|Santa Rosa businesswoman Eileen Carlisle presents a $10,000 check to SRJC president Dr. Frank Chong and Terry Lindley, president of the SRJC board of trustees. The money will be used to rebuild the livestock corrals at Shone Farm. Joining in the check presentation were left to right, Joyce Torrigino, animal science technician at the farm, Farm Manager Leonard Diggs, Steve Olson and Sam McMillan, both directors of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Foundation. Carlisle donated the money through the Rotary Foundation. (Photograph by Steven Knudsen of the Farm Bureau staff).|
The old livestock corrals at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm are getting a much-needed make-over thanks to the generosity of a Santa Rosa investment broker who has donated $10,000 to the renovation project.
Santa Rosa businesswoman Eileen Carlisle made the $10,000 donation in memory of her late parents John and Carol Jean Carlisle, who were farmers in North Dakota.
Carlisle, who grew up on the family farm in North Dakota and is proud of her agricultural roots, selected the Porter Animal Science Center upgrade project because she wanted to support a “bricks and mortar” project that would bring benefits to SRJC agriculture students for many years to come. The project involves the removal of the old livestock corrals, constructed in the 1970s, and replacing them with a modern pipe corral system that will be around for many generations.
Carlisle’s $10,000 donation covers two-thirds of the project’s $15,000 total cost. The remaining $5,000 will come from Shone Farm funds. Carlisle said the donation will provide long term benefits to students while paying tribute to her parents, American farmers who embraced the values of family and community. A plaque will be placed on the corrals when the project is completed this summer.
“I want to carry on the Carlise tradition of giving back to the community and supporting agricultural education,” said Carlisle. “I know how important the Santa Rosa Junior College Farm and its livestock facility is to the future of Sonoma County agriculture.”
Carlisle presented the $10,000 check to the SRJC Foundation on Jan. 10 in brief ceremonies at the Porter Livestock Facility at Shone Farm, which is located off Eastside Road near Forestville. The check was presented to Dr. Frank Chong, president of Santa Rosa Junior College, and Terry Lindley, president of the SRJC Board of Trustees. Farm manager Leonard Diggs said the construction of the new corrals will be begin in the spring, using the labor of the farm staff and SRJC agriculture students to the degree possible.
Also joining the check presentation ceremony were Steve Olson, a former dean at SRJC and past president of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Foundation, and Sam McMillan, chairman of Santa Rosa Rotary Club’s Agriculture Committee.
Carlisle is a member of the Santa Rosa Rotary Club and serves with Olson and McMillan on the board of trustees of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Foundation. In December, Carlisle approached Olson and McMillan regarding a donation for an agricultural project in the community. Olson and McMillan identified seven separate and distinct options for Carlisle’s consideration. She chose the upgrade of the livestock facilities within the Porter Animal Science Center because it a visible project promising long term benefits for students studying livestock, veterinary medicine and equine science.
Carlisle grew up on the family farm along with four brothers and sisters. Several generations of her family were involved in various types of farming in both North Dakota and Canada. Her siblings still own grain farms in North Dakota.
Carlisle’s father owned a bulk oil and tire plant in his hometown and was known for his community spirit and generosity. He established the first TV station in North Dakota and helped establish a number of community parks. He also served on the committee that built the largest livestock event center in the upper Midwest.
Carlisle’s mother, Carol Jean, l did not grow up on a farm but definitely had farm roots. She went to college at the age of 16, later marrying John Carlisle to become the matriarch of a large and successful family. Carol Jean Carlisle was not only a great mom but wasn't afraid of hard work outside the home. Carlisle ondly recalls one instance where he mom at 5'4" and 110 lbs. drove a grain truck to the grain exchange.
Carlisle said her interest in agriculture and community service is directly attributable to her growing up in an agricultural community, witnessing the importance of agriculture to our everyday existence and having parents who modeled the importance of community involvement. She has a uncle who raises beef cattle and another who has a doctorate in soil science and works in Washington DC.
Carlisle also fondly remembers her grandfather farming with 250 hired men as they worked the land with horse and plow - one mile east to west and 5 miles north to south.