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New Olds College building named after generous benefactors

Dave Werklund and Susan Norman-Werklund have given millions of dollars to Olds College of Agriculture & Technology
MVT Werklund Ag Tech Building interior
A look at a portion of the new $14 million Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre.

OLDS — The newest learning facility at the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is named after Dave Werklund and Susan Norman-Werklund, who have given millions of dollars to the college. 

That announcement was made Sept. 22. 

The new $14 million Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre officially opened to students for classes on Sept. 6. It was constructed on time and on budget, college officials said. 

Its creation was made possible, in part, because of the support and commitment from Dave Werklund and his spouse, Sue Norman-Werklund, college officials said. 

Back in March, 2017, the Werklunds gifted the college with $16 million, at that time the largest-ever personal donation to an Alberta college or technical institution. 

The tiered donation could have a total cumulative impact of $32 million if all leverage opportunities were realized, officials announced. 

The Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre features 3,000 square metres of technology-focused learning space, including a lecture theatre, three large hands-on ag-tech labs, collaboration and group areas for students, as well as a student commons space in the heart of the building.  

It will house the College’s Werklund School of Agriculture & Technology programs, including the College’s new Bachelor of Digital Agriculture Degree; the first baccalaureate degree to be offered by Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. 

A college news release said the decision to name the facility after the Werklunds was made “in recognition of their leadership, investment and unrelenting support that has transformed the College into one of Canada’s premiere agriculture and agri-food learning and research institutions.” 

“Dave and Sue are community leaders and dedicated philanthropists. Their commitment and enthusiasm for agriculture and student learning has shaped Olds College for generations of learners, producers, and industry partners," the release said. 

“The Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre is an innovative new learning centre that stands as a testament to their ardent belief in the ag leaders of tomorrow who are developing the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to evolve and transform Canada's ag sector." 

The Werklunds said in the news release: “We are honoured to have this incredible learning space named after us. The programs offered through the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology will lead the way to a revolutionary change in agricultural learning.”

“We believe in Olds College’s vision - they want to become recognized as a world-leading educator in innovation technology in the agricultural industry. 

“We firmly believe in investing in youth and education. Olds College of Agriculture & Technology was a natural choice for us because of its longstanding commitment to agriculture education.” 

Patrick Machacek, vice-president, Development & Strategy, said: “The Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre is a state-of-the-art learning facility that creates a high-tech learning environment for our students.  

“On behalf of Olds College of Agriculture & Technology, I would like to thank David and Susan for their continued support of our students and for investing their time, wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit in support of our continued growth as Canada's premiere agriculture college.”