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Retired professor pledges 94 acres for IUS research, sustainability efforts

A retired professor of educational psychology has committed his farm and home for future use at Indiana University Southeast.
The university will use Dr. Carl deGraaf’s 94 acres in Elizabeth for academic research, sustainability efforts, recreation and natural resource and habitat preservation. DeGraaf’s home on the property will be used for faculty and staff retreats and conferences.
Nearly half of the property is a forested area with several marked walking trails. Dr. David Taylor, a professor of biology and herbarium curator, has assessed the land and expects that biology students and teachers alike will use the property to study the local flora, fauna and ecology; that sustainability students will assist in managing the certified forest; that geosciences students can use the existence of sinkholes on the property for hydrological research; and that ceramics students will make use of the farm’s pottery studio and kilns.
‘I’ve nurtured this piece of property with the dream and the hope of sharing it with other people after I can no longer use it,’ deGraaf said. ‘Giving the farm and its facilities to IU Southeast just makes sense. I’m thrilled to put it in the university’s care and know that people in the community can enjoy it, use it and learn from it just as I have.’
DeGraaf, who retired in 2007, has been a donor at IUS for more than 25 years. In 2015, he established an endowment for the Karen R. deGraaf Memorial Scholarship for nursing students in honor of his late wife. He also supports the Carl A. deGraaf Scholarship for students pursuing careers in elementary education.