Awarded as part of the University of Nebraska Foundation's Campaign for Nebraska, the grant will establish a permanently endowed fund for the Paul F. Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The endowment will support new student scholarships, an endowed chair, student courses, a lectureship series, entrepreneurship training, internship placement assistance, student travel, and a venture capital fund for student start-up businesses.
Paul F. Engler studied animal sciences at UNL before founding the Amarillo, Texas-based cattle feeding operation Cactus Feeders in 1975. His wife, Virginia "Jinx" Engler, who passed away in 1996, also was a graduate of UNL.
"A lot of [the nation's] rural communities are in tough shape economically," said Engler. "They have lower populations, and then services move out of the town. That is true not only of Nebraska but in other [agriculture] states as well. Statistics will show that in Nebraska we have a higher percent of the population living in small, rural towns than do other states. I want those communities to not only survive but to become more active."