Allan Goecker (right) and Morgan Winder pose for a photo at the College of Agriculture Scholarship Dinner in September. Photo provided by Purdue Agricultural Advancement.
Goecker rescues history from the dustbin of AGAD building
Allan Goecker's makeshift office is located in a dark storage room in the attic of the Agricultural Administration Building. His iMac sits on a card table with a single lamp - both brought from home - and is connected to an extension cord, because there's only one outlet in the whole room.
When the old Mac finally boots up, he shows me the project he's been working on for almost two years: identifying and indexing more than 2,100 articles from the Agriculturist magazine beginning with the year 1906. They're all meticulously organized into labeled folders. ask to see an article about soil judging, and in moments he prints me a copy of the fall 1969 edition of the Agriculturist featuring a photo of the Region 3 travelling trophy for soil judging, which my soil judging team had won the past two years.
It's an amazing feat. If Goecker, even in retirement, hadn't done this work, all of this information would have been lost to history. And this issue of the Agriculturist may never have been published.
In a way, Goecker's involvement with the Agriculturist has bookended his relationship with Purdue. He rose through the ranks as an undergraduate (working as a staff writer and eventually editor), and the magazine kept him around in retirement after a 40-year career in student services.