The agriculture department at a local community college is receiving an $18 million endowment made possible by a pair of farmers from Macon County.
This eight-figure donation is being given to Lincoln Land Community College from the estate of Charles and Irene Kreher, who recently passed away. The $18 million fund is expected to generate $500-thousand dollars in interest per year, which is to be used for various agriculture-related scholarships.
WLDS’ Farm Program Director Roger Ward spoke with Lincoln Land’s Agriculture Program Coordinator Bill Harmon, who says he was somewhat shocked and certainly thrilled to receive such a substantial endowment.
“Thursday we were able to announce that a calumniation of a 7 year long process, of a charitable trust given to the college, given to us by a couple of farmers named Charles and Irene Kreher. They gave their entire estate to a trust and Lincoln Land will receive the income from that trust going forward in perpetuity. The size of the gift is eye popping especially coming from a community college, those are the kind of dollars we hear universities get. But then to say it is strictly going toward one program, still hard to believe it happen.” said Harmon.
Aside from the scholarships, the remaining money generated by interest will go towards improvements to LLCC’s AG program for things such as expanding dual-credit opportunities for high school students and upgraded technology like drones and GPS systems. Some of this money also plans to be used for the purchase of a simulator device that helps students learn how to properly use larger agriculture equipment.
Harmon breaks down the numbers.
“The numbers are not based on return, but the portfolio contains farm land, stocks, bonds and other assets. Lincoln Land should receive at a minimum of $500,000 a year going forward. Depending on the year and what’s going on in the markets, maybe closer to $800,000.” said Harmon.
LLCC looks to also use the money to help boost marketing as well.
Harmon talks about how this will attract more area people to the program.
” Some things we bring, that’s true of any other community college, class size. For any, a student who is concerned about going off to any university and sitting in a class of 100 or 200 people. If they come here, our average class is 17 so it is going to be very similar to what they are used to in high schools. They are going to have one on one interaction with the professor and not a teaching assistant. We are going to know these students, why they are here and what they want to do after Lincoln Land. Lincoln Land is a great step on their way to their way detestation for a student. We are going to be able to improve our technology with this money. We can make sure our students are working with the same tools, the same software and the same devices they would be using on the job. So when they are interviewing for a job down the road we want to make sure a Lincoln Land graduate to get that job.”Harmon said.
If someone is planning on going to a four year college, Harmon would like stress that Lincoln Land has a great relationship with schools like the University of Illinois. He says you could even start into the program sooner and have more experience under your belt. Harmon says the program has seen growth last year.