Huntington University says a $1 million gift will provide a big boost to its agricultural studies programs. The school says the donation from Upland-based Avis Industrial Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leland Boren will support multiple initiatives in its Faith Forward 2022 strategic plan.

Avis Industrial is the parent company of 11 subsidiaries in the United States, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. Boren is also president of Fort Wayne-based industrial automation solutions company PHD Inc., which has additional operations in Huntington and Germany.

The school says Boren's interest in the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies comes from his own roots as a farmer. The Borens founded LeLaLo Farms in Upland in 1965 and have cattle operations in Oklahoma. 

Leland Boren and his late wife LaRita have been long-time supporters of higher education throughout the state. HU says Boren was an "instrumental donor" for the school's Ware Crop Science Production Facility.