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Katherine Sigera and Teja Singh Dillon Family Endowment

Katherine and Teja Dillon Family Endowment Story 

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portrait of Connie and Mehar Singh

Portrait of Katherine and Teja

The Katherine Sigera and Teja Singh Dillon endowment was founded by their family to continue their legacy of support for a better life and society through higher learning. The endowment supports student success needs, especially one-time needs that may put at risk continued enrollment or completion of a degree. 

Our parents, Katherine Sigera Dillon and Teja Singh Dillon, and our grandparents, Alta W. “Connie” Sigera and Mehar Singh Sigera, believed deeply in the value of 
education. They encouraged and supported each of us to do everything we could to become educated, and to encourage and help others when we can. This endowment is our way of honoring and continuing their efforts. 

Alta W. “Connie” Sigera, Katherine’s mother, was the only girl in her family to attend college. Her family could offer only minimal financial support, so she secured a work scholarship that paid tuition, room, and board. She worked fulltime in food service, housekeeping, and as a library aid, completing her studies after work. She earned a Normal School Teaching Certificate from Baylor College for Women in Belton, Texas, in 1932. She taught primary school until she married. 

Mehar Singh Sigera, Katherine’s father, was educated in India prior to immigrating to the USA in the 1910s. He built a successful farming operation under the adverse conditions of the Asian Exclusion Act and other restrictive immigration and naturalization laws. He helped many fellow Punjabis to establish farms and prospered even more after the restrictions were repealed. 
Katherine earned an Associate degree from College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA, in 1945. This was possible because of her mother’s advocacy and her father’s support. She went on to study business at the University of California, Berkeley, until she married Teja in 1947. She farmed with her husband, raised a family, and served in key roles for the local Mothers’ Club, Catholic Church, and 4-H. 
Teja was a husband, father, veteran, and farmer when he began studies in the early 1950s at Fresno State College under the GI Bill. He took night classes because there was farm work and parenting to do during the day. He studied Business and Agriculture and became a skillful public speaker. He was the first Punjabi to serve on the local school board, the Fresno County School Board, the California Cling Peach Advisory Board, and the California Canning Peach Association Board of Directors. 
Connie and Mehar Singh Sigera founded a school for children in his native village in India. The school was notable for welcoming both girls and boys at no cost and providing meals for all the children. They also set up a fund to assist with college educations for their grandchildren. 

As a result of that, Katherine and Teja’s children and their cousins were able to attend college, access career opportunities, purchase homes, and start businesses. We can now support educational & other opportunities for the next generation of the family and students at Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences & Technology. 
We hope that our extended family, friends, and like-minded community members will join us to support students through this endowment that may make the difference between completing a semester and the end of an educational journey.

Support the Katherine Sigera and Teja Singh Dillon Family Endowment