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Sonoma State Announces $100,000 Donation from American AgCredit for Wine Spectator Learning Center


Sonoma State’s Wine Spectator Learning CenterRohnert Park, CA (January 26, 2015)—Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics dean William Silver announced a $100,000 donation from American AgCredit for the Wine Spectator Learning Center, the first of only ten Icon-Level gifts that are slated for the project.

“As part of the Farm Credit System, our mission is to support agribusiness at all levels. The Wine Spectator Learning Center is a great example of what we can do to support education and build knowledge in the vineyard and winery industry,” said Terry Lindley, Chief Marketing Officer at American AgCredit. “We’re proud to support Sonoma State and the Wine Business Institute. This premier educational facility will be a great benefit to our area and to the whole industry.”

“American AgCredit is a perfect partner in the Center. They invest in agriculture and the wine business by offering financial services, while our work is growing the leadership pool to manage those businesses,” said Silver.

“Our programming reflects the breadth of the wine industry which stretches beyond the wineries and vineyards that we see as we drive through the bucolic North Coast to include lenders, suppliers, retailers and restaurants.  It’s a big industry that touches many lives,” explained Ray Johnson, director of the Wine Business Institute.

“The headquarters of our Association is located in the heart of the wine country. It’s not only our mission but our responsibility to give back to the community that we serve,” added Lindley.

Johnson added, “American AgCredit’s investment as the first Icon-Level donor demonstrates the very same leadership and vision that they have for their business: investing in relationships that grow the industry and the community.” The ten Icon-Level gifts will equip the Wine Spectator Learning Center with the best tools for learning and sharing inside the classroom and out.

“Imagine working on a team project when one of your teammates is in Australia and the other is in Burgundy, but you – and all the other teams in your class – meet regularly at tables equipped to put you face-to-face, solving a case study or developing business plans,” explained Silver, who is also a professor of management with expertise in leadership and experiential learning.

A team of faculty along with Sonoma State’s instructional technology experts and Wine Business Institute board member Douglas Thornley, a principal of Gould Evans who has an extensive background in architectural practice for the wine industry and education, are identifying the collaborative tools and approaches that will create a best-in-class learning experience for every student at the Center.

“Wineries use ‘Icon’ to identify the very best,” Silver concluded. “We are honored to receive our first Icon-Level investment from American AgCredit, one of the best organizations in the wine industry value chain.

About Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute:

Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute is located in the heart of California wine country and was created through a public-private partnership between the University and the wine industry. It offers a B.S. with a concentration in wine business strategies (since 1998), an MBA with an emphasis in wine business (since 2008), and an executive MBA in wine business (since 2012).  In addition, seminars and an online Certificate in Wine Business Management prepare students and industry professionals on topics such as accounting and finance, wine sales and marketing. Its faculty members are published experts, active researchers, and requested presenters on pressing industry topics locally and around the world. The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State’s School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution. Learn more at sonoma.edu/winebiz.

About American AgCredit:

Founded in 1916, American AgCredit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, and is the nation’s 7th largest Farm Credit cooperative. American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers throughout California, Nevada, Central Kansas, Northern Oklahoma, Western Colorado, and Northern New Mexico – as well as to capital markets customers in 30 states across the nation. Financial services provided by American AgCredit include production and mortgage financing, equipment and vehicle leasing, crop and life insurance, lines of credit, and the Young, Beginning and Small farmer program. In addition, the Association provides interest-free loans for qualifying 4-H and FFA AgYouth programs, as well as college scholarships to young people interested in agriculture. For more information about American AgCredit’s financial services, call 800-800-4865 or visit the website at agloan.com for a listing of offices by region.

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