February 27, 2018 by asmeltz

Paul Wachholz Donates $4 Million to FVCC College Center Project

Paul Wachholz

Longtime Flathead Valley businessman and community philanthropist Paul Wachholz has donated $4 million in support of FVCC’s ONE Campaign, a privately funded philanthropic effort to support the development of a new Library/Learning Commons and a College Center on the Kalispell campus.

Wachholz’s gift is designated for the College Center, a 50,000-square-foot facility to include a large performance and lecture hall that will also serve as the home for the Glacier Symphony, a multi-purpose activity complex with two full basketball courts, an outdoor amphitheater, and a reception hall with an exhibition gallery. Construction of the College Center will begin in the spring of 2019 with plans to open the facility in the fall of 2020.

“We are grateful to Paul for his incredible generosity, said FVCC President Jane Karas. “Paul’s gift will touch many lives in Northwest Montana and provide endless possibilities for students and for the community long into the future.”

Wachholz moved to Kalispell in 1967, the same year FVCC was founded. In 1981, he retired from a 21-year banking career and started a real estate company that eventually grew to be the largest in Montana, Coldwell Banker Wachholz & Company. The same year he started his real estate business, Wachholz and a group of other businessmen purchased B and B Distributing, which after various partner changes and business acquisitions became Fun Beverage, Inc.

“Throughout my life, I have not valued money by its worth, but rather by what it can specifically be used for,” Wachholz said. “Investing in FVCC and the College Center is personally very gratifying to me, because it will become a focal point of the expanding college campus, bringing students and community members together.”

Wachholz’s entrepreneurial spirit became evident at an early age, first as a multi-tasking newspaper delivery boy and then as a teenaged owner of a landscaping business. One of his landscaping customers, a retired professor from Columbia University, admired Wachholz’s drive and intelligence and strongly encouraged him to attend college. Wachholz started his pursuit of a college education at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado, and went on to earn degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado.

“Northwest Montana has been good to me the 51 years I have been here. I have helped a lot of people be successful, but these very people helped me accomplish my business goals and aspirations,” Wachholz said. “Likewise, FVCC gives students opportunities that lead them to success in life, regardless of what they choose as their vocation.”

For more information about the ONE Campaign or to make a charitable gift in support of the campaign, visit www.fvcc.edu/one or contact FVCC Foundation Executive Director Colleen Unterreiner at (406)756-3914 or colleenu@fvcc.edu.