CLEWISTON — The Hilliard Family of Clewiston has made a generous contribution toward the completion of a new fraternity house for the Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) chapter at the University of Florida (UF).
“To make better men, and through them a better and broader agriculture” is the motto of AGR.
That motto is the foundation for the AGR chapter at UF, established in 1925 and boasts an excellent reputation on campus for its active members. US Sugar Corporation has also been a supporter of AGR for years and has contributed to the current campaign. Additionally, many AGR alumni from the Glades area have contributed to the house construction.
Crews broke ground on the 19,000 square foot house in August of 2020. Work has been going on since then while a group of alumni brothers have been working to fundraise to complete the project. Approximately half of the 70 active brothers will reside in the new house, which has enough room for all brothers to gather, study, and meet in the large dining area/chapter room that will seat 150. It will also include a spacious back patio that will allow the fraternity social space outdoors. The patio will be named after the Hilliard Family in honor of their donation.
Bernie Lester, AGR alumnus and member of the Florida ag community, is co-chairman of the campaign. “AGR has a long- standing legacy of providing opportunities for students in many different areas of agri-business and those graduates stay, work and contribute to the success of the agricultural community in Florida,” according to Lester. “University research shows that new student success depends heavily on the organizations they join and their living environment, this new house provides the best of both.”
“Being an AGR at the University of Florida was the best thing I did besides getting a degree, the friendships last a lifetime”, says donor Miller Couse. “Anytime I have an ag issue in my work at the bank, there is an AGR brother I can call who has specialized knowledge.” Couse believes the new home will allow AGR to play an important role in making new brothers feel welcome and allow expansion of the chapter.
Prominent alumni of the chapter include former Agriculture Commissioners, congressional members and state legislators. AGR brothers were crucial in helping block the passage of the 1996 penny sugar tax in Florida.
About Alpha Gamma Rho
Alpha Gamma Rho is the fraternity sharing a common bond within a dynamic, global agriculture committed to fostering the highest values and providing every brother with superior lifelong personal development and professional success. The agriculturally based Alpha Gamma chapter at the University of Florida was founded in 1925.