Peru, Nebraska - To achieve the goal of completing its largest fund drive in history, Peru State College and the PSC Foundation knew they needed a special leadership team, one with deep, wide and lengthy ties to Nebraska’s first college.
In co-chairs Jerry (Class of 1964) and Christina (Banks ’88) Joy of Stella, Neb. and Paul (’67) and Arlene (Borcher ’67) Fell of Lincoln, Neb., Peru State has done just that, Foundation Chair Jeff Greenwald (’71) of Lincoln announced. Additionally, retired Peru State President Dr. Dan and former First Lady Elaine Hanson of West Des Moines, Iowa have agreed to return and assist with the campaign as consultants, Greenwald said. “With a team like this supporting our efforts and those of President (Michael) Evans, our confidence to achieve our $4 million goal is sky-high,” Greenwald said.
Peru State is tasked with raising $4 million of the $14.6 million cost of the five-building Project ROAR. The need is urgent to keep it on schedule, Dr. Evans noted, with a target date for ground breaking next Spring. Project ROAR will add more than 104,000 square feet of indoor space to the campus. This more than doubles the square footage of the Peru State’s largest building, the Al Wheeler Activity Center. Three of the buildings will be near the baseball and softball fields at the Centennial Complex south of the main campus. The other two will be built on a practice field north of the Oak Bowl stadium. The largest components are large air-supported, artificially turfed domes at each site.
The Fells and the Joys are all alumni and former faculty/staff members at Peru State, and have remained engaged with their alma mater throughout their adult lives. Jerry Joy was a longtime football coach, athletics director and administrator at the college; Chris Joy ran the college bookstore for a number of years. Paul Fell was an art professor and Arlene Fell taught home/consumer economics at Peru State from 1974-84. Later they were longtime co-Presidents of PSC’s National Alumni Association. “Between the four of them, they know so many alumni and friends of Peru State, and have been involved with the college for a significant amount of time,” Evans said. “Those networks, their familiarity with the College and their track records of support make them the perfect people to stress the importance of supporting our project.”
Dr. Dan Hanson was Peru State College president for 12 highly productive years, supported every step of the way by Elaine, before their retirement in 2021. They, as much as anyone, know the importance of Project ROAR to the vitality of Peru State and its student body. “Dan and Elaine are well loved by so many, and it will be wonderful to have them with me when I go out to meet some of our most important and loyal donors,” Evans said. “Having only been here a little more than a year, if I were to go out on my own, I would be just beginning to build relationships. With Dan and Elaine along, we can pick up with many of our greatest friends right where they (Hansons) left off.”
Though some gifts have already been committed to Project ROAR, the campaign itself is just now getting underway in a formal fashion. In order to meet the ambitious deadlines for the project, it is critical alumni and friends make commitments soon, Greenwald said. Donors will have the option of spreading pledge gifts out through 2024. “Project ROAR won’t exist without help from you,” Evans emphasized. “We need everyone who cares about Peru State and Southeast Nebraska to join in the effort to make this a reality.” The multi-purpose venues will allow for not only more Peru State events to occur, but for clubs, organizations, and other groups throughout the region to reserve the facilities for various activities.
Anyone with questions about Project ROAR or ways to support it can contact Ted Harshbarger (’77) at the Peru State College Foundation. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 402-872-2304 weekdays.