Baldwin — A pair of Liberty, Mo., gas company executives have contributed $1.2 million to Baker University, a sum equal to the second largest gift in the liberal arts college's 140-year history.
The present from Elizabeth and James Ferrell was announced Thursday.
University officials said the money will be used to pay for major landscaping renovations and as seed money for a planned $6 million expansion of the library.
Elizabeth Ferrell, corporate secretary for Ferrell Companies, is a member of the Baker board of trustees. Her husband is CEO of Ferrell Companies and Ferrellgas, the nation's second largest marketer of propane gas.
``We don't have a lot of days like this,'' said Dan Lambert, the pleased university president.
Most of the gift will pay for the landscaping project, which is expected to be completed by the end of July, Lambert said. But $250,000 of the gift will be reserved for the library improvements.
Planned renovations of Collins Library will expand the facility by more than 14,000 square feet and add high-technology and distance-learning classrooms. It also will include improvements to the library's lower level and the addition of a coffee bar.
The landscaping, which involves a major makeover of the Baker campus' interior green spaces, includes a new bridge, sidewalks and lighting. The construction combined with wet weather have complicated movement between buildings and sparked some criticism.
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