Ag Dean’s Widow Supports Nexus

Published on: March 26, 2020 ,

Linda Pohlman of Hadar is using retirement funds to make a donation to new ag facilities at Northeast in memory of her late husband, Chuck Pohlman, the first Dean of Agriculture at Northeast.

Chuck Pohlman began working at Northeast in 1972, and created the first agriculture program at any community college in Nebraska. He retired 40 years later, and the ag complex he helped design and for which he raised funds bears his name. Chuck Pohlman died in May of 2018.

Linda said she knew she wanted to make a significant donation to the Nexus project in her husband’s memory, and talked with her tax accountant about using retirement funds for that purpose. “He said instead of the money going into my account and me having to declare it as income that year, the money can go directly to the college with no tax disadvantage to myself,” she explained.

Linda Pohlman said Chuck would have approved of this use of their retirement funds. “This is something so close to his heart,” she said of the plan to build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom and move the college farm to a new site. “He really wanted to see this accomplished. The college has affected so many lives in northeast Nebraska. We’ve had students from South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas and other states, too, so it’s really affected a large part of the United States in agriculture.”

It wasn’t just Chuck Pohlman who worked with agriculture students, Linda Pohlman explained. “With him full time at the college,” she said, “he made a lot of the management decisions for the family farm, but with the help of college students I carried out his decisions. We would have two students who worked on our farm Monday, Wednesday, and up to noon on Friday, and then somebody else on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“And when they worked, they would sit around the kitchen table as part of our family,” she continued. “That was a fringe benefit. I always made supper for them. It was fun getting to know about their families and their hopes and dreams. They were a wonderful influence on our children.”

Linda Pohlman said these workers included several sons who followed in their fathers’ footsteps, like Garret and Tom Ruskamp, Cody and Perry Schultz, and Jared and Dave Tomjack. She said the Pohlman farm near Hadar was the scene of several graduation parties during the early years of the Northeast agriculture program, and she remembers several student softball games in their pasture.

“We share Linda’s desire to honor Chuck with these new facilities,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “He pioneered agriculture at the community college level in Nebraska,” she said, “and grew the program from the original three students to an enrollment of about 350 today. It was Chuck’s work and vision that set the stage for all of the innovation in agriculture that takes place every day on the Northeast campus.”

“We invite all of those touched by Chuck Pohlman to join his family and make a donation to the Nexus project in his memory,” she said. “What better way to remember and honor Chuck than to help complete his dream of state-of-the art agricultural facilities for Northeast students?”

The initial phase of construction includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work is expected to begin in April and should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost is $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.