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

Sep 28, 2007 08:05 AM

Seventeen private gifts totaling about $33.5 million earmarked for University of Illinois programs at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield were announced today (Friday, Sept. 28) at the U of I Foundation’s 72nd Annual Meeting.

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

The gifts from alumni and friends, which will be included in the University’s ongoing $2.25 billion Brilliant Futures fundraising campaign, were highlighted at the U of I Foundation’s Business Meeting Friday morning. Gifts made to the Urbana-Champaign campus include:

  • almost $10 million, outright and deferred, from Dr. Robert and Carolyn Springborn of Naples, Fla., to fund graduate and post-doctoral fellowships and undergraduate scholarships in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the U of I in 1951 and Ph.D. at Cornell University. He worked at Monsanto, Borg-Warner Chemical and W.R. Grace before he founded Springborn Laboratories in 1972. Carolyn Springborn, a U of I alumna, graduated from the Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She is an art collector and sculptor.
  • $3 million outright from Dr. Richard and Joanna Heckert of Meeteetse, Wyo., to establish the Richard E. Heckert Chair and the Harold R. Snyder Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry. A graduate of Miami University (Ohio), Richard Heckert earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in chemistry at Illinois in 1947 and 1949, respectively. The Snyder Fellowship honors Dr. Heckert’s Ph.D. advisor at Illinois. Richard Heckert had a 40-year career at DuPont, beginning in 1949 as a research chemist and rising through the ranks to chief executive officer and chairman of the board.
  • $2.5 million outright from The Khan Foundation, Inc., of Champaign, Ill., that will create five Shahid and Ann Carlson Kahn professorships in the Center on Health, Aging and Disability in the College of Applied Health Sciences. The new center is dedicated to healthy aging across the lifespan and greater quality of life for persons with disabilities. Shahid Kahn, a 1971 industrial engineering graduate of the U of I, began his career with Flex-N-Gate Corp. in 1970, purchased the company in the late 1970s, and is now sole owner of the Urbana-based corporation that employs more than 3,500 at 10 manufacturing plants in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Canada and Mexico. Ann Kahn received a bachelor’s degree in economics at the U of I in 1980. She is president of the Kahn Foundation.
  • $2.5 million deferred from Victor and Janet Buhrke of Portola Valley, Calif., that will provide scholarships, fellowships, post-doctoral fellowships and student research support, with an emphasis on analytical and physical chemistry in the Department of Chemistry. Their gift will also enhance instructional facilities, resulting in the renaming of the main lecture auditorium in Noyes Laboratory as G.L. Clark Hall. Clark was a mentor to and close friend of the Buhrkes. Victor Buhrke, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry at Illinois in 1950, 1952 and 1954, respectively, was long involved in the x-ray field, working with DuPont, RCA-Siemens, Picker and his own company. Janet Buhrke is a 1953 Illinois graduate and worked in chemical labs in Urbana and with the U.S. Army.
  • $2 million deferred from Charles and Barbara Hundley, who reside in both Champaign and Naperville, Ill. One half of their endowed fund will support a professorship in the Spurlock Museum, which will be filled by the museum’s executive director. One quarter of their gift will provide scholarships for members of the Fighting Illini football team, and the other quarter will be divided between the Illinois Promise need-based scholarship program and the James Newton Matthews Scholars Program. Charles Hundley, whose career included positions with Metropolitan Life, the U of I and the State Universities Retirement System, retired in 2002 as vice president at Northern Trust Company. Barbara Hundley, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at Eastern Illinois University, recently concluded a 30-year career with the U of I, retiring as associate chancellor of alumni relations and vice president of the U of I Alumni Association.
  • $2 million outright and deferred from Mannie and Cathy Jackson and their children Cassie and Candace to create the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program in the College of Applied Health Sciences. The program provides first-generation college students and students from under-represented groups with mentorship, academic skill development, career leadership training and one-on-one support to help students toward completion of their degrees and acquisition of skills for lifelong success. Mannie Jackson, a 1960 Illinois graduate, is a Fighting Illini basketball legend. The first African-American team captain for Illini basketball, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters and since 1993 has owned and served as chairman of the team.
  • $2 million deferred from Deborah Paul of Gurnee, Ill., that will create the Deb and Tim Paul Endowed Chair in Human Infectious Diseases and Immunology in the College of LAS’s School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The chair honors the memory of Deb Paul’s brother, Tim, who died at age 28 during the early AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. A writer and musician, he was a computer programmer for Continental Bank of Chicago. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Deb Paul earned a master’s degree in biology at Illinois in 1979 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Medical College of Virginia. Since 1979, she has been a researcher for Abbott Laboratories, where she participated in groundbreaking work on hepatitis B and later on HIV. She currently serves as senior licensing manager at Abbott Molecular Inc. in Des Plaines.
  • $1.6 million outright from Tony Petullo of Whitefish Bay, Wis., that will fund a professorship and two fellowships in each of the College of Fine and Applied Arts’ School of Art and Design and the College of Communications’ Department of Advertising. Petullo received a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the University of Illinois in 1961. He founded and served as president of Olsten Staffing Services. An avid collector, he is a recognized authority on self-taught art. An active advocate of the U of I, he has provided significant support to other programs at Illinois, especially through the Anthony Petullo Fund for Student Leadership Development.
  • $1 million outright from Steve and Sheila Miller of Houston, Texas, to create the Sheila M. Miller College of Education Fund and the Steven L. Miller Chemical Engineering Fund. The funds will provide unrestricted support for the College of Education and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Steve Miller, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1967 at Illinois, retired in 2002 as Shell Oil Company’s chairman, president and CEO. He is currently chairman and president of SLM Discovery Ventures, Inc., in Houston. Sheila Miller received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the U of I in 1967. Long active in several service organizations, she is a member of the U of I College of Education’s Board of Visitors.
  • $1 million deferred from Donald and Nancy Harper of Melvin Village, N.H., that will provide unrestricted support for the College of Business. Don Harper, a 1950 U of I graduate, held key executive positions with Emerson Electric from 1953 to 1973 and later with Insilco, rising to CEO, president and chairman of the board before he retired in 1989. Nancy Harper graduated from Centenary College and worked with New Jersey Bell.
  • >a seven-figure deferred gift from Nancy and Bruce Sullivan of Las Vegas, Nev., that will create the Sullivan Endowed Chair in the Department of Mathematics in the College of LAS. Nancy Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in the teaching of mathematics at the U of I in 1970 and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Tennessee. She worked in high-tech capacities with Allstate, Dow Chemical for 22 years, and Andersen Consulting/Accenture, from which she retired. Bruce Sullivan, also a University of Tennessee graduate, retired in 2004 after a nearly 30-year career with Colgate-Palmolive.

