Endowment Broadens the Path to Purdue

Endowment Broadens the Path to Purdue

January 17, 2020

Chad Campbell

Jim Hallar
Jim Hallar (BS ’51, animal sciences) shares a photo of his reserve champion steer from the 1943 Indiana State Fair.

Jim Hallar fondly remembers autumn days of the 1930s, driving a tractor miles from home as a 12-year-old kid. “I was born on a farm, and all I could ever think about was farming on my own,” Hallar says.

A 10-year Indiana 4-H member, he started an Angus cattle herd with his dad. He showed the grand champion steer at the State Fair in 1941 and the reserve champion in 1943. Animal sciences became his focus in college as well. “I always wanted to go to Purdue, to graduate from the department of agriculture,” says Hallar, who earned his degree in 1951. “I had some wonderful professors during my years at Purdue.”

And he witnessed the contributions to agricultural policy made by some of those same faculty. “Dr. Earl Butz was called away during one of our classes. When he came back, Dr. Butz simply announced, ‘Well, I was just appointed assistant secretary of agriculture.’” Butz later served as dean of the College of Agriculture and secretary of agriculture under two presidents.

Hallar went on to live his dream for decades, amassing thousands of acres of farmland around White County, Indiana, before retiring. “Farming is still a wonderful way of living and raising your family. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he says. But he also recognizes how much it has changed. “The future of farming is really getting complex now with the internet and all the different abilities coming out. The equipment today is getting so complicated. Back when I was growing up and farming, if you just had a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and some baling wire, you could get by.”

Now Hallar hopes to support students pursuing a passion that never left him. Through the Phyllis Marie Hallar & James J. Hallar Opportunity Scholarship in Agriculture, the path to Purdue is more accessible than ever for students beginning their studies at other institutions like Vincennes University or Ivy Tech Community College with the intention of transferring to Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

“A lot of students don’t have the qualifications to go directly to Purdue,” Hallar explains. “I’m interested in helping those students if they need financial help, as long as they show that they’re improving their grades and earnestly trying to get an education.”

Pathway to Purdue, a partnership between the College of Agriculture and Ivy Tech Community College– Lafayette is designed to help students on this route. Samantha Evens earned an associate degree in agriculture from Ivy Tech through the Pathway to Purdue Program. She then transferred to Purdue and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management in 2020 with a minor in human resource management.

Attending classes at Ivy Tech and Purdue simultaneously has worked well for Evens. “There’s a huge financial savings there for the students. It also helped me with the transition from high school. Hopefully, I’ll start my own business someday. That’s my ultimate career goal,” she says. “I don’t think any of this would have been possible without the program.”

Sheradan Hill also took part in the Pathway to Purdue program, graduating with an agricultural communication degree in 2019. “Within my four years here, I have accomplished more than I ever knew possible. Walking corn and soybean fields during an Indiana summer, commuting to an office on the D.C. Metro and living on the coast of Wales — I could never have anticipated how the Pathway program and Purdue University would lead me to those things,” Hill says.

Hallar and his family have always held a Purdue education in high esteem — especially his wife Phyllis, who passed away in 2017. “I’m doing this in honor of my wife,” Hallar says. “Phyllis always wanted to help everybody. She didn’t have a lot growing up and she wasn’t a graduate of Purdue. After high school, she got a job at Purdue, working with the accounting department in the Union building. She worked there for several years until we got married.”

Her enthusiasm for Purdue never dimmed, Hallar adds, and she encouraged their children to pursue an opportunity she never had. “We instilled in them that you want to go to Purdue to get your education because that is something that nobody can take away from you.”

But, as Hallar demonstrates, it can be shared.

Category Winter 2020, Alumni

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