Gifts to Benefit Chicago, Springfield, Urbana-Champaign Campuses of University of Illinois

Sep 15, 2006 10:00 AM

Private gifts totaling more than $15 million earmarked for University of Illinois programs at Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign were announced today (Friday, Sept. 15) at the U of I Foundation’s 71st Annual Meeting.

The gift announcements were part of the three-day meeting conducted by the Foundation, the University’s private gift fundraising arm. Nearly 500 alumni and friends of the U of I are attending the event held on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Thirteen gifts from alumni and friends of the University were highlighted at the U of I Foundation’s Business Meeting Friday morning.

Gifts made to the Urbana-Champaign campus include:

  • $4.5 million to the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics from the Irwin Family Foundation to expand the Irwin Academic Services Center. The addition will double the size of the facility, which opened in 1998 thanks in large part to a $1.5 million gift from the Irwin Family Foundation. The Foundation’s other major gifts to the DIA include $1.5 million toward construction of the football coaching and training headquarters near Memorial Stadium and $7 million for the construction of the Irwin Indoor Football Facility. Richard Irwin was a 1926 U of I graduate and founder of the publishing house of Richard D. Irwin, Inc., now Dow Jones-Irwin, Inc.

  • $2 million from Marlyn Whitsitt Rinehart of Urbana, Ill., to endow the Kenneth L. Rinehart Jr. Chair in Natural Products Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The chair honors the late Professor Rinehart, a renowned scholar who for many years led the Department of Chemistry’s marine natural products division. The Department recently announced that Professor John F. Hartwig, most recently at Yale University, will serve as the first Kenneth L. Rinehart Chair in Natural Products Chemistry. Marlyn Rinehart is a graduate of Monmouth College and earned her master’s degree in English from the U of I in 1960.

  • $1.5 million from Sandford “Sandy” and Mimi Furman of Tenafly, N.J., to enhance educational programs and promote academic excellence in the School of Architecture in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Additionally, the Furmans have given to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library 47 Frank Lloyd Wright plates from a German collection that dates to 1910. Sandy Furman, who earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1959 at the U of I, is the founder and partner emeritus of FDS Architects in Tenafly. Mimi Furman, a 1961 University of Pennsylvania graduate, is an accomplished interior designer.

  • more than $1 million from Dr. Charles Hammond Jr. of Key West, Fla., in support of scholarships, with preference given to graduates of Canton High School. A native of Canton, Hammond earned three degrees from the U of I u2015 a bachelor’s in LAS in 1949 and a master’s and doctorate, both in economics, in 1954 and 1958, respectively. He retired as a loan officer and international economist with the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

  • more than $1 million from Dr. Keith R. Westcott of Newbury Park, Calif., to establish and support the Westcott Bioscience Fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry in the College of LAS. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, he earned his master’s degree and doctorate, both in biochemistry, at the U of I in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He was a protein chemistry scientist with Amgen, Inc., a biotechnology company in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

  • $1 million from David and Meredith Mills of Champaign, Ill., to endow the head coaching position for men’s tennis in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. David Mills, a former two-time, all-state tennis player at Champaign Central High School, is a 1993 accounting graduate of Indiana University. He is president and chief operating officer of Busey Bank in Urbana. Meredith Mills, also a standout athlete and Indiana accounting graduate, is a financial analyst for Irwin Mortgage Company of Indianapolis. Their gift marks the fourth head coaching position at Illinois to be supported by private gifts. In 1998, David’s parents, Doug and Linda Mills, provided a gift to endow the salary of the Fighting Illini head football coach.

  • seven-figure support from Ruth V. Shaff of Savoy, Ill., and the late Genevie I. Andrews that creates the Math Careers for Women Scholarship Fund in the College of LAS. Their gift will support scholarships, especially Illinois resident women and incoming female freshmen majoring in math or combinations of math, computer science and statistics. Their fund will also support graduate fellowships with a similar preference and provide support for academic excellence in the Department of Mathematics. Central Illinoisans Ruth Shaff and the late Genevie Andrews graduated from the U of I in 1944, worked together for many years at People’s Gas, Light and Coke (now People’s Energy) in Chicago, retired to Sun City, Ariz., and returned to Champaign-Urbana in 1990.

