Posted at: 08/28/2012 6:30 PM
By: Dan Conradt
New Austin Intermediate School Name Chosen
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's going to be about a year before Austin's newest public school building opens, but that school is now one step closer to having a name.
“His contributions to our community are meaningful for all of us," said the Hormel Institute’s Gail Dennison.
When the Austin school district asked the community for possible names for the district's new 5th and 6th grade intermediate school, it got nearly 100 suggestions.
"He was that quiet servant leader I think we all aspire to be," said Superintendent of Austin Public Schools David Krenz.
And when the list was narrowed to one...
"He is one of those individuals who crossed the boundary between science, commerce, community" the Hormel Institute’s Gail Dennison added.
That one was I. J. Holton.
"He had one thought in mind, and that was to do the best for all of the people he possibly could," said GHeorge Moore, who was once I. J. Holton’s neighbor.
Holton was president of Hormel foods for 12 years, and later head of the Hormel Foundation.
"He appreciated education he appreciated the written word and he supported it all his life," former neighbor George Moore told us.
“Through the contributions of the foundation and also his own personal contribution, he supported many things in the community," said Austin schools superintendent David Krenz. “The arts, the student scholarships, both here at the high school for students to go to college, and also for Riverland students”.
“Mr. Holton was a great friend of the Hormel Institute," Gail Dennison added. “He was a very humble, behind-the-scenes donor."
“I don't think we would have the library if it had not been for Jim," said Holton’s one-time neighbor, George Moore.
"The library was a big proposal for our community, and I. J. went out and made sure people knew that it was important," said Austin Public Library Director Ann Hokanson.
In 2007 I. J. Holton was honored with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce ... and on that day he told us that it's important to give back to the community.
"You need to relate to the people in the community, the local community where the company functions, and the country at large," Holton said during a ceremony in his honor.
"I knew him as a man who was quiet and reserved," said library director Ann Hokanson.
“He was just always so articulate, so bright, wise and supportive," said Dennison.
“A very good person,” added former neighbor George Moore.
The Austin board of education will hold a 90 day public input period before making the name of the new school final.