A lifetime dedication to saving by a Hilmar couple has resulted in the single largest gift from an individual ever made to California State University, Stanislaus — a $2.37 million bequest from the estate of Helen Yecny earmarked for undergraduate scholarships within the University Honors Program.
Yecny passed away in March 2017. 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.
Helen Yecny’s husband, Lou Yecny, passed away in 1995, but not before suggesting that their estate be left to area schools to fund scholarships. The Yecnys, in addition to tending to the walnuts and almonds they grew, previously operated an auto shop in Hilmar and owned other property around Hilmar. They had no children.
“This meaningful gift illustrates the impact that private philanthropy can have on a university. We’ve seen examples of this at other campuses and I am so grateful that we are seeing it at Stanislaus.” said Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn. “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.”
A celebration of the gift with the campus and community will be planned for a future date.