Helwigs invest in naming department of biological and agricultural engineering

The naming of the department in the Helwigs’ honor was approved KBOR on March 18. (File photo)

The department of biological and agricultural engineering has a new name thanks to an investment by Carl and Melinda Helwig.

The Kansas Board of Regents approved the naming of the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering on March 18.

“The Helwig’s decision to honor and support the college with this naming is a much appreciated and valued endorsement of our biological and agricultural engineering department,” Gary Clark, interim dean of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, said. “Carl and Melinda’s extraordinary financial gifting will go a long way toward ensuring a continued quality educational experience for our students.”

The Helwigs own Helwig Farms in Columbus, Kansas, and raise wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum. Neither attended Kansas State, but this isn’t the first time the Helwigs have invested in the biological and agricultural engineering programs on campus.

Over the past few years, the couple has invested in and transformed the university’s award winning quarter-scale tractor team.

“We are honored to support K-State as it educates the next generation of engineering professionals,” Carl Helwig said in a statement published by the KSU Foundation. “We have had a good life, been fortunate in grain production and we’ve enjoyed the thrill of competition. We want students to have every opportunity to be on top.”

Current faculty and staff of the department are thrilled to see how the Helwigs’ investment will transform the college, university and all of the emerging opportunities for students that will come from it.

“The Carl and Melinda Helwig naming gift for the department will positively influence the collegial experience of our young people,” Joe Harner, professor and biological and agricultural engineering department head, said. “Their generosity will expand creative inquiry opportunities enabling more students to participate in extracurricular activities and research discovery.”