Greehey gives Iowa Central $3M

Gift will help fund student service center on FD campus

When Bill Greehey graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1954, there was no local community college at which he could continue his education.

Greehey, the former chief executive officer of Valero Energy Corp., is now helping to make sure that Iowa Central Community College is well-equipped to educate area students.

He has announced that the Greehey Family Foundation is donating $3 million to help pay for a new $9 million student service center on the Fort Dodge campus.

“I think it’s going to be great for the kids and I think it will be something that will help the college recruit students,” Greehey said recently during a phone interview from his office in San Antonio, Texas.

“It’s nice to be able to do something in Fort Dodge where I grew up,” he said.

He described community colleges as “absolutely critical” to ensuring that all people can get an affordable education.

College President Dan Kinney said it would be impossible to overstate the impact that the donation will have on Iowa Central.

“It’s amazing how this will impact not only Iowa Central, but our region,” he said.

He said a student’s academic success requires strong support outside the classroom. The proposed new center would do that by placing enrollment, financial aid, academic advising, counseling and career planning services all under one roof. Now those services are scattered among several campus buildings.

“I was ecstatic,” Kinney said, recalling when he was informed that the foundation would make the donation.

He said efforts to raise the remaining $6 million needed for the center are underway. He said he hopes to be able to break ground on the new facility next summer.

The gift is the second major donation the Greehey Family Foundation has made to Iowa Central Community College. In 2015 it donated $1 million to be used for scholarships for students who are the first members of their family to attend college.

After graduating from Fort Dodge Senior High, Greehey enlisted in the Air Force. He later attended junior college and university with the assistance of the GI Bill.

He was the chief executive officer of Valero Energy Corp. from its founding in 1980 until 2006. He retired in 2007 as the company’s chairman of the board.

A related firm, Valero Renewables, has an ethanol plant west of Fort Dodge in the industrial park called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation.

Greehey has a sister, Mildred “Keeka” Lynch and some nephews living in Fort Dodge.