$250,000 swine education fund gift will enhance student experience

Students holding pigs
Student working with pig
student holding pig
Dr. Charles Heidenreich
Dr. Charles Heidenreich

Dr. Charles Heidenreich first left his mark on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville when he joined the university in 1966 to teach and help grow Pioneer Farm. Now, more than half a century later, Heidenreich’s impact on the university’s agriculture programs is continuing to grow thanks to a $250,000 endowed gift.  

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Heidenreich’s gift and contributions to the agriculture program will be honored in a ceremony to dedicate the Charles J. Heidenreich Swine Education Area at Pioneer Farm.

Heidenrich had an unwavering passion for the study of livestock, which drew him from his position at Purdue University to UW-Platteville. “My mom still likes to relate the story about his decision in 1966 to leave Purdue University,” said Heidenreich’s daughter, Cheryl Rowan. “Then Dean Earl Butz, who later became the Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Nixon and Ford, told him ‘No one leaves Purdue University.’ But Dad did, in large part, to develop the newly acquired acreage which has become the Pioneer Farm.”

Heidenreich was influential in growing Pioneer Farm. Most notably, he was the driving force behind the development of a facility to raise hogs in confinement, which was a relatively new concept at the time. He also brought horses to Pioneer Farm and taught courses in horse production and horsemanship. He was instrumental in bringing the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s rodeo to Platteville for two years in the mid 1970s.

After retiring from UW-Platteville in 1990, Heidenreich moved to Fredericksburg, Texas. He passed away in November 2018.

“My mother and our family are honored to name this space and create an endowment fund to honor the legacy of Charles J. Heidenreich and his service to the university and the state of Wisconsin by continuing to support the education of future generations of students who, like he was, are passionate about the study of livestock,” said Rowan.

The Charles J. Heidenreich Fund will support high-impact practices and experiential learning – such as study tours and undergraduate research – for students in UW-Platteville’s School of Agriculture, particularly those who are studying in the area of swine and livestock. The fund will also support a stipend for a student worker position in the swine facility at Pioneer Farm.

“The generous gift from the Heidenreich family, in memory of Dr. Charles Heidenreich, will enrich the educational opportunities for students pursuing swine and livestock education in the School of Agriculture,” said Dr. Rami Reddy, director of UW-Platteville’s School of Agriculture. “This is a great gift that will support student employees who are learning by doing, while working at the Pioneer Swine Center and enable several recruitment activities, undergraduate research opportunities, and hands-on projects. This gift will boost the operational efficiency and support the development of the swine education program. We highly appreciate the kindness of the Heidenreich family and it is fitting to dedicate a swine education area in the name of Dr. Charles J. Heidenreich at the Pioneer Farm in his memory and to keep the legacy of his service to the university and community.”

The dedication ceremony on Aug. 27 will begin with a Swine Facility and Animal Science program virtual tour at 1:15 p.m. in the QLF Atrium inside the Agriculture Technology Center on Pioneer Farm.

“Their philanthropic vision will provide a lifetime of support for the animal science students at UW-Platteville,” said Sandie Brick-Margelofsky, senior development officer at UW-Platteville.

For more information about the ceremony or to support the fund, contact Brick-Margelofsky at brickmas@uwplatt.edu.