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York College Establishes Appell Environmental Horticulture Program with Support from Powder Mill Foundation; Millbourne Estate Will Serve as Learning Lab for Students

December 16, 2020
A beautifully manicured courtyard, complete with shaped hedges, a fountain pool, cherry blossoms trees, and flowers
Gardens at Millbourne estate.

York College of Pennsylvania will create a major in Environmental Horticulture with a multimillion-dollar commitment from the Powder Mill Foundation, established by the late Louis J. Appell Jr. With a focus on environmental sustainability, the Appell Environmental Horticulture Program will include hands-on learning opportunities at Millbourne, Appell’s 50-acre private estate in York. Students may choose the Environmental Horticulture major beginning in Fall 2021.

“This gift represents Louis Appell’s love of gardening as well as his commitment to York College,” said Michael H. Hady III, president and CEO of the Powder Mill Foundation. “A key asset to the Appell Environmental Horticulture Program at York College is the Millbourne estate, where ornamental horticulture is showcased, and where important components of the new major will be taught.”

The gift will fund construction of new laboratory and greenhouse facilities on the York College campus, the hiring of faculty with expertise needed to teach in the program, and new equipment and supplies.

Students will choose from two areas of concentration: one oriented to ornamental plants and landscaping, the other centered on food plants and their use around the globe. Food production in urban environments will be an important component, linking the major to York City endeavors for food security.

York College’s Core curriculum will allow students to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to manage fruit, vegetable, nursery and/or greenhouse production systems. Students will acquire knowledge and experience in the key areas of ecology, economic botany and taxonomy, soil science and plant nutrition, plant propagation, pest management, landscaping, economics and business. 

Students will graduate with a strong scientific base linked to marketing and business-management skills that they can apply to niche markets, as York College’s location is a prime area for horticultural production and agribusiness of many types.

“The Environmental Horticulture major is rooted in plant science and growing plants for food and landscaping purposes,” said Chuck MacVean, Dean of the Kinsley School of Engineering, Sciences and Technology, which will host the program. “York College’s program will allow students to understand and influence the production of food and ornamental plants with a global perspective of their use and how they impact global environmental phenomena.”

“York College has been the recipient of Louis Appell’s generosity for years,” said President Pamela Gunter-Smith. “Thanks to his commitment to education and passion for horticulture and the stewardship of land and natural resources, York College students in the Appell Environmental Horticulture Program will have hands-on learning opportunities that other programs simply cannot offer.”