Maple Leaf Farm owners given award for $1 million gift to Purdue Agriculture

Leaders of a Leesburg farm are being recognizing with one of Purdue University’s highest honors.

Terry and Sandra Tucker of Maple Leaf Farms were awarded the President’s Council Pinnacle Award in recognition of their recent $1 million gift to the school.

That funding was used to establish the first-ever endowed poultry science chair in Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Terry Tucker is a Purdue alumnus and CEO of Leesburg-based Maple Leaf Farms, a leading producer of duck and chicken products, which was founded in 1958 by Sandra Tucker’s father. Purdue University Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Diversity Jay Akridge presented the Pinnacle Award to the Tucker family at a reception on Purdue’s campus.

“This chair is going to ensure that we have a distinguished faculty member working in the area of poultry science research and education for years to come,” said Akridge. “We cannot say thank you enough to the Tucker family for funding this chair.”

The Tuckers’ gift was boosted to $2 million through a college of agriculture matching program to create the endowed chair, which will encourage research in key areas of the duck and broader poultry industry including physiology, immunology, disease and well-being. Purdue University faculty hope to fill the position by the start of the 2019 academic year.

“We understand the importance of poultry science research because it impacts our business on a daily basis,” said Terry Tucker. “Purdue has been a huge part of our family and business, and we are honored to be able to give back to the university and encourage research that fuels Indiana agriculture.”