ECC receives $2.5 million pledge

Agriculture education at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls received a $2.5 million boost thanks to a pledge from Robert and Arlene Hamilton, of West Des Moines.

The Hamiltons were longtime farmers and entrepreneurs north of Iowa Falls.

The couple donated $1 million in 2007 in support of a campaign that helped bring the Agriculture and Renewable Energy Center and the equestrian center to Ellsworth.

The facilities are part of the Hamilton campus of ECC on the southern end of Iowa Falls.

This $2.5 million pledge will support agriculture scholarships of $5,000 to students and the eventual establishment of a chair of the agriculture program at the college.

ECC is part of the Iowa Valley Community College District, which is based in Marshalltown.

“We are very appreciative of the Hamiltons’ incredibly generous donation,” said Iowa Valley Chancellor Chris Duree. “An endowment of this magnitude just doesn’t come along to any community college every day.”

Nancy Muecke, provost at Ellsworth, said the generous gift from the Hamiltons will continue the growth in the ag program, which started with the previous pledge by the couple.

“The Hamiltons’ generosity will assist us in growing, innovating and serving students in ways that would not be possible otherwise,” Muecke said.

Kevin Butt, an agriculture professor at ECC, said this grant will propel the ECC ag program to new heights. They will be able to add an instructor for the expected increase in students.

“This is a big thing for our program,” Butt said. “It’s an awesome gift and opens up more possibilities.”