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Hilmar couple leaves CSU Stanislaus a record amount

Lou Yecny of Hilmar, Calif. is pictured in a family photo. Lou was a World War ll veteran. He and his wife Helen left Stanislaus State University in Turlock the biggest single gift of 2.3 million dollars.
Lou Yecny of Hilmar, Calif. is pictured in a family photo. Lou was a World War ll veteran. He and his wife Helen left Stanislaus State University in Turlock the biggest single gift of 2.3 million dollars. Yecny Family

Helen and Lou Yecny lived a frugal life. But the Hilmar couple’s attention to saving and their desire to help educate local students led to the biggest single gift ever received by California State University, Stanislaus.

The estate of Helen Yecny left a $2.37 million bequest to the university, earmarked for undergraduate scholarships within the University Honors Program, officials announced last week.

Yecny passed away in March 2017, according to a news release from the university. “She lived with her husband in the same modest orchard home in which she was raised, and it was said about the Yecnys that they always were saving their money for a rainy day.”

Lou Yecny passed away in 1995. But it was his suggestion that the Yecnys, who had no children, leave their estate to area schools for scholarships.

“This meaningful gift illustrates the impact that private philanthropy can have on a university.” Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn said in the release. “We’ve seen examples of this at other campuses, and I am so grateful that we are seeing it at Stanislaus. From what I’ve learned, the Yecnys were private people who lived modestly and believed in supporting education. We are tremendously appreciative of their humble generosity.”

The university said it will plan a public event to celebrate the gift at a later date.

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