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James Kozel of Laguna Niguel, Calif., a 1971 graduate of Illinois Valley Community College, recently made a $20,000 donation to the college’s Peter Miller Community Technology Center capital campaign.
Kozel, a native of Oglesby who graduated from La Salle-Peru Township High School in 1969, responded to an alumni mailing sent earlier in the year.
“Jim’s gift to his first college and our new technology center is both inspiring and a tremendous boost to our campaign,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran. “We look forward to meeting Jim and recognizing him at the building’s Nov. 1 grand opening.”
Kozel graduated from the University of Illinois in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., with a master’s in business administration degree in 1994. He has worked in various positions in the title and escrow industry and is now in the software sector.
He and his wife Simone have two children, Joseph and Mindy.
Growing up in Oglesby the son of a gas and service station owner, Kozel attended IVCC’s temporary campus while the college was transitioning from its first home at L-P High to the permanent campus across the river.
He affectionately refers to that campus as the “barracks” and still maintains close relationships with some of the classmates he attended IVCC with.
“Even though the barracks were temporary, there are several recollections that stayed with me as if it was yesterday,” said Kozel. “The first is the ‘Moratorium’ in 1971 — the day of the campus Vietnam protest where everyone wanted to voice their concern about a very unpopular war.
“And as you get older you realize several teachers provided a great foundation for future success such as Myra Liebhart for math, Jim Jewell for speech and John Carson for accounting,” he said.
“And there were fun times. Phi Beta Lambda, our business fraternity, created a six pack of Schlitz beer cans out of 55-gallon drums for homecoming. There were great times and longtime memories created at IVCC,” Kozel said.
The capital campaign has now reached $1.8 million of its $2.1 million goal.
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