CARLINVILLE - Blackburn College in Carlinville has received a $750,000 gift from the estate of Luella Dickhaut. The former Carlinville High School math teacher also served as an adjunct professor at the college during the 1980s. Throughout her life, Dickhaut excelled in academic pursuits, getting both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics. She passed away on December 9, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dickhaut and her husband Orville, who died in 2015, were active members of the Carlinville community and took a special interest in Blackburn by financially supporting students and the campus in many different ways, including prior gifts to the college. Nate Rush, retired Blackburn Senior Director of Development and class of ‘73 alum, elaborated, "Considering that Luella and Orville Dickhaut were not alumni, their loyalty and support for Blackburn were amazing. They believed in the benefits of the Work Program and often hired Blackburn students to work in their yard and extensive flowerbeds. She and her husband Orville committed themselves to supporting Blackburn financially over many years, and their generous gifts made a difference to special programs like ‘Model UN’ and to campus facilities. Because of Luella's and Orville's great interest in flowers and subsequent financial support, they made upgrades possible to Blackburn’s science building greenhouses and potting room."

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Blackburn Trustee and Carlinville High School graduate James D. Sandfort experienced first-hand the “amazingly kind and outstanding teacher” who taught geometry and trigonometry. He explained, “I did not enter my freshman geometry class with a love of mathematics, but with Mrs. Dickhaut’s encouragement and support, I became confident in my skills and soon looked forward to her class. I am not surprised that she made a provision in her will to support the students at Blackburn College. She certainly believed in education and supporting aspiring youngsters. She was a kind and thoughtful soul. Hers was a life well-lived and she will certainly be missed.”

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Blackburn College President Mark Biermann added, “Blackburn is honored to be the recipient of this remarkable gift. It is truly heartwarming to hear the stories of how Luella Dickhaut supported the College and the entire Carlinville community. Her generosity has helped transform the lives of countless students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend or graduate from college, and is an affirmation of the promise a Blackburn education provides. Her legacy will live on through this gift which will continue to make a difference for future generations at Blackburn.”

About Blackburn College

Founded in 1837, Blackburn College is a four-year, Presbyterian-related, co-educational liberal arts college located in Carlinville, IL. One of only ten federally-recognized Work Colleges, Blackburn has the only program in the nation fully managed by students. Balancing academic rigor and experiential learning, each student at Blackburn gains tangible experience and develops critical skills by contributing to their community, all while building a resume and earning their degree. U.S. News & World Report recognized Blackburn College as one of the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the Nation for Social Mobility in their Best Colleges lists for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The Center for Education & the Workforce at Georgetown University ranked Blackburn as a top performer for Earnings-Price Return - 209% (#1 in IL, #10 in the U.S.) and Net Price (#1 in IL; #11 in the U.S.). The Washington Monthly twice ranked Blackburn as the best baccalaureate college in Illinois.

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