What Wye means to the USM Foundation?
Well, we have to go all the way back to 1937. That was the year that Arthur A. Houghton, on a sightseeing excursion to the Eastern Shore, decided to buy the Wye Plantation in Queenstown, MD. The Wye Plantation was once the home of William Paca, one of the early governors of Maryland and the only non-Anglo-Saxon signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Mr. Houghton was CEO of Steuben Glass, a division of Corning Glass Company, and great grandson of the founder of Corning Glass Works. Upon purchasing the Wye Plantation, Mr. Houghton hired Jim Lingle as manager. Mr. Lingle's dream was to "create greater beef cattle than the world had ever known; cattle that would be great in size, great in quality and economically profitable."
Mr. Houghton wanted to apply principles of the corporate world to the cattle business with regards to his herd, and in the 1950's asked the animal husbandry department at the University of Maryland, College Park to help with performance testing, research, and record keeping. In the late 1960's the cattle industry transitioned to large-framed cattle and the Wye Plantation was perfectly positioned to take advantage of this change as they had been ahead of the trend producing large cattle from the inception of the herd, which allowed them to establish a lasting impact on the national Angus herd.
In 1979, Mr. Houghton, who was a member of more than 100 organizations dedicated to education and the arts, donated the Wye Herd to the University of Maryland at College Park. The USM Foundation had been newly created, and the Wye Herd was its founding gift. The Wye Angus program continues today as part of the UMCP College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. So when a USM Foundation staffer starts talking about a bull market it might not be a comment on what's happening on Wall Street!
For an in-depth history of the Wye Herd you can visit the following page or purchase The Breed of Noble Bloods by James B. Lingle.