Richland Community College Opens Michael D. Andreas Agriculture Building, Announces New Scholarship for FFA Students

January 12, 2024

Decatur, IL – On Friday, January 12, Richland Community College and Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce opened the Michael D. Andreas Agriculture Building with a ribbon cutting, where the College made a major announcement. As part of the Andreas Foundation’s $1.5 million gift toward the building, part of the funds will be used to establish a scholarship that will cover tuition for FFA students.

The Andreas Family Scholarship is available for students participating in FFA. Its purpose is to remove the financial barrier for students interested in pursuing agriculture-related fields like Agribusiness, Ag Accounting, Electrician, Engineering, Ag Science, Welding, CDL, and various Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs.

Ben Andreas maintains finances for the Andreas Foundation. He is an owner at Main Place Properties and serves on the Board of Trustees at Richland Community College. In February 2008, Richland named an agribusiness building after his grandfather, Dwayne O. Andreas. Now, Ben is naming this new building after his father, Michael D. Andreas.

“My dad was thrilled about the direction of the college. He passed about two and a half years ago, and he always talked about having something named after him at Richland. Now that he’s gone and it’s happening, it’s bringing a lot of emotions all at once,” he said. “It’s a really emotional yet satisfying feeling to support something like this in central Illinois – especially in my hometown where I’ve been my whole life and my family has been for 70+ years.”

ADM Cares and the Ullrich Foundation also provided significant donations for the building.

Shondra Lynch, Senior Vice President at Busey Bank and trustee for the Ullrich Foundation, said, “We are very excited about everything Richland does. The Ullrich Foundation is deeply rooted in agriculture, so to be able to support an endeavor like this means the world to us. This building gives students the perfect environment to cultivate a career in agriculture.”

Richland invested $3 million in the Michael D. Andreas Agriculture Building. In spring 2022, the College broke ground on the property as part of a goal to enhance student learning spaces. It is equipped with technologically advanced classrooms, lab space and a greenhouse. Students will move into the space starting on Tuesday, January 16.

Original Article by Richland Community College

Original Photos by Joseph Ressler/Herald & Review