Skip to main content

Collins Endowment Fulfilling Promise

Matthew Vann in his office at NC State University.

Dr. Bill Collins’ 2014 dream to endow and promote the NC State tobacco program is a reality in the person of Dr. Matthew Vann, who thanks to the generosity of Dr. Collins’ endowment is now a second tobacco agronomist and extension specialist in the program.

Formally known as the Dr. William K. Collins Tobacco Agronomist Position in Research, Teaching and Extension Endowment, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State and Dr. William K. Collins Distinguished Professorship, this endowment provides support to continue research, extension and teaching in the specialized discipline of flue-cured tobacco production. North Carolina native Collins is a retired CALS crop science professor and Extension tobacco specialist as well as a world-leading tobacco production expert and international ambassador for the U.S. tobacco industry.

Dr. Vann is appreciative of Collins’ generosity. “In the past there have always been at least two positions, but there’s only been one for the past decade. This endowment funds a dedicated faculty level, tenure-track tobacco agronomist and extension specialist.  The endowment has greatly benefited our department, the Cooperative Extension Service and tobacco producers, as well as the industry.”

Tobacco farming has long history in North Carolina and NC State has dominated as an information source, researching tobacco and aiding farmers around the world. Important information was received from the university, and that tradition continues.

Today’s research includes a biofuel initiative, alternative fuels, and plant extractable compounds. Tobacco has been and can be “a very good income crop.”

In the past two years, the endowment has grown to $8.5 million, within reach of the $10 million goal. Dr. Loren Fisher, tobacco professor and Extension specialist emphasizes, “This ensures perpetual support of the NC State tobacco program and tobacco growers, for agricultural research and extension as well as teaching.”

Read Dr. Vann’s latest Extension report:

 — By Kaki Carl