Dr. Leroy Everson spent more than 30 years at Iowa State University (ISU) as a seed scientist and served as Director of the Seed Science Center (SSC), until his retirement in 1980. The father of four and former Navy lieutenant commander passed away in 2005, yet his legacy at ISU lives on through the generosity of his children.
For the past seven years John Everson, along with his sisters, Karin Everett, Grace Turley, and Mary Everson, continued funding the seed science scholarship established by their father and the annual seed symposium named in their parents’ honor.
Dr. Everson, who married his wife Barbara in 1941, was a recognized leader in standardizing and improving seed testing methodologies all around the world. Dr. Manjit Misra, current director of the Seed Science Center, said he had the good fortune to work with him and be inspired by his commitment to collaboration. The Leroy and Barbara Everson Global Seed Symposium and the seed scholarships help the SSC honor the work of Dr. Everson by advancing seed science.
“The scholarship funds are instrumental in attracting quality graduate students for conducting seed research,” Misra said. “While the symposium has allowed the center to provide a forum to discuss and address global seed issues.”
John Everson envisioned that the symposium would provide a medium to discuss and address critical issues and current topics of interest within the seed industry, agriculture in general, and the public. He wanted to see seed experts from around the globe gather at the university his father loved to review and discuss cutting-edge research and offer perspectives on agriculture and seed science and technology, socio-economic, regulatory, and related issues.
“The Symposium's general purpose is to promote and advance seed science and technology and secondarily to celebrate and honor the work and legacy of my father, Dr. LeRoy Everson,” Everson said. “It is my intent that this fund and the symposium enhance global cooperation, communications, and co-existence to provide sustainable global solutions.”
Everson adds, the ISU-SSC is a critical national and international resource, a center of excellence, and provides timely research and analysis and thoughtful input to address a myriad of global as well as domestic issues.
John received his Bachelor of Science degree from ISU in 1968 where he met his wife, Elaine. John later pursued studies in fruit science and agriculture engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In 2000, John and Elaine purchased a 75-acre farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built a home. They planted the vineyard in 2005 and sold their grapes to two local wineries in Fauquier Country. After his wife’s death, John also established the Elaine R. Everson Teaching Fellowship Fund with the ISU Ivy College of Business.
Dr. Misra says John Everson and his sisters have carried on the passion of Dr. Everson who always promoted excellence in education.
“When I have a conversation with the Eversons, they usually bring up how education is the key to solving many societal issues,” Misra said.
Pictured below: Left, John and Elaine Everson, 1993; Middle, Dr. Leroy and Barbara Everson, 1943; Right, John Everson attending the 2019 Leroy and Barbara Everson Global Seed Symposium.