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Devore Endowment Will Benefit Agriculture Students

Devore Endowment Will Benefit Agriculture Students

A Prairie County brother and sister have made a gift to Arkansas State University that will benefit future generations of Prairie County students who wish to pursue a college degree in agriculture.

Bruce Devore and his sister Daphna Gwin of Prairie County, Arkansas, transferred jointly held Walmart stock to the ASU Foundation to establish an endowed scholarship in the College of Agriculture and Technology.

Additionally, Devore has executed a living trust planned gift to A-State that will add additional funds into the endowment upon his death.

Devore and his sister grew up on 80-acre farm between Des Arc and Hazen; many of their family members still live in the area. Fifty-four acres of the farm's property was planted to row crops and another 19 acres was in timber. Devore's great-grandfather Jacob Devore purchased the farm, which was recently designated an Arkansas Century Farm by the state Department of Agriculture, in 1900.

The elder Devore sold the farm to his son John Jacob Devore in 1924; in turn, Earl Devore bought the acreage from his father in 1937. Bruce Devore bought the farmstead in 1998.

Devore said he spent his early years helping out on the farm. He said he did his fair share of chopping careless weed and shoveling rice levees, taking on more responsibility as he got older.

"I'd go to school every morning and come home at noon," Devore said. "I'd drive a tractor from noon until midnight, go get in the bed, get up in the morning and do it all over again." Devore graduated from high school in 1964.

After his mandatory service in the National Guard ended in 1967, instead of coming home to work on the farm, Devore headed south a couple of counties, where he spent his career in transportation, performing body work in Pulaski County. He also put in an additional 15 years in the National Guard and 14 years in the Army Reserve.

Following his retirement earlier this year, he started to think about his legacy. Because he had no children, he knew he'd keep the farm in the family by selling it to his cousin Tim Devore. Another cousin, Bert Greenwalt, teaches at A-State. Devore decided to make the legacy gift to Arkansas State that will benefit students from the county.

"I didn't get a college education," he said. "But I think students coming from where I did should be able to if they want to."

Once he set up the legacy gift, Devore said he started thinking about how long it might be before the endowment would be used. It was then he and his sister decided to liquidate their Walmart stock, gift it to A-State and name the endowment in honor of their father and Bruce.

"I had the idea for a long time," Bruce Devore said. "I got to thinking, I could go ahead and fund the scholarship by selling the Walmart stock. That way, I could see for myself how it will benefit these students as they learn about agriculture.

"I'm happy that students from a small town like Des Arc can benefit from these Walmart stock funds."

Dr. Timothy Burcham, dean of the A-State College of Agriculture and Technology, said the Earl and Bruce Devore Endowed Scholarship will be made available in 2019 to students from Prairie County who intend to pursue an agriculture degree at Arkansas State. Students from the county who have attended the university's sister campus in Beebe and want to further their education at A-State will also qualify.

"We appreciate this generous gift," said Burcham. "Mr. Devore's vision will benefit generations of students who have a desire to improve their lives and the lives of others, through educational achievement."

For more information about planned gifts that benefit students and programs at Arkansas State University, visit ASUgift.org, or contact the A-State planned giving office toll-free at 888.225-8343.