Auburn names Pilgrim's Education Classroom

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Pilgrim's gift to Auburn: Officials from Pilgrim's Pride Corp. recently presented a $500,000 donation to Auburn University's Miller Poultry Research and Education Center. A teaching area at the center has been the Pilgrim’s Education Classroom. At the presentation were, left to right, Paul Patterson, Auburn's dean of the College of Agriculture; Jordan Moseley, AU development officer; Mitchell Pate, AU director of poultry research and Extension; Dr. S.F. (Sarge) Bilgili, AU’s interim head of the department of poultry science; Lisa Burdick, Pilgrim's head of human resources; and Jayson Penn, Pilgrim's president and CEO.

AUBURN, Ala. — A teaching space inside the flagship building at Auburn University's Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center is now the Pilgrim's Education Classroom.

The university's board of trustees approved the designation at its June 7 meeting in Auburn in recognition of Colorado-based Pilgrim's Pride Corp.'s $500,000 gift to support the 30-acre Miller Center complex north of Auburn's main campus.

Jayson Penn, Pilgrim's president and CEO, presented the gift to Auburn College of Agriculture and Department of Poultry Science leaders following his recent tour of the Miller Center units that have been completed to date.

"We are proud to support this unique, innovative facility that will help prepare future leaders in the poultry industry for success," Penn said. "This is an opportunity to invest in students, and the ideas and learning that will come about as a result of their education at the Miller Poultry Research and Education Center will greatly benefit our industry."

Pilgrim's was one of the first poultry companies to pledge its financial support to Auburn's poultry research farm relocation initiative in 2015, College of Agriculture Dean Paul Patterson said.

"Months before construction crews arrived on the site of the Miller Center, Pilgrim's committed to partnering with Auburn in our goal to advance the university's standing as a global leader in poultry research, teaching and outreach," Patterson said. "We value and are extremely grateful for our continued partnership with Pilgrim's Pride and the entire poultry industry."

The newly named Pilgrim's Education Classroom will be used primarily for various poultry science courses and for industry-related training programs and meetings. The 1,800-square-foot classroom is equipped with multimedia technology, projectors and screens, and Zoom capability, the latter of which will allow for remote conferencing and collaborations.

Construction on the Miller Center complex began in 2016 and is scheduled for completion in 2020. Already in use are a testing facility that houses the National Poultry Technology Center, two floor pen facilities for replicated broiler trials and the Administration and Education Building, which opened in April. The latter houses the Pilgrim's Classroom, a visitor’s center, the Alabama Poultry Hall of Fame and a display honoring the late Charles C. Miller Jr. and his family.

Work is underway on the final phase of the Miller Center buildout, which will include a poultry processing plant and hatchery as well as breeder, battery-cage and environmentally controlled chamber houses. The complex is adjacent to Auburn's poultry and animal nutrition center and feed mill, which has been in operation since 2012.

For more about the Miller Center, visit www.poul.auburn.edu/miller-center.

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