The Agriculture Department at Arkansas State University-Beebe recently received a generous $2,500 donation from Eoff Farms, which operates 1,100 acres in southeastern Missouri.
The donation was made by sisters Christina and Heather Eoff to honor the legacy of their maternal grandmother Surilda Steen Poole and to be used for equipment and resources in the classroom toward student success in agriculture related careers.
Poole was born in Newport and graduated from Walnut Ridge High School before obtaining her beautician certificate in 1961. She and her husband, David Poole, had been married 58 years, when she passed away in April 2020.
Poole’s granddaughters, Christina and Heather Eoff, both of Little Rock, wanted to honor the influence their grandmother had on their lives and education.
“When we were kids, ‘Mamaw’ was always the first person to call us after school to find out what we learned that day. She valued family and education above everything else and was incredibly proud to see both of us complete our college degrees,” said Heather Eoff.
Christina Eoff graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2007 and received an Associate of Arts degree from the University of Central Arkansas and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Arizona State University toward a career in the hospitality industry.
Christina said, “Watching my grandmother’s ability to make a difference through social interaction, I was inspired to be the same. The hospitality industry is the ideal atmosphere for me to help others and make a difference.
On a daily basis, I have the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world. I learn about their likes and dislikes. I hear their stories and listen to their woes. The most rewarding days are when I feel that I truly made a difference- put a smile on a face.
My grandmother was one of a kind. She had a gentle soul. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her would tell you that she never met a stranger. She extended herself to all within her sphere.”
Heather Eoff, who works in the finance field, was a 2014 graduate of Little Rock Central High School and attended college at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Heather said,
“My grandmother pushed us to put our education first. She always talked about how excited she was for my sister and me to attend and graduate college. She was as smart as a whip when it came to math and could work out any problem in her head. She was continuously interested in what I was learning that semester in school. Her enthusiasm and joy that came from seeing my educational accomplishments was my drive to keep going and pushing myself.”
Christina and Heather Eoff are the daughters of Tina Poole Eoff and the late Richard (Rick) Eoff. Their aunt, Cathy Eoff, who is a local realtor in Beebe and member of the ASU-Beebe Board of Visitors and Development Council, said, “I am proud of my nieces for making this donation to honor the influence and legacy of their grandmother. Education is the key to excellence in any field of work and especially for students striving to be farmers for the future in our community.”
ASU-Beebe has the only working farm on a community college campus in the state. The facilities are used to impart real-world agricultural principles to students through hands-on learning, which appeals to both recent high school graduates and non-traditional adults seeking advanced agriculture education.
“We are grateful to the Eoff family for this generous donation, which also holds special meaning in honoring their family member,” said Rose Mary Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement. “This donation will go far in benefitting our students in the agriculture programs.”