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$17,500 awarded in Ed Guse ag scholarships

Southwestern Michigan College Trustees met Edward A. Guse Agricultural Scholarship recipients at the Dowagiac campus greenhouse prior to their Sept. 17 meeting. Students Hannah Gibson and Andrea Lee visited with Trustees Keith McKenzie, Todd Obren and William White, Guse estate executor Cliff Poehlman and Stacey Rocklin, coordinator of Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Institute of Agricultural Technology.

Students can attain MSU certificates in agricultural operations and fruit and vegetable crop management while earning associate of applied science degrees in agricultural technology at SMC.

Gibson, from Berrien Springs, graduated from Buchanan High School. She is studying agricultural operations. “I’ll probably go toward something with animals — hogs, dairy or cattle. I raise pigs for the fair every summer,” Gibson said.

Lee hails from Hudson and graduated from Hudson High School in that Lenawee County community. Lee also studies agricultural operations, but wants to teach agriculture. “My great-grandpa was a dairy farmer,” Lee said. “My grandpa did hog farming. We kind of do hobby farming and raise our FFA and 4-H animals.”

Qualified full-time students who have participated in FFA or an agricultural program can receive $2,500 scholarships — $1,250 per semester. This year’s recipients also include Ashley Kapala, Megan Wisk, Wendi Cripe, Cameron Victor and Taylor Majewski for a total of $17,500 awarded for 2018.

To be considered for this scholarship a student must be a graduating high school senior planning to enroll fulltime in a degree program at SMC during the 2019-2020 school year. Applicants must be a member in good standing with the FFA or another agriculture program and have a 2.5 or higher cumulative high school GPA.

Edward Guse bequeathed his 210-tillable-acre farm southeast of Dowagiac in LaGrange Township to SMC when he died at 80 on Jan. 16, 2002.

He traveled full circle in his tractor seat in his trademark overalls. Grand marshal of the 147th Cass County Fair in 1998, he was a self-described “city boy” from Benton Harbor who took a hobby, nurtured it into a successful business, then at an age most men retire, restored his hobby status because “I really enjoy working. All I’ve ever known is work since I was a little kid.”

“Ed Guse created a tremendous legacy for himself by helping students obtain their dreams of careers in agriculture,” Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon said.

Edward Guse, who considered becoming a teacher, while well-known for financially supporting the fair and its exhibitors, ironically never took part in such events himself. He never showed livestock at the Youth Fair in Berrien Springs or belonged to 4-H.

He bought the farm Wilbur Hill Road and Beeson Street border in 1966 — the same year SMC opened for classes.

 “This makes a huge difference for educational opportunities,” President Dr. David Mathews said. “Hundreds of students to come will benefit from Ed’s incredible donation.”