Country Star Luke Bryan Creates Scholarship For Illinois State University

Students looking to study agriculture could benefit from Luke's generosity.

Shannon Blum
September 26, 2018 - 8:18 am

© Larry McCormack /

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Luke Bryan is planting the seed to Illinois State University students' success. 

Country star Luke Bryan grew up the youngest son of a farmer in Leesburg, Georgia and has talked extensively on how farming made up a huge part of him and his family's life. In fact, if his father did not give him a push, Luke may have not gone to Nashville to pursue a career in music at all. After his brother's death, Luke felt he needed to stay on the farm and help out his dad. However, his dad didn't feel the same and gave Luke an ultimatum: leave to pursue his dream or get fired. 

Luke's life story is now coming full circle. He is honoring his farming roots and giving back to the profession he grew up in, agriculture with the Luke Bryan Farm Tour Scholarship at Illinois State University.

Four ISU students majoring in agriculture have benefited this year from the scholarship, including: 

  • Joshua McWilliams, a graduate student studying agriculture education and leadership
  • Zachary Rippel, a senior majoring in agribusiness and agronomy management
  • Ben Temple, a junior majoring in agriculture education
  • Susie Thompson, a senior majoring in agriculture communications and animal industry management

The scholarship recipients, joined by an ISU staff member, will attend Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour stop in Pesotum, Illinois, on Sept. 28. The group will have the opportunity to go backstage to meet Luke and discuss the impact of his scholarship.

The Luke Bryan Farm Tour Scholarship is part of ISU's $150 million comprehensive campaign, Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. According to the University, it is the most ambitious campaign in the its history, supporting scholarship, leadership, and innovation. More than 45,000 donors have already contributed nearly $124 million in outright gifts and commitments since the beginning of the campaign.