Barry McNamara  |  Published February 28, 2022

Business Internships

Alumnus and former trustee Dick Yahnke ’66 establishes fund for students who need help making internships a reality.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – An internship experience can be a valuable résumé item for college students, as well as provide direction for them as they seek employment or determine a career future.

DICK YAHNKE: As a Monmouth student, the 1966 graduate and future Board of Trustees member appreci... DICK YAHNKE: As a Monmouth student, the 1966 graduate and future Board of Trustees member appreciated the financial help he received from scholarships and summer jobs.Dick Yahnke of Fort Collins, Colorado, a member of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees for 25 years, and his wife, Lee, have made a gift to Yahnke’s alma mater to help ensure that students seeking internships have the means to do so.

The couple has created the Yahnke Business and Economics Endowed Internship Fund at Monmouth, where Yahnke studied business, graduating in 1966.

“Internships provide an opportunity for real-world practical business experience for students seeking business-related degrees,” said Yahnke. “Those experiences add strength and depth to Monmouth’s business degrees and programs, which continue to be among the most popular and important for the College.”

The newly established endowment is geared toward students who fully appreciate the value of an internship but who need help to make the experience a reality.

“An endowment for business internships will provide funding and accessibility for more students who simply could not consider an internship due to their financial limitations,” said Yahnke.

His Monmouth experience

Six decades ago, Yahnke was that student who appreciated a helping hand as he navigated the college experience.

“I was the youngest of five children and the first in my family to attend college,” he said. “I had strong parental support, but very limited financial means.”

Also limited were the opportunities to apply for accept internships. The few possibilities that existed had “limited or no compensation,” said Yahnke.

Instead, Yahnke said that summer jobs, loans and scholarships were “essential to paying for and completing my education. Those circumstances exist for many of our students today.”

That Monmouth education served as a springboard to the success Yahnke experienced – first as a Navy line officer aboard the USS Massey with two overseas deployments in the 1960s, then throughout his 40-year marketing and management career with John Deere.

“My business degree and the broad liberal arts education I received at Monmouth College provided a strong foundation and preparation for my military and business career,” he said.

“Endowed internships are one component that can help Monmouth College achieve recognition and enhance the reputation of its outstanding business department and programs. The availability of funding for business internships will be appealing to prospective high school graduates and community college transfers and their parents as they make a college choice.” Dick Yahnke

Yahnke held a variety of management experiences in numerous marketing and manufacturing locations for John Deere, including an assignment as marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand. He retired in 2006 as vice president of Worldwide Agricultural Parts Marketing.

Yahnke is an example of a Monmouth student who is now in a position to give back to the college that shaped him, and he said he hopes his gift will come full circle time and again.

“Strong business programs produce outstanding business graduates, who ultimately will be likely to give back their time, talents and wealth to our college,” he said.

And having an internship endowment in place will help the College attract and retain those high-achieving students.

“Endowed internships are one component that can help Monmouth College achieve recognition and enhance the reputation of its outstanding business department and programs,” he said. “The availability of funding for business internships will be appealing to prospective high school graduates and community college transfers and their parents as they make a college choice.”

The Yahnkes’ gift is part of Monmouth College’s Light This Candle campaign, which has a goal of raising $75 million by Dec. 31 of this year. Through the end of February, the campaign has reached 94% of its goal.

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