CC Distinguished Alumnus Craig Upton Pledges $500,000 For SCC Building The Dream Capital Campaign

Written by Theresa Rose on July 22, 2015

West Burlington, IA – Southeastern Community College’s Building the Dream capital campaign has received another major gift. SCC Distinguished Alumnus Craig Upton, of KPI Concepts in West Burlington, has pledged $500,000 to the campaign.

SCC’s President, Dr. Michael Ash, says including Mr. Upton’s gift, the College has secured funding pledges of over $7.5 million of the campaign’s $12 million goal.

“When Craig gave the keynote speech at SCC’s graduation last year, he proudly proclaimed that he would not be where he is today without the education he received at SCC. Craig’s success has now come full-circle. Thanks to his gift, SCC would not be what we are today without Craig and others like him.”

The Building the Dream capital campaign will fund the SCC’s construction initiative of the same name. It includes the new Health Professions Center and the Hall of Sciences on the West Burlington campus, and the Industrial Technologies Training Center on the Keokuk campus. With an estimated total project cost of $27 million, it is the largest, most comprehensive infrastructure investment undertaken by SCC since 1995.

2014 SCC Distinguished Alumnus Craig Upton graduated from Burlington High School in 1973 and later enrolled at SCC where he earned an Associate of Applied Science Mechanical Technology degree in 1976. He held jobs with Winegard Co., General Electric and Caterpillar. In 1984 when Caterpillar left Burlington, he started KPI Concepts in his garage. Thirty years later, KPI now designs and manufactures custom wood laminate equipment and accessories for many large retailers in the U.S. and other countries. In 2012, KPI also began building products for the wind industry.

“SCC changed my path in life,” explains Craig.

Now he hopes this gift will allow SCC to provide a quality education to the next generation of students so they might have the same opportunities SCC provided him.

“I can tell you first-hand that manufacturing jobs are more technical than ever. Students need first-rate training so they’re ready to enter the workforce with the skills employers need, and if you know have the knowledge and are ready for a challenge, doors will open for you,” says Craig.

SCC Executive Director Becky Rump adds that the SCC Alumni Association is excited for Craig’s generous gift.

“His is one of the most significant gifts received from a living alumnus and we’re proud to help connect one of our most engaged graduates back to the institution that served as his springboard.”

Campaign chair Michael Shinn echoes that excitement, “Craig Upton really sets the bar for SCC’s alums. Although we can’t all give at his level, we know his gift will encourage others to support the campaign too. Any gift, regardless of size, will make a difference.”

A photo of the gift is available here: https://flic.kr/p/wirebQ.

For information about the Building the Dream campaign, contact campaign Becky Rump at 319-208-5065 or brump@scciowa.edu.

For campaign updates, project details and videos of our progress, visit www.scciowa.edu/buildingthedream.