Melvin Hamre was born in 1932, and grew up in Edgewood, just north of Puyallup, where his family carved a home farm out of the timbered area that had not yet been settled. They raised their own animals for meat, milk and eggs, and maintained a large garden. His father worked at logging camps, and then mills, and his mother was a busy farm housewife. When demand for food increased during WWII, the family had a flock of 500 laying hens. Melvin graduated from Fife High School in 1950, where he had focused on vocational agriculture and was involved in FFA. Upon entering Washington State College in fall of 1950, Melvin got a job working in the audio-visual center in the basement of the Holland Library as a projectionist and film inspector. During his junior and senior year he advanced to chief projectionist and assistant chief technician, and received one of the top student wages of $1 per hour. He also received a Sears-Roebuck Foundation Scholarship his freshman and sophomore years. Melvin earned his BS degree from WSU in 1954, and then his Master of Education degree in 1961. He taught eighth grade math and science for three years and then served in the Army for two, before going on to graduate study at Purdue University. Here he earned his Master of Science in 1963 and his Ph.D in 1966. Melvin spent his professional career at the University of Minnesota, in the Departments of Animal Science and Extension Service in extension, teaching and research assignments, largely in the poultry production, processing and marketing areas. He retired in 1995. Having worked his way through college, Melvin is aware of the financial needs of students from working family backgrounds and the help even small scholarships can bring. By establishing this scholarship, he hopes to help today’s students get over the financial hurdle of paying for their education. He also pays tribute to WSU and its faculty for the excellent education he received during his years as a Cougar.
Distributions from this Fund shall be used to benefit undergraduate students from the state of Washington pursuing degrees in the agricultural and food sciences, including but not limited to the following disciplines: agronomy, crop and soil sciences, plant pathology, horticulture, entomology, animal science, and food science. The scholarship shall be awarded based on a combination of both need and merit.