How did the Orr Center come to be named?

Herders Matthew Perry, left, and Dan Graham look over a group of cattle in one of several rotation pastures at the Orr Beef Research Center, east of Liberty, in this 2014 file photo. | H-W File Photo
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 10, 2017 12:01 am

I read about the Orr Center and its relationship between the University of Illinois and John Wood Community College. How did it come to be named?

The Orr Research Center near Perry is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the appropriation bills that created it, and the center hosted a celebration last week.

The center is named in honor of Ralph Orr and Ralph Jr. and Mary Ellen Orr, who owned the land on which the center operates.

According to a July 23 article in The Herald-Whig written by Deborah Gertz Husar, Ralph Orr agreed to sell 278 acres of "very typical Western Illinois land" for the center after a search of nearly 30 sites.

The $417,900 state appropriation to create the research center required a 25 percent local match, which was raised by a group of supporters.

The center was officially dedicated Sept. 19, 1979. An adjacent beef center opened in 1990, and JWCC classroom space dates to 1980.

The Orr Center serves Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Morgan, Pike, Schuyler and Scott counties.

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