An Ankeny couple is making two major gifts to support projects in their hometown. Dennis and Susan Albaugh are giving a million dollars to help the Des Moines Area Community College expand its Culinary Institute in Ankeny. Dennis Albaugh, who is considered to be the richest person in Iowa, says he has a long history with the community college dating back to his school days. “I don’t know if I was one of the first classes, but it was called Area 11 and then it became DMACC and I have watched that grow,” Albaugh says. “I was in the first building out there and now it’s an unbelievable complex.”
Albaugh, a DMACC grad and long-time supporter of the school, says the idea to direct his gift to DMACC’s Culinary Institute came from DMACC president Rob Denson. “I swear, when you give DMACC a dollar, they get $1.25 in value out of it, so I didn’t specifically say which project,” Albaugh says. “Rob and I met for coffee one morning and he said, “Well I’ve got a project and this would make it happen.” The school expects to break ground on the project in April. The total cost of expanding the Culinary Institute is five-point-six million dollars. The Albaughs are also giving a million dollars to the Ankeny School District for renovation of Ankeny Stadium.
Albaugh got into the fertilizer and seed business after graduating from DMACC and eventually started his own fertilizer company that made and sold the primary ingredient in Round-Up. He sold his company in 2010 for one-point-three billion dollars. At the time of the sale, Albaugh employed over three-thousand workers at 30 herbicide production plants in Mexico and Argentina, along with one plant in Missouri.