McBride Farm dedication underscores value of education and giving back

Picture of the McBride Farm sign next to a field of soybeans with clearing storm clouds overhead.
The McBride Farm sign was dedicated on August 8, 2023.

Lucille Dunn McBride understood the value of farmland, stewardship, and education. Her legacy lives on through her gift of 76 acres in Mercer County to the University of Illinois Foundation to establish a scholarship program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Leadership from the College of ACES and the University of Illinois Foundation celebrated the impact of McBride’s gift with a farm sign dedication ceremony on Aug. 8. Due to rain, the event took place at the farmstead of longtime tenant David Nelson, who purchased his first farm from McBride. 

Through the gift of farmland, McBride established the “Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA), Wendell L. Farris, Raymond Kreig and Wanda Kreig Scholarship Fund” to support students living within a 150-mile radius of Galesburg. 

The scholarship fund honors her farm managers, Farris (ACES ’38), and Raymond Kreig (ACES ’47), as well as her close friendship with the Kreig family whose children and grandchildren are alumni of the university and the College of ACES.

Picture of Janet Kreig speaking to attendees seated at tables in a machine shed with John Deere tractors in the background.
During the farm dedication, Janet Kreig (ACES ’77) shares the legacy of Lucille McBride and her father Raymond Kreig who managed the McBride farm for many years.

“The phenomenal legacy of Lucille was her belief in education,” said Janet Kreig (ACES ’77), the daughter of Raymond and Wanda Kreig, during the dedication. “Her very strong belief in education was echoed by my father, Raymond Kreig, who always felt there was nothing better than an advanced education and that he would not have been anywhere near the same person had he not had the privilege of going to the University of Illinois. It was a big dream for him.” 

Raymond Kreig, who died in 2022, was an Accredited Farm Manager and a member of the ISPFMRA since 1948. 

“Ray was a great mentor. If you needed help, you could call Ray,” said Russ Hiatt, ISPFMRA president. “Today is the epitome of what farm management is all about — relationships. For a landowner to name a scholarship in your honor has got to be the highest recognition you can get.”

When the scholarship was established, Raymond Kreig shared that McBride highly regarded professional farm managers and wanted to support indi­viduals pursuing farm management as a career.

McBride Farm dedication attendees stand in a large group in the machine shed in front of John Deere tractors.
McBride Farm dedication attendees.

Today, the scholarship is awarded to students in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics who graduate with an understanding of the complexities of agricultural production and marketing.

“Students who have received this scholarship have gone on to become leaders in the agricultural industry, serving as professional farm managers, rural appraisers, and caretakers of the land,” said Germán Bollero, dean of the College of ACES. “Although I did not have the pleasure of meeting Lucille, we are indebted to her for creating an everlasting legacy to support ACES students through her gift.”

McBride attended Gales­burg High School, the Knox Conservatory of Music, and Monmouth Col­lege. She taught piano for more than 50 years in public schools and at her home in Galesburg. In fact, many in the community can credit their musical start to McBride.  

In addition to the College of ACES, McBride supported youth music education through the First Presbyterian Church and also gave back to the Knox County YMCA, which named a  gym in her honor. 

“She was a very good benefactor to the overall community,” Janet Kreig added. “The Kreig family is very indebted to Lucille. She brought a lot to our lives and the community in Galesburg. She has a very special place in our hearts.”

The College of ACES is the grateful beneficiary of more than 6,000 acres of farmland, held collectively by the university and the University of Illinois Foundation. Income from the ongoing operation of gifted farmland serves as a perpetual funding source to support the college’s land-grant mission. To learn more about gifting farmland and other ways to give, contact the University of Illinois Foundation.