The modern day College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) was founded in 1870, through provisions of the Morrill Act. The Ohio General Assembly used these funds to create the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College on "Neil Farm" just north of Columbus. In 1878 the name was changed to The Ohio State University and the educational emphasis shifted toward a liberal arts education rather than agricultural and mechanical arts. This alienated the agricultural community within the state, and many boycotted the university, so in 1882, an attempt was made to heal this rift with the establishment of an agricultural experiment station at the university. The new experiment station (OAES) was incorporated with the university farm.
The Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station was relocated to Wooster, OH in 1892, when the first full time director, Charles Thorne, requested that the station was separated from the University in Columbus due to political and economic reasons. By 1932 the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station included 16 experimental farms across the state, which was consolidated to 9 stations in 1960. The name was changed to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in 1965 and the center officially merged with The Ohio State University in 1982, 100 years after the station was first established.
The Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institue (ATI) was established in 1969, on a 30-acre plot of OARDC land officially designated for ATI use by the state legislature. The institute is the associate-degree-granting unit of CFAES and has a statewide mandate to provide comprehensive agricultural education. ATI maintains close relationships with the OARDC and The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE).
As a modern land grant college, our mission encompases teaching, research, and outreach, all three of which occur on the Wooster campus.
Teaching: The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) is an associate degree granting academic unit within CFAES. ATI focuses on hand-on learning in STEM fields related to food, agriculture, and the environment. ATI has an open-admissions status, making it essential to the university's role as a land grant university.
Research: The Wooster OARDC is one of 11 centers across Ohio that make up the research arm of the college. There are 9 outlying research stations, in addition to the Wooster and Columbus campuses. The mission of The OARDC is to enhance the well-being of the people of Ohio, the nation and world through research on foods, agriculture, family and the environment.
Outreach: Ohio State University Extension brings the knowledge of the university directly to the public. Extension fulfills the land-grant mission by translating science-based knowledge into information that Ohioans can use to help them improve their lives, businesses, and communities. There are extension personnel located on the Wooster Campus, in addition to the Wayne County Extension office located in downtown Wooster.