CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 28, 2015 – The Dr. Barry and Michelle Aycock AgXplore International Agriculture Classroom has been named in the Magill Hall of Science at Southeast Missouri State University.
The naming honors the Aycocks of Parma, Missouri, who made a $25,000 gift to support program and equipment purchases, and research and experiential learning opportunities in the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture.
“The donation made by the Aycocks will allow the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture to solve critical needs as they arise,” said Dr. Chris McGowan, dean of the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. “This will insure that our students receive a quality education.”
The Aycocks also have made an additional $25,000 gift to the College of Education to support the EDvolution initiative which includes renovations to the Instructional Resource Technology Center, a high-tech learning space for education majors in the Mark F. Scully Building.
“Barry and Michelle have been extraordinarily generous with their time as well as through donations, gifts in kind, student internships and job placements since the early 2000s,” said William Holland, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “On behalf of our students, I would like to thank them for their assistance and ideas to further the opportunities for so many of our agriculture and education majors.”
Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the College of Education at Southeast, said, “The College of Education is honored to have the support of the Aycock family. Their gift helps us provide our teacher education candidates one of the most state of the art facilities in Missouri. Our students are becoming leaders in use of effective instructional technology. We could not do this without the generosity of the Aycock family.”
The Aycocks also have funded the Barry and Michelle Aycock Endowed Scholarship for agribusiness majors attending Southeast’s regional campuses in Sikeston, Malden and Kennett, Missouri.
Dr. William “Barry” Aycock graduated from Southeast in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science with a major in agronomy. He went on to earn a Master of Science from the University of Missouri and a doctorate from Southern Illinois University. He received the University’s Alumni Merit Award in 2012 and is a President’s Council and Redhawk Level Alumni Association member at Southeast. Michelle Aycock is a 2003 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
Dr. Aycock is owner of AgXplore International, LLC. He founded the company in 1999 following a cotton consulting trip to Bolivia where he lived for six months working with farmers and government officials. AgXplore, with its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Parma, Missouri, manufactures and markets fertility products that maximize crop production. The company sells products in 40 states and 14 countries with 25 sales agronomists across the world.
Dr. and Mrs. Aycock have been active with Southeast student internships and hires through their business operations for many years. AgXplore International, LLC, also has been a member of the Agribusiness Advisory Group for the advancement of Southeast’s regional campuses in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston, Missouri.
Dr. Aycock started his first business – Aycock Agricultural Services — as a cotton consultant in 1989, and in 1996 he was named the National Cotton Consultant of the Year by Cotton Farming Magazine, the youngest to ever receive the award and the only person from Missouri to ever win the award.
“That exposure catapulted me into the opportunity of being asked by the Bolivian Ambassador to the United States to come to Bolivia and work with eight farms as a cotton crop consultant,” he said.
After completing that job, Dr. Aycock returned to the United States to continue his cotton crop consulting business. He also launched a company to provide places like Bolivia, along with the United States and other countries, with high-quality fertilizers and additive products.
“What once was a hobby has turned into a satisfying and successful business,” he said, adding his Southeast degree paved the way for his agriculture career.
“My degree from Southeast helped me develop skills such as rhetorical and critical thinking skills and communication skills which have aided me a great deal in succeeding in my career path and in life,” said Dr. Aycock, who also has served on the Parma City Council and was on Gov. Jay Nixon’s transition team.