Sterling College is starting the school year with several small new buildings, as well as renovations to the newly named Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.
As a Sterling College Trustee, Rian Fried spearheaded the school’s divestment of fossil fuel company stocks. He died suddenly last year at the age of 65.
Standing near turkey pens close to the site of two new small buildings for horseshoeing and composting, and Sterling President Matthew Derr said naming the cluster of facilities supporting programs in sustainable agriculture and food systems is a fitting legacy to Fried.
“A great loss to his family of course who have remained close to the College, and also his colleagues, he was the founder of Clean Yield Assets Management and a real leader in looking at socially responsible investing,” Derr said
And donors are investing in Sterling. The Center’s expansion is funded by a $250,000 challenge grant from an anonymous foundation, and this weekend Sterling will announce a new million dollar donation. As Derr points to the grassy site for a new draft horse barn, he says the school is not embarking on a big capital campaign, and is working hard to renovate small barns built by students 25 years ago.
“It’s great to expand the facility but also to recognize that these buildings have not reached the end of their lives but just the beginning of their lives,” Derr said.
The school has survived financial challenges but now 125 students are enrolled — up about 25 percent from two years ago.