Donation in honor of Jamie Lynn Harder among largest in Kirkwood history
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Jan. 11, 2016)-Kirkwood Community College has received a gift of 80 acres of farmland from prominent Iowa farmer John Harder. The donation, worth an estimated $1.1 million, is one of the largest single private gifts in the 50-year history of the college.
Located adjacent to the college's main campus in Cedar Rapids, the land will be farmed by Kirkwood's Agricultural Science department. The gift will further boost the top two-year agriculture program in the nation. Income from the farm operation will be used to create a memorial scholarship in honor of John's daughter Jamie Lynn Harder. Members of her family said she exemplified a positive spirit that will continue with the scholarship.
According to a statement by Jamie's sisters, Alexandra Harder and Jennifer Farrell:
Both of our parents have worked very hard to provide future education opportunities for local students honoring our sister and the extraordinary life she lived. Her spirit lives on through those who knew her, and we can only hope through those lives which will be improved by this donation to all future scholarship recipients.
The Harder family has roots in Benton County, which is part of Kirkwood's seven county service area. They first became acquainted with the college through a friendship with Kirkwood's President Emeritus Norm Nielsen who served as college president from 1985-2005. The relationship blossomed with Kirkwood's current President, Mick Starcevich.
"It is with great gratitude that we accept this gift," said Starcevich. "Through the Harder's generosity, many opportunities will be created for deserving students in Jamie's honor. This land represents the beginning of a permanent legacy for a young woman who was taken from the world too soon. It will be a springboard for many of our students who will go on to do incredible things in the Corridor. We will literally be planting seeds that will sprout into stories of student success."
The first 15 scholarships will be awarded in the spring of 2017. Recipients will be students who demonstrate the same entrepreneurial characteristics, community involvement and leadership skills as Ms. Harder.