The Dr. Fred Westfall Outdoor Classroom was dedicated on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in front of members of the Westfall family, Emmanuel College alumni, current students, and community members.
The classroom is named in honor of Dr. Fred Westfall. Dr. Westfall grew up on a small farm in rural SW Arkansas, where he learned the role of the small, diversified farm in both the American economy and global food supply.
For over 40 years, Dr. Westfall worked closely with local farmers, poultry companies, and agri-businesses, while working on his family farm, 10 miles from Emmanuel College, where he served as an adjunct professor.
The outdoor classroom idea came from Eric Taylor, Landscape Architect and supporter of the agriculture program as he developed a site plan for the Collins Agriculture Learning Center. The idea of having a classroom within walking distance of greenhouses, fruit and vegetables, and livestock was a bonus. After the passing of Dr. Westfall in 2020, the family approached the college to offer assistance with agriculture projects. This idea was a perfect way to remember Dr. Westfall as he loved the outdoors and spent many hours working in the woods and fields. Once the seed was planted by the family, the project began to bloom as many others began donating to the cause. Built completely from donations from family, friends, agribusiness, and alumni, this classroom is debt-free.
“The Westfall Outdoor Classroom will open many new educational opportunities for Emmanuel College and community learners,” said Agriculture Program Chair, Owen Thomason. “With the unique open design, students can enjoy God’s creation while gaining new ideas and skills for the future. The location near the Agriculture Research Station will help to connect inquiry and demonstration to a fully functional classroom. The food preparation area supports learning more about “Farm to Table” while providing food science research opportunities. Dr. Westfall was an avid learner and supporter of missions. The open design represents the opportunity to use agriculture teaching and learning to reach people for Christ around the world.”
Several members of the Westfall family were present for Saturday’s dedication. Those present included – Cindy Westfall (Fred’s Wife) Owen, Gina, Malone, and Stephanie Thomason, Matt and Janese Bennett, Paul, Suzanne, Shannon and Micah Causey, Ronny and Kathy Floyd, Eddie, Delina, Jade, Will Wester, Rick and Anna Westfall Chandler, Paul Westfall, Houston and Chloe Yuille, Will Freeman, Sherry Reese, and Meredith Dunn.
Opportunities to help put the finishing touches on the classroom are available as some components have yet to be completed. Those wishing to be a part of this activity or to learn more about the Emmanuel College Agriculture Program and the Outdoor Classroom visit http://www.ec.edu/ag or contact Owen Thomason at firstname.lastname@example.org.