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Largest donation in Kirkwood's history

By Joseph Wlosinski, Taylor Monday, Faiz A Faiz
On February 15, 2016

Kirkwood Community College Dean of Agriculture Scott Ermer said he was elated when investor and farmer John Harder decided to make a substantial donation to the college’s agricultural program in memory of his late daughter.

Ermer stated, “He [Harder] knew that the college was interested in the parcel of land just up the street from us and he saw this as a way to give back to the college in his daughter’s memory.”  

Ermer said he met Harder at the initial discussions over the terms of the donation, last fall. He said the Harder family, a long time friend of Kirkwood, approached various Kirkwood administration and staff with the idea of a monetary donation and 80 acres of prime healthy land mere blocks off the main campus. The donation was finalized at approximately $1.1 million, which was used to purchase an additional 80 acres of neighboring land, according to Ermer.   

He added that this land was "beneficial to both the family and Kirkwood." The remainder of the donation will be handled by the Kirkwood Foundation, where it will be doled out in scholarships in honor of Jamie Harder. Jamie died in a tragic plane crash in 1988 when she was a senior in high school.

The agriculture program includes a fully working farm and with this land the college will be able to provide more education to students, said Ermer. He added, the family will be able to remember their daughter through this donation as well.  

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