At the University of Illinois at Springfield, a $1.1 million distribution from the estate of Margaret Wepner of Springfield will create the Margaret Wepner Distinguished Professorship in Political Science, a faculty excellence award and scholarships, among other uses. She previously provided funding to create the Wilbur and Margaret Wepner Scholarship in honor of her husband. The Wepners were among the early supporters of Sangamon State University, the forerunner to UIS.

Five gifts were made to the College of Medicine—four of them to the Chicago campus and one to the Urbana-Champaign campus.

  • $1.2 million from The Cless Family Foundation of Northbrook, Ill., has established the Gerhard Cless Endowed Retina Lectureship and funded research in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UIC. Earlier Cless gifts funded equipment in the department. Gerhard Cless, who earned a master’s degree in engineering in his native Germany, is co-founder of Zebra Technologies, a global provider of business improvement and security applications.
  • $1 million outright from Dr. William and Carole Kaufman of Delray Beach, Fla., will fund scholarships for medical students who have financial need and academic ability. A U.S. Army Air Forces veteran, he attended the UIC College of Medicine on the G.I. Bill. He had a long career in surgical medicine, retiring from practice in Allen Park, Mich.
  • A $625,000 bequest distribution from the late Velma Roberts Becker will support total eye transplantation research in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UIC. Blind her entire life, Velma Becker earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in education from Illinois. She taught classes in Braille and educated people about issues affecting the visually impaired.
  • An outright gift of more than $500,000 from Drs. Anjuli and Nicholas Nayak of Bloomington, Ill., through the Nayak Family Foundation, will endow a research lecture series in evidence-based and clinical transitional medicine. The series will focus on preparing students to interpret exceptional science into outstanding health care for the patients they will serve. Anjuli Nayak is an allergist and immunologist, principal investigator and consultant. She is also an assistant professor at the UIC College of Medicine at Peoria. Nicholas Nayak specializes in family medicine, internal medicine and occupational therapy. He sees patients as part of the Ambulatory Medical Associates Group. The Nayaks conduct research through Sneeze, Wheeze and Itch Associates.
  • On the Urbana-Champaign campus, $300,000 outright from Dr. Charles C.C. O’Morchoe of Poulsbo, Wash., will endow the Patricia J. and Charles C.C. O’Morchoe Fellowship in Leadership Skills and the Joly-O’Morchoe Exchange Fellowship between the College of Medicine at Urbana and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Both fellowships honor the late Dr. Patricia O’Morchoe, who was a longtime professor of pathology, as well as Dr. Charles C.C. O’Morchoe. At Illinois, Patricia O’Morchoe was head of the Department of Pathology and Chris O’Morchoe served as a professor of anatomy and retired as dean of the college. The Joly-O’Morchoe Exchange Fellowship honors Charles Jasper Joly, Dr. O’Morchoe’s grandfather, a renowned astronomer, and John Joly, a professor of geology and mineralogy. The Jolys and O’Morchoes graduated from and served on the faculty of Trinity College.