PULLMAN  – When the first irrigation water from the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project flowed through the sage brush of Quincy, Keith F. Kirkbride was there launching a program at the high school to educate the area’s future farmers.

Now, Kirkbride’s sons, Frank and Charlie Kirkbride, are launching a scholarship program at WSU to honor the late vocational agriculture education teacher. The Keith F. Kirkbride Vocational Agriculture Education Endowed Scholarship will go to one or more WSU students seeking a career in vocational ag education or with demonstrated leadership capacity and capabilities in vocational ag education.

“Dad was dedicated to the vocational education of all his students, said Frank Kirkbride. “He believed that no matter what a person’s skill level they were entitled to the best education he could provide,” Frank Kirkbride and his brother are challenging former students of their father to add to the endowment with personal donations.

Keith Kirkbride graduated in 1952 from then-Washington State College with a degree in vocational agriculture education. A year later, he started the vocational ag program at Quincy High School, the same year the first irrigation waters arrived in the area. Agriculture was just starting in the region with new farmers entering the valley every day. He later went on to earn his Master of Education degree from WSU in 1969 and became the director of Vocational Programs in the Spokane Community College system.

“From sage brush to productive farms, Keith Kirkbride helped shape the Quincy Valley through education and his dedication to the students and community,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “This scholarship honors his commitment to and impact on what is now one of the most important agricultural areas in the state.”

More information about how to donate to the scholarship endowment is available by contact CAHNRS Development Director Caroline Troy at ctroy@wsu.edu or 509/335-4166.