MARYVILLE, Mo. — With a $50,000 contribution, Rob and Sue Bolin joined Northwest Missouri State University’s Homesteaders society, a group of public and private donors providing gifts of $25,000 or more toward the university’s Agricultural Learning Center (ALC), which opened July 30, 2021.
According to a press release, Rob Bolin’s knowledge of the importance of agriculture in northwest Missouri comes from being a long-time owner of Bolin Auto and Truck Parts in St. Joseph, the business his grandfather started in 1951.
“Most of my customers are agricultural-based,” Bolin said in a statement. “My ‘fleet’ is the successful farmer today who has multiple semitrucks, numerous tractors and an assortment of different vehicles. Those agriculture fleets are vital to our business.”
A 1983 Northwest alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Bolin became a salesman at the family business after his graduation. He soon advanced to a management role and became president of the business in 2004, a news release stated.
In September 2021, Bolin sold the business to FleetPride, where he now serves as general manager.
“Our roots are pretty deep in northwest Missouri and agriculture,” Bolin said. “My great-grandfather was former mayor of Bolckow and a grain thresher with steam engines in the Bolckow area during the Great Depression. There’s a strong connection in my family to northwest Missouri and agriculture.”
A press release noted Bolin’s fondness for family and Northwest inspired the $50,000 donation, which was dedicated to his parents and provided for the ALC’s Robert Bolin Family Kitchen.
“We are extremely grateful to Rob and Sue for their generous support of the Agricultural Learning Center,” said Laurie Long, a senior gift planning officer at Northwest. “Rob is a die-hard Bearcat. His ongoing interest and involvement have helped to advance many university initiatives through the years. When the ALC provided an opportunity to broaden our students’ agricultural experiences, Rob quickly joined the cause as a Homesteader.”
According to a news release, Bolin was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity during his time at Northwest. He was also one of the university’s first student ambassadors when Chuck Veatch, Northwest’s director of admissions at the time, launched the ambassador program.
After graduation, Bolin was a member of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors from 1995 to 2002. He also served as the foundation’s president from 1998 to 2000.
In 2007, the Northwest Alumni Association recognized Bolin with its Distinguished Alumni Award for his professional success, service to the university and community involvement in St. Joseph.
Bolin said he is grateful for numerous skills and lessons learned at Northwest during his time as a student and through his volunteer service as an alumnus.
“There was such a learning curve, and it was so exciting,” Bolin said, when recalling the time he learned the intricacies of finance as a member of the Foundation Board’s Investment Committee. “That was before you had laptops and all this stuff. We were analyzing our own data and it was really great – a fantastic learning experience. Not all grads get to do that kind of thing and realize there are opportunities at the university, post-graduation, that can help you so much in life. I really encourage more people to get involved with the Foundation Board, Alumni Association and Bearcat Booster Club – give something back.”