-Misol will talk about her piece in the Iowa Gallery which depicts Dr. Carver and his correspondence with Indian independence leader and activist Mahatma Gandhi in the early 1930s. We will also be hosting a storytime for children, and a performance of Paxton Williams’ George Washington Carver one-man show. The event is free and open to the public.

George Washington Carver Day

Who is George Washington Carver?

Born in Missouri in the early 1860s, Dr. Carver first came to Iowa to study art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Encouraged by his teacher, Etta Budd, he enrolled at the Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) to study botany — the school’s first African-American student. His work with plant diseases and fungi ultimately earned him a Master of Science Degree in 1896. While at Iowa State University, Dr. Carver befriended a young Henry A. Wallace, taking him on nature walks and encouraging his interest in botany; Wallace would go on to develop Copper Cross hybrid corn and found Hi-Bred Corn Company in 1926 (later known as Pioneer Hi-Bred). After graduating, Dr. Carver was invited to lead the Agricultural Department at the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington, and he spent 47 years teaching generations of black students in the classroom, as well as farmers out in the field using his Jesup wagon. He also published 44 agricultural bulletins covering a variety of topics including soil health, crop rotation, new crop varieties and livestock.

For a schedule of events and more information, please visit our George Washington Carver Day event page.

From Pride to Juneteenth to the Latino Heritage Festival, big, inclusive events are par for the course in Greater Des Moines (DSM). But there are smaller events celebrating diversity here, too. Attend one of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Multicultural Receptions, an event celebrating veterans or a sensory-friendly event in the region. Learn more here.

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World Food Prize Foundation

World Food Prize Foundation elevates innovations and inspires action to sustainably increase quality, quantity and availability of food for all.