WELLINGTON — The Cowley College Board of Trustees convened Nov. 21 at the Sumner County Economic Development office for its first board meeting since the general election, and approved a property and naming agreement for the new Sumner County campus in Wellington after announcing a gift of land in excess of $1 million by the Short family of Oxford.

Marjorie Short, the wife of the late Bill Short, is the owner of Short Land Company, LLC and the donor of 18 acres of property along U.S. 160, just east of Walmart. The family received naming rights and announced the first building will be named the Short General Education Center.

“Two weeks ago, Sumner County voters gave us their approval to move forward with a Cowley College campus in this community,” Cowley College President Dennis Rittle said after the board approved the property agreement.

“Now, because of the generosity of Marjorie Short and her family, we’ve got a location in east Wellington and are able to begin our construction plan so we can open the Short General Education Center in the fall of 2018.”

In attendance at the meeting were several members of the Short family. “Education has always been a top priority for our family,” said Nancy Burger, daughter of Marjorie and her late husband.

“My parents were the first in their families to graduate from college. While being college educated does not guarantee success, our family has long believed education opens doors that might otherwise remain closed. We would like for all children and adults to have convenient access to a quality education and that’s why our family donated this land to Cowley College to build the Sumner County campus.”

Oklahoma natives Marjorie and Bill Short settled in Oxford in December 1956 to work in partnership with Bill’s father in S & S Oil Company.

Four years later, Bill bought his father out and formed the WD Short Oil Company. In 1972, Bill and Marjorie founded Short Land Company after purchasing 160 acres of land north of Oxford. They had four children — Don, Nancy, Ben and Tom.

In addition to the 18 acres Marjorie Short bequeathed to Cowley College, the college will be given a future opportunity to purchase up to an additional 10 acres of adjacent property at a fixed cost.

“We are fortunate to have people like the Short family that give of themselves for the good of the community,” said Bob Juden, chair of the Cowley College Board of Trustees. “We appreciate their generosity in gifting us this land.”

This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications Rama Peroo.