Gift of 330K dollars will help many KCC students

Gift of 330K dollars will help many KCC students

Funds marked for scholarships and Student Success Center

Gift of 330K dollars will help many KCC students

Posted On: 07/22/19

With a bequest of more than $330,000, a long-time teacher has made it possible for Kankakee Community College students to pursue their dreams.

Through her estate, Frances Cooper Wertz arranged for a total of $332,662 for Kankakee Community College students. Of the gift, $255,894 will support scholarships and $76,768 will go toward a new Student Success Center.

Though Wertz never attended KCC, she appreciated the value of the educational foundation offered at the college, said Kelly Myers, executive director of the KCC Foundation.

“The bequest made by Ms. Wertz is going to assist students for many years to come,” Myers said. “Her gift is a lasting tribute to the importance of education. We deeply appreciate her generosity.”

Wertz was born in December 1915, and raised on a horse farm outside of Bourbonnais near Davis Creek. She attended Kankakee schools, and first taught in a one-room school house in Will County in 1936. Wertz was later a teacher at Steuben School in Kankakee and Bradley East Elementary School. She retired in 1980. She lived to be 102, passing away at her Kankakee home in January 2018.

The gift from the Wertz estate will be used for general education scholarships.

Along with enjoying reading, nature and teaching, Wertz also was a member of First United Presbyterian Church in Kankakee, Kankakee Women’s Club, Retired Teachers Association and the Tuesday Book Review.

Wertz attended Illinois State University and later graduated from Olivet Nazarene University.

In all, 13 organizations received bequests from Wertz’s trust. More information about scholarships and the KCC Foundation is at

In the photo: Harley Rudish used a white board to express her thanks for receiving a KCC Foundation Scholarship at an event in October 2018. Rudish completed an Associate of Arts transfer degree in December 2018.