CFAES Give Today
Ohio State ATI

CFAES Wooster


Ohio State ATI History


Established in 1969, Ohio State ATI has a statewide mandate to provide comprehensive agricultural education. The institute is the associate-degree-granting unit of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and maintains close relationship with The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), and The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE).

Dr. Jerry Halterman was appointed director in 1969 and ground was broken for ATI's first building in 1970, on a 30-acre plot of OARDC land officially designated for ATI use by the state legislature. The first ATI classes were held in 1972, with 197 students enrolled in the first fall quarter. Because the classroom building was still under construction, classes were held in OARDC's Fisher Auditorium.


The classroom building, Phase I, was dedicated in 1973. Degrees offered by ATI were horse production and management, meat animal science, wood science, agricultural research and lab science, plant nutrition and soil fertility, nursery operation and management, floriculture and greenhouse management, and cereal, field, and forage crop production.

ATI held its first commencement exercises in 1974, with 110 students receiving their associate of applied science degrees. The Apple Creek Farm, formerly owned by the Apple Creek Developmental Center, became part of ATI during this year, and the ATI Conservatory was acquired from the Black Estate in Mansfield and moved piece-by-piece to ATI's campus, where it was reconstructed.

In 1976, ground was broken on Skou Hall. Degree programs had been expanded to include beekeeping and soil/water management. The beekeeping degree program was the first two-year degree in the U.S.

Skou Hall opened in 1978, and the dairy facility was acquired from OARDC. The following year, ATI graduated its 1000th graduate.

Upon Dr. Halterman's retirement, Dr. Dan Garrison became ATI's second director in 1979. In 1987, ATI's first building was named in honor of Dr. Halterman.


In 1992, Dr. Garrison retired, and Dr. Bill Anderson became ATI's third director.

In 1996, ATI began offering its first Associate of Science (transfer) degrees, designed to provide a seamless transition for ATI students to CFAES in Columbus. The addition of transfer degrees to the curriculum brought about significant enrollment growth, necessitating the construction of additional student housing. Applewood Village Apartments opened in 1997.

ATI held its 25th commencement exercises in 1998, and in 1999, enrollment reached an all-time high of 1,031 students. In August of that year, ground was broken for two new facilities: the $1.2 million Equine Center and the $4 million Center for Education and Economic Development (CEED).


In November of 2000, the ATI Equine Center was dedicated. The Equine Center brought together ATI's breeding and equitation programs, which had previously operated out of leased facilities. In May, Dr. Chris Igodan was appointed ATI's fourth director, succeeding Dr. Anderson, who left ATI to become Dean of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls campus.

In 2001, CEED was dedicated. A gift from Nationwide Insurance to honor one of their board members, Arden Shisler, named the facility the Arden Shisler Center for Education and Economic Development.

Also in 2001, ATI was admitted into the Higher Learning Commission's Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). ATI had been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission's North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1978 and reaccredited in 1983 and 1993.

ATI was recognized in 2001 by Community College Week as the number one school in the nation in the awarding of associate degrees in agriculture and related sciences. 

In March 2001, ATI purchased the Apple Creek Farm from the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Disabilities for $1.2 million.

In 2002, Shisler Center was granted membership in the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). Conference facilities must meet a stringent set of quality criteria and agree to a Code of Ethics in order to qualify for IACC membership. The association includes approximately 400 members from around the world. There are 11 other IACC members in Ohio.

In September 2004, the Ohio State ATI admissions office launched a new admissions recruiting website, through which prospective students could build a personalized home page containing information most pertinent to their educational and extra-curricular interests. The site was awarded a silver medal in the Admissions Marketing Report Admissions national annual Advertising Awards. Approximately 25% of the students who "personalized" within the first two months of the site's launch had never previously requested information about Ohio State ATI.

In October 2004, the equine program received an estate gift of $900,000 from the late Gail T. Dennison of Micanopy, Florida, for scholarship and general program support. Gail Dennison attended Ohio State ATI in 1975. Originally from Canfield, Ohio, Gail moved to Florida, where she operated a horse training facility in Micanopy, Florida.

Dr. Stephen G. P. Nameth was appointed ATI's fifth director in December 2004.

ATI added three new associate of science (transfer) degree programs in 2004: pre-food business, transferring into the food business management program; pre-agricultural communication, transferring into the agricultural communication program; and construction science, transferring into the construction systems management program.

Six floral design and marketing students from Ohio State ATI achieved national recognition at the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) National Symposium and Student Design Competition, held July 2, 2005 in Seattle, Wash. This competition is the most prestigious student floral design competition in the nation. In addition to numerous awards for ATI team, ATI also received the first ever Top Overall School award.

ATI received two grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling more than $3 million in 2005: its sixth TRIO student support services grant to support Program Excel, and a five-year grant for instructional technology under the Strengthening Institutions Program of Title III.

In 2007, Earl and Betty Hawkins of Wooster made the largest gift in ATI history with their donation of the $4.6 million Hawk's Nest Golf Club. Hawk's Nest at Ohio State ATI is ranked four-and-a-half stars in Golf Digest "Best Places to Play 2008/2009," placing it among North America's best 201 public-access courses.

In Autumn 2008, for the first time in ATI's history, new student enrollment in associate of science programs was greater than enrollment in associate of applied science programs.

Dr. James E. Kinder was appointed interim director in August 2012.

In October 2012, ATI dedicated its new beef cattle handling facility, designed by renowned animal behaviorist Temple Grandin. It is the only facility of its kind in Ohio.

Dr. Kris Boone was appointed director in December 2016.