April 11, 2019 – Reynolds Alumni Ctr.

2008 Distinguished Service Award: Al McQuinn

Al McQuinn

Al McQuinn and his wife, Mary Agnes, have been donors to MU since 1962. After earning a bachelor's degree in 1954, McQuinn served in the U.S. Army for three years and then began working with the Federal Chemical Company as a salesman. In 1963, he went into business for himself, starting the Ag-Chem Equipment Company.

The firm grew into a multi-million-dollar international company. McQuinn's groundbreaking inventions brought the industry into the modern era using global positioning satellite technology to assist farmers in delivering fertilizers in precise concentrations to exact locations for maximum production. The innovation has made American agriculture the most efficient in the world. McQuinn was named one of the "Top 10 Influencers that Shaped 20th Century Agriculture."

"By taking significant financial risks in establishing their firm, they provided excellent opportunities for hundreds of workers," said Food Science Professor Emeritus Robert Marshall. "Ultimately, the benefits have accrued to all of us who now enjoy better food at lower costs. In addition, their successes made possible their gifting to our University as well as others."

McQuinn co-chaired CAFNR's campaign steering committee and helped the college exceed its $60 million goal. He led by example, and the personal gifts of McQuinn and his wife were a major factor in the campaign's success.

"While Al's support for his undergraduate program knows few bounds, he and Mary Agnes have reached beyond agriculture to support the arts at MU," said David Housh, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations. "They commissioned a sculpture to adorn the McQuinn Atrium in the Life Sciences Center."


— Darcy Wells, executive director for advancement at CAFNR

"As our first executive-in-residence, Al shared his knowledge with faculty, staff and students," said Darcy Wells, executive director for advancement at CAFNR. "I personally benefitted from his counsel and advice based on his years of service and philanthropy to many nonprofit organizations and educational entities. We worked together, along with the rest of the committee, and were able to raise an unprecedented total in private gifts for the college."

McQuinn has also been recognized with the Ag Alumni Association's Alumnus of the Year Award, the Mizzou Alumni Association's Faculty-Alumni Award, the Ag Retailers Association's Man of the Year Award and, most recently, the Rudy C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association.

"He was also inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 1988 and in 1993 received the Citation of Merit from the MU Ag Alumni Association," said Roger Mitchell, Dean Emeritus. "In 1996 he was named the University of St. Thomas' Entrepreneur of the Year and in 1997 earned the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Minnesota and the Dakotas."

"He truly believes this university shaped his dreams and provided him with the knowledge to achieve them," Wells said. "He is the perfect candidate for the Frederick B. Mumford Distinguished Service Award."