BY CAROL ROEHM
Danville Area Community College officials announced Tuesday the receipt of a gift of historic proportions that will allow for a $3 million expansion to be built onto the college’s technology center.
At a gathering of dignitaries and community members late Tuesday morning, Danville philanthropist Julius W. Hegeler II was recognized for making “the single largest gift in the history of the college,” DACC President Alice Marie Jacobs said.
“There have been many historic days at DACC, but none like the gathering now,” DACC board chair David Harby said.
“This is an announcement that will change the lives of students for generations to come,” he said.
Hegeler, who has served on the DACC Foundation board for 24 years, has pledged to donate $100,000 each year to fund the interest payment on a $3 million bond issuance that DACC trustees authorized later on Tuesday for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the Harry J. Braun Technology Center.
Jacobs also announced Hegeler has arranged for a planned gift of $3 million to the DACC Foundation upon his death and that the addition to technology center will bear the name of Julius W. Hegeler II Advanced Technology Center.
The addition will house two classrooms, two training labs, two offices, a small conference room, restrooms and a storage area.
Tracy Wahlfeldt, executive director of the DACC Foundation, addressed Hegeler before the gathering of onlookers, “Your generosity is so visible. Everywhere I look, I see your influence on this campus.
“When you asked Dr. Jacobs what was needed on campus, you figured out a way to make this project happen,” she said. “It will have a lasting impact on the college for years to come.
After the ceremony, Hegeler said, “The community has been very good to me and my family, and this is a way to pay them back.
Hegeler said the idea for donating money for the technology center expansion came about when he recently ran into Jacobs.
“I saw her at the country club the other day and I asked her what was on her wish list,” he said. “I found a way to do it.”
Jacobs said constructing an addition to the technology center has been on the college’s to-do list since 2009.
“He thought about it and came up with a plan,” Jacobs said of Hegeler. “It’s a very creative way to make the project possible.”
Wahlfeldt said she was pleased to be able to celebrate Hegeler’s gift with him present because many times gifts are made to the college’s foundation posthumously.
“We’re so excited and it’s so nice we can celebrate it,” she said. “Construction will start this year and Julius will be able to watch it.
“It’s a great opportunity for students and the manufacturing community,” she said.
Hegeler’s commitment to the college also includes funding for the Garden Gateway that was dedicated in August 2009 and support for a new greenhouse in 2010.