Farm field near Cedarville University

Cedarville University honors local farmers

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer

In 1887, out of the cornfields of southwest Ohio sprouted what is today Cedarville University. The university celebrates those rural roots each year with its annual Farmers Night, held this year on Friday, Feb. 23.

The annual event started in the 1980s by former Cedarville University president Dr. Paul Dixon. Originally, the night included dinner and tickets to a Cedarville basketball game, but now the event includes dinner and a concert by successful bluegrass band Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. in the Stevens Student Center event rooms, followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. in DeVries Theatre.

“Our goal is to thank local farmers for being good neighbors,” said Jeff Beste, executive director of parent and alumni relations. “Farmers Night has expanded to honoring many individuals in agriculture, including parents of current students or alumni. The event is simply a time of gratefulness to those who share the town of Cedarville with us.”

The program during dinner will include comments from Albert Grunenwald, associate vice president for development and former executive director of the Iowa 4-H Foundation. Dr. Thomas White, president of Cedarville University, will also speak, and Dr. Robert Paris, assistant professor of biology, will update guests on Cedarville’s agriculture program.

Paris will bring nine of his students to the event to interact with local farmers. Two students will speak to the guests, looking for opportunities to share their faith as well as their stories.

“For Cedarville students, it is a great way for them to start establishing connections outside the academic world and see how the local agricultural community functions,” said Paris. “I always enjoy finding ways for the community to see the types of students that we have at Cedarville and how the Lord is making a difference in their lives.”

The program will also include a screening of a video of the Barth family, successful farmers in Enon Valley, Pennsylvania. The Barth family’s relationship with Cedarville University goes back several generations. Charles and Carolyn Barth were recognized as the 2013 honorary alumni of the year and Charles Barth’s late father, Charles Barth Sr., served on Cedarville’s board of trustees.

“I am happy for the farming community to have a chance to see what is happening on the campus of Cedarville University,” said Paris. “During their daily routine they usually don't have too much interaction with the University, so it is nice to let them know what is happening within their own community.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit