Retired professor hopes to inspire ag students with $5,000 award

portrait of Eldon Bud AupperleA Black Hawk College professor who retired in 1988 wants to inspire agriculture students to do well in school and in the community. He hopes the possibility of receiving a $5,000 award when they graduate will motivate them to do their best.

Professor emeritus Eldon “Bud” Aupperle and his wife, Virginia, recently enhanced the Aupperle Recognition Fund with a $50,000 donation to the Black Hawk College East Foundation. The gift will be used annually to provide a $5,000 award to an ag student who is selected for the new Outstanding Agricultural Graduate Award.

Bud Aupperle intends for the award to go to an “overall outstanding person,” not just a student with good grades, but someone who also is involved in the college and the community.

“My philosophy is to develop the students beyond the classroom, which makes them a better individual in life,” he said.

Aupperle was the first of six original faculty members hired at the East Campus in the late 1960s. His role was to develop the agriculture program for the new campus. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ag education and experience starting a high school vocational-agricultural program at Warren School in Monmouth, IL, he was ideally suited for the job.

Aupperle developed and taught ag courses at the East Campus from 1967-88, touching the lives of thousands of students. During his first year, he organized the Agri-Business Club and in 1972, he started the Agri-Business Club Alumni (ABCA). Even after he retired from teaching, Aupperle continued to stay connected to the college through the ABCA. For 37 years, he was the group’s executive secretary, until retiring from that position in 2009.

“Bud is a huge part of our campus’ deep history,” said Danielle Williams, executive director of the BHC East Foundation. “This generous contribution proves how much the college means to him and Virginia.”

Longtime BHC East Foundation donors, the Aupperles recently decided to make a major donation.

“I wanted to recognize the most outstanding ag student each year,” Bud Aupperle said. “Furthermore, it should motivate the individual to do their best.”

Students will not apply for the award. A selection committee will choose the recipient, and the award will be presented each spring at the Ag Recognition Banquet. The first award will be given this May.

“Bud knew what he wanted his legacy to be and now that will come to life,” Williams said. “We are grateful for the Aupperles’ investment in Black Hawk College students.”

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