Record gift boosts irrigation program at Lethbridge College

Gift of $3.1 million from the estate of Lloyd and Dorothy Mueller to fund irrigation program and research chair

Agricultural programming at Lethbridge College will benefit from a record-setting $3.1-million gift from a family whose Alberta roots go back to the province’s earliest days.

The gift from the estate of Lloyd and Dorothy Mueller will be supplemented with $1.9 million from the college to establish the Mueller Program in Irrigation and the Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science, supporting the college as it moves to focus on data-driven productivity in agriculture.

Lloyd Mueller was born on the family farm near Warner, which was established by his father, who arrived from Wisconsin in the early 1900s. After serving in the Second World War, he returned to Lethbridge and became involved in several business ventures, from farming to running a garage to stock trading. He achieved much of his financial success in this last venture. He and wife Dorothy, who worked in administration at St. Michael’s Hospital for 35 years, married in 1954 and lived the rest of their lives in Lethbridge. Lloyd Mueller died in 2009 and Dorothy Mueller died in 2013. Having no children of their own, Lloyd and Dorothy always welcomed their more than 25 nieces and nephews into their home and were ardent supporters of education.

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“My uncle and aunt wanted to find a way to advance the pursuit of knowledge through their legacy,” said their nephew Michael Mueller. “They wanted to offer a benefit and make this available to as many people as possible and they felt a gift to Lethbridge College is the best way to do that.”

Two-thirds of Canada’s irrigated land is in Alberta, of which more than 70 per cent is in the Lethbridge region alone, noted college president and CEO Paula Burns.

“Thanks to the Muellers’ gift, we are establishing the college’s first fully funded research chair,” she said. “We will continue to mobilize and focus on our region’s unique assets, attributes and strengths, bringing industry, academia and community together to provide real-world training and apply real-world solutions within an industry that is critical to the social and economic needs of southern Alberta.”

The college is currently running a Possibilities are Endless campaign, with more than $20 million of its $25-million goal already raised.

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