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President Al Goldfarb, seated (left), and Dr. Jim Wehrly, seated (right), with Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Dan Hendricks, standing (left) and College of Business and Technology Associate Dean Larry Wall, standing (right).
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Ag Finance Scholarship Established at WIU

March 6, 2008

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MACOMB, IL -- As a professor teaching agricultural finance in the department of agriculture at Western Illinois University, Jim Wehrly thought it would be great if there were a scholarship to encourage more students to become serious about the subject. However, financial considerations precluded his establishing such a scholarship at that time. Wehrly was a professor of agricultural economics at Western from 1969 until his retirement in 1992.

Since retiring, Wehrly saved his pennies; and when he had five million pennies, he took them to Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Dan Hendricks' office to endow an agricultural finance scholarship. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded each year to a junior student who has demonstrated a genuine interest in agricultural finance. The student will be required to complete a specified course of study as part of his/her college program. The scholarship will be awarded for one year, and will be renewable for a second year if the student shows normal progress toward completion of the course of study during his/her junior year.

Wehrly has spent all of his professional life in agricultural professions. Prior to joining Western's faculty, he was professor of agricultural economics and a research economist at Texas A&M University, a county agricultural extension agent in Indiana and a resident farm manager, in addition to having been reared on an Illinois farm. As a professor in Western's department of agriculture, Wehrly's main duty was teaching undergraduate courses in farm management, agricultural finance, and farm income tax management and reporting. He was active in the American Association of Agricultural Economics, the Illinois Association of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the International Agricultural Economics Association, and the International Farm Management Congress; and heencouraged student involvement in these organizations whenever student participation was relevant. He also supervised theses and special problems courses for international graduate students in the department of economics who were interested in agricultural studies.

Wehrly's community involvement in Macomb includes two terms as a member of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Board of Directors and a volunteer for Loaves and Fishes, active membership in the Macomb Lions Club and promotion of missions involvement by his church.

"My wife, Bea, and I have been interested in providing aid to students for many years," said Wehrly. "Before retirement, both of us had started scholarship funds in our separate disciplines with a $25 per month payroll deduction. The funds accumulated slowly. By combining our contributions, we were able to accumulate enough to endow one scholarship -- the Bea and Jim Wehrly Scholarship."

This scholarship supports students who have contributed to society through volunteer work, or who have worked part-time to pay their or other family members' educational expenses. Two $1,000 Bea and Jim Wehrly scholarships have been awarded annually for several years.

"Both Bea and I have always been passionate about teaching and impacting students," said Wehrly. "This scholarship is consistent with our career goals and personal beliefs."

"Because of Jim's generosity, agriculture students will have enhanced academic experiences which coincide with the University's core values of academic excellence and educational opportunity," said WIU President Al Goldfarb. "We are grateful for Dr. Wehrly's continued support of Western Illinois University and its students."

Story by Julie Murphy, Director, Foundation Communications/Donor Stewardship

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