After a lifetime career farming and ranching in western Canadian County, Frank Austin is now laying the foundation for future generations to find their path through education. With an initial donation of $200,000 to the Redlands Community College Foundation, Austin has made it possible for the Foundation to award up to 10 scholarships each year, and eventually the college will be able to expand its agricultural operation with the donation of nearly 2,000 acres of farmland.
Frank and June Austin spent their lives raising their family while operating Canyon View Farms, a successful farm and ranch operation in western Canadian County. After June passed in 2019, Frank began searching for a way give back to young people through a scholarship program. He also wanted to find a way to preserve the family homestead.
“Through hard work, I have been able grow the family farm and ranching operation. It’s been a life I have loved, taking care of the land with my wife,” Austin said. “Now I have the chance to help more young people prepare for a career they will love. Redlands Community College has helped so many people over the years, including my son, so I’m happy to start a scholarship program that will help students and their families with the cost of college. It’s also reassuring to know that my homestead will carry on as part of their education.”
The Austin Family Endowed Scholarship will provide funding to students in need to earn an associate degree from Redlands. After completing their degree at Redlands, if recipients choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, the scholarship will transfer to a public, in-state university for an additional two years. The scholarship can be applied to tuition, fees, course materials and housing.
Because Austin has invested his life in rural Oklahoma, he wanted to give assistance to families in rural areas. Up to 10 scholarships will be awarded this fall, and preference will be given to graduates of Calumet, Geary, Hinton, Okarche and Union City, as well as to residents of western Canadian County.
“Redlands Community College Foundation has several scholarship programs created to honor individuals, couples and families who have valued higher education and benefited from the college’s programs,” said Brooke Robertson, president of the Foundation. “We are honored that Mr. Austin has chosen to provide such a generous scholarship to Redlands students, and we look forward to carrying on his legacy.”
Redlands Community College President Jack Bryant added, “Mr. Austin is leaving a true legacy with his family’s gift to the Foundation. This scholarship program is going to make a significant difference in the lives of so many students and their families. They will be able to earn an associate degree and even a bachelor’s degree, and take that education into the workforce, whether that’s on a farm or ranch, public sector or corporate world.”
The nearly 2,000 acres will be used to enhance the college’s growing agriculture program. Beginning fall of 2022, Redlands will expand its ag program by offering more technology-based courses and degree programs.
“The additional farm land will allow our ag program to increase grazing area for our livestock as well as work with a variety of crops,” Bryant said. “Mr. Austin has built a successful farming operation while being mindful of best practices that protect the land, and with Redlands’ strong partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture, we look forward to continuing to work with these agencies to carry on his legacy.”
For more information or to apply for the Austin Family Scholarship, visit www.redlandscc.edu/austin-family-scholarship. Applications are due July 15.