Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility honors major benefactor

With a groundbreaking, naming ceremony and reception, the Texas A&M University’s department of entomology marked the start of construction of their new Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility at College Station.

The name was officially approved by the Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents during their regular business meeting in College Station in time for the naming ceremony and reception held Aug. 9 in the Texas A&M University AgriLife Center on campus.

Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp, noted, “This unique combination of excellence and selfless service is what sets Texas A&M and their partners (like the Rollins Family) apart as a unique institution in America.”

The new building, to be located at the corner of F&B Road and Agronomy Road in College Station, was named in honor of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, whose $2 million gift will help make the long-awaited dream a reality, said Dr. David Ragsdale, entomology department head at College Station.

“O. Wayne Rollins, a Georgia native, was a self-made business entrepreneur and a steward of the free enterprise system,” said his granddaughter, Amy Kreisler, Atlanta, Ga.

Kreisler said her grandfather and his brother John participated in numerous successful business ventures, including radio and television stations, cable television, oil field services, truck leasing, boat manufacturing, real estate and – most famously – the 1964 purchase of Orkin, the first documented leveraged buyout in U.S. business history.

Following his death in 1991, his sons, Randall and Gary Rollins, have continued to build the Rollins companies, she said. Today, the publicly traded Rollins businesses include Rollins Inc., of which Orkin LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary, as well as other pest control companies such as Home Team Pest Defense, Western Pest Services, The Industrial Fumigant Company, Waltham Services, Crane Pest Control and Trutech Inc. RPC Inc. and Marine Products Corporation are two other NYSE companies affiliated with the Rollins.

“In 1967, my grandfather created The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation,” Kreisler said. “It continues with the mission of now four generations of the Rollins family, which is to support medical research and public health issues at leading colleges and universities.

“We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Dr. Roger Gold and the Texas A&M University’s department of entomology by supporting this new facility.”

Ragsdale said the Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility will be paired with the department’s Endowed Chair for Urban and Structural Entomology to provide a world-class facility to conduct Texas A&M AgriLife Research, teaching and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service programs for decades to come.

“We are thankful for the Rollins family’s generous gift,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M. “The Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility will ensure Texas A&M remains at the forefront of urban entomology. This state-of-the-art facility will aid our faculty, staff and students in the discovery, development and implementation of the research findings needed to control insects in and around homes and businesses.”

Gold currently holds the Endowed Chair for Urban and Structural Entomology and has since it was created in 1989. Ragsdale credited Gold with the vision for creating the facility.

“There are some 3,500 businesses in Texas alone that provide pest control services,” Ragsdale said. “These businesses employ nearly 15,000 technicians who must be licensed to use insecticides in and around structures. The Rollins facility, by partnering with AgriLife Extension, will provide unbiased evaluation of research data and transform those findings into relevant training for the professional pest control practitioner. Equally important to the mission of Texas A&M, this facility will continue the teaching legacy that Dr. Roger Gold has begun at Texas A&M for yet another generation of Aggies.”

Gold said the 11,000-square-foot building estimated to cost $4 million will house laboratories, conference rooms, offices and training areas. It also will include space for insect rearing and chemical and molecular analysis.

“Specifically, the new facility will be tasked with housing a dynamic program that will continue to support the professional pest management industry and the public interests in Texas and beyond,” Gold said.

For more information contact Monica Delisa, assistant vice president for development, Texas A&M AgriLife, 979-847-9314, m-delisa@tamu.edu

 

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