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

Oct 02, 2009 08:00 AM

Eleven private gifts totaling more than $23 million earmarked for University of Illinois programs at the Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses were announced today (Friday, Oct. 2, 2009) at the U of I Foundation’s 74th Annual Meeting.

The gift announcements were part of the three-day meeting conducted by the Foundation, an independent, nonprofit corporation that secures and administers private gifts for the University of Illinois. More than 500 alumni and friends of the University 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.

Featured gifts made to the Urbana-Champaign campus include:

  • a $10 million deferred gift from Wayne A. Koonce and his wife Harriet Hentges of Washington, D.C., to establish the Wayne Koonce Endowment for Liberal Arts and Sciences. The fund will provide unrestricted support to increase educational opportunities and promote overall academic excellence in the college. The endowment will give the dean flexibility to meet critical needs and fund highpriority programs in LAS. Koonce earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from the U of I in 1971 and a combined Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration from Harvard University in 1976. He operates a privately-held real estate bank, Koonce and Co., LLC, headquartered in the New York and Washington, D.C., areas. A graduate of the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota, Hentges received a master’s degree from American University and a Ph.D. in international economics from Johns Hopkins University. She is vice president for corporate social responsibility and sustainability for Ahold USA, a subsidiary of Dutch food retailer Royal Ahold.
  • a $5 million gift from Robert E. and Juanita J. Simpson of Mount Vernon, Ohio, to create and fund the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson University Library Deanship. Paula Kaufman, the university librarian and dean of libraries since 1999, was invested as the inaugural holder of the endowed position in April. Active advocates of the University Library, the Simpsons previously established and endowed the Rare Book and Manuscript Library Chair via a $1.5 million gift. Robert Simpson, a 1949 Illinois graduate, is the founder and board chairman of MFM Building Products Corp., in Coshocton, Ohio.
  • a seven-figure current and deferred gift from Joseph J. Martocchio and Brad R. Olson of Urbana that will support the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Labor and Employment Relations(LER) and a campus-wide scholarship program. A large part of the gift will establish and support the Lundy Scholarship Fund, which will assist master’s students in LER who show financial need and whose parents did not graduate from college. The fund honor’s Joseph Martocchio’s grandfather, Orlando “ Lundy” Martocchio, and Lundy’s wife Helen. Lundy Scholars will also give back in the form of public service while in graduate school. The related Lundy Community Service Fund will encourage community service and philanthropy among LER students. Another gift creates the Rosalie and Joseph F. Martocchio Animal Care Fund, which honors Joseph Martocchio’s parents and will support emergency medical services for indigent animals in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Clinic. Additionally, the Brad Robert Olson Fund for Indigent Small Animals will fund treatment of indigent animals and pets of families who cannot afford medical assistance, support lodging for families that travel a great distance, and provide for medical equipment used to care for small animals. Another gift, in honor of Brad Olson’s parents, creates the Lorraine and Robert C. Olson Illinois Promise Fund. Robert Olson was an auditor for the U of I for almost 40 years. Illinois Promise is a campus-directed scholarship program that provides tuition, fees, room and board, and books for four years. A graduate of Babson College, Joseph Martocchio earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Michigan State. He is associate dean and professor in the U of I School of Labor and Employment Relations. Brad Olson is a cost analyst at Colwell Systems in Champaign.
  • a deferred gift of $1.3 million from June Michael of St. Louis, Mo., to create the John D. Colombo Professorship in Law and provide need-based scholarships for students in the College of Law. June Michael worked for Bell Telephone, the FBI and Washington University at St. Louis, where she also attended school. The gift honors June Michael’s cousin, Professor Colombo, who teaches primarily in the tax field at the U of I College of Law.
  • a seven-figure commitment of outright and deferred gifts from Robert E. and Kay E. Merrick of Quincy, Ill., that has established the Robert and Kay Merrick Family Endowment Fund to equally support overlooked programs in the University Library, the College of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Art and Design in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Robert Merrick received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the Urbana-Champaign campus in 1972 as well as a master’s degree in public health and an M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1976. He is medical director for quality at Blessing Hospital in Quincy and medical director for the Adams County Health Department. Kay Merrick, who earned a master’s degree in education at UIC in 1978, taught in Chicago Public Schools and is business manager of Robert Merrick’s professional practice. Their children daughter Kelly is an attorney and son Jeff is a graphic designer are University of Illinois graduates.
  • a seven-figure estate gift from Chinoree T. Enta of Chicago in support of an array of programs and activities on the Urbana-Champaign campus, including establishment of the Kimiyo and Chinoree T. Enta Japan House Endowment. Japan House provides opportunities for students and the public to learn about traditional Japanese culture through house and garden tours, tea ceremonies, art, dance and other events. In memory of his wife, Kimiyo, Chinoree “ Ben Enta established a fund that supports fellowships in chemistry and microbiology as well as general support for the College of LAS. Ben Enta earned a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and chemistry at the U of I in 1951 and a master’s degree from DePaul University. He retired as a chemist with the Chicago Water Department. Kimiyo Enta, an actuary with an insurance company, was a professional dancer and taught Japanese folk dancing for more than 30 years.
  • an estate gift from Robert Aaron of Normal, Ill., to create the Aaron Family Endowment Fund for Political Science. The fund will support the Center for