Skip Nav


Charitable Donations
Founder Donated $1 Million in Land to Rockford University

(RRStar, Jun 4, 2012, Cathy Bayer)-For years, Rockford College has owned Easton Parkway, a winding street that links the campus to the hustle and bustle of East State Street’s retail shops and restaurants.


The private college, in a financial pinch, sold its State Street frontage in 1989, further obscuring the campus behind the motorcade of highway traffic.


Today, the college has bridged the gap. It bought an acre at the northeast corner of State and Easton from Kumud Nigam. Rockford developer and college trustee Sunil Puri donated two additional parcels that complete the link.


“It just makes the connection that’s always been strong that much stronger with the community,” said Jim Keeling, a local philanthropist and member of the college’s board of trustees.


Puri, president of First Rockford Group and a Rockford College alumnus, donated the two parcels in May. He bought the land in 1991.


The college is already leasing property at 5100 E. State St., called the 5100 Building, from First Rockford Group, which Puri founded. The acre of land the college purchased is west of that building, and it’s likely to become additional parking for the 5100 Building that houses master’s and accelerated bachelor’s degree programming.


Leasing the building in 2010 was significant for Rockford College because it gave the college an East State Street presence. Extending that presence north to the campus is paramount, said Director of Communications Rita Elliott.


The three undeveloped parcels provide the college land on both sides of Easton Parkway. It’s unclear how the college will use that green space. College leaders are developing long-term master plans and will prioritize ideas in the coming months, Elliott said.


“Now the college can add that to its planning to address the needs of students and the community,” Keeling said. “It gives us so much more flexibility.”


The Winnebago County Recorder’s office hasn’t yet recorded the college’s land purchase, and officials haven’t disclosed how much they paid for it.


Puri’s commercial land donation — north of the 5100 Building and across Easton Parkway, in front of the YWCA building — is estimated at $1 million.

Trusted By
View All