  • seven-figure support from Edgar Tafel of New York, N.Y., that has established the Edgar Tafel Endowment in the School of Architecture. It will fund the Edgar Tafel Chair in Architecture and provide unrestricted funding for the School. Tomorrow (Sept. 16), the College of Fine and Applied Arts will host an investiture ceremony appointing U of I Professor Botond Bognar as the first Edgar Tafel Chair in Architecture. A renowned architect, Edgar Tafel began his career as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, the Spring Green, Wis., residential architecture school founded by Wright. Tafel was involved in the development of Fallingwater and the Johnson Wax headquarters building, two of Wright’s most famous designs. Tafel's own designs include more than 90 houses, 35 churches and synagogues, and the fine arts building, a student center and dormitories at New York State University at Geneseo.

  • $600,000 from Phillip C. and Beverly K. Goldstick of Chicago, Ill, to fund the Goldstick Initiative for the Study of Communicative Disorders in the College of Education’s Department of Special Education. The Goldstick Initiative supports the College’s goal to find new ways to help children with communicative disorders and their families bridge communication gaps as well as train University faculty who will expand the body of research and practice in this field. Phil Goldstick, a member of the 1952 U of I Rose Bowl football team and 1953 College of Business graduate, is a lawyer, former state representative, and serves as chairman of G. Equity Investment Group Ltd. He and Beverly, a U of I alumna, are longtime advocates and financial supporters of the U of I, especially the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics’ I FUND, Krannert Art Museum, Jewish Studies and the College of Medicine at UIC.

On the Chicago campus:

  • six-figure support from Richard L. Chavez of Joliet, Ill., to endow several scholarships. A portion of the Richard L. Chavez Scholarship Fund will assist graduates of Joliet Central High School and Joliet West High School, transfer students from Joliet Junior College, undergraduates in the College of Education, with preference given to Latina/Latino students, and those in the Illinois Promise program. Chavez, a 1964 U of I graduate, recently retired after a 40-year teaching career, most of it at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Ill.

  • a significant six-figure gift from Frank C. and Bette J. Bender of Plainfield, Ill., will fund scholarships in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Frank Bender earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at UIC in 1949. He practiced family medicine and general surgery for 52 years. He still serves as a volunteer physician at the free clinic in Joliet. Bette Bender was a long time volunteer at St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet and worked with Dr. Bender at his practice.

  • a $100,000 gift from Arnold and Doris Bodmer of Downers Grove, Ill., has endowed the Arnold R. and Doris G. Bodmer Science Travel Award. The gift will provide upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in the Division of Nature Sciences of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the resources to travel abroad for science related study, seminars or workshops. Professor Emeritus Arnold Bodmer, an expert in theoretical nuclear physics, enjoyed a lengthy career at UIC and continues to serve as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory. He earned his academic degrees, including a Ph.D. in physics, from Manchester University, England. Doris Bodmer is the owner of Mehler Press.

The following gift will support efforts at the Springfield campus:

  • L. Michael Purnell of Chatham, Ill., has given a gift of his estate to the University of Illinois at Springfield. It includes six-figure support that will create the L. Michael Purnell Endowment Fund in the School of Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The fund will support awards and fellowships for biology graduate students; environmental research involving wetlands restoration, ecosystem viability and biodiversity assessment, and the effects of pollution; WUIS public radio to support programs related to the natural sciences and resources; and specific programming at Sangamon Auditorium. Purnell, a 1978 UIS graduate, has worked in environmental and biological positions for the city of Springfield and the state of Illinois until his retirement as technology program coordinator for the Illinois Department of Commerce.

The three-day annual meeting of the University of Illinois Foundation also included dedication of Doris Kelley Christopher Hall, a new three-story building on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Nevada Street in Urbana. In 2002, Doris Kelley Christopher, a 1967 home economics alumna, along with her husband, Jay, donated $11.5 million to establish an endowed faculty chair at Illinois and fund construction of this facility to house The Pampered Chef Family Resiliency Program.

The program is a partnership between The Pampered Chef, Ltd., and the Department of Human and Community Development in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Established in February 2000 through a donation from Doris Christopher, founder and chairman of The Pampered Chef, Ltd., a Berkshire Hathaway company, The Family Resiliency Program supports innovative research, education and public engagement outreach activities that hold potential for strengthening families’ ability to be resilient in the face of life stressors and to successfully navigate the competing demands of work and family.

The building includes a unique laboratory—the Family Observation Suite—that enables researchers from a wide array of disciplines to study topics such as children’s and adolescents’ social, emotional and cognitive development with their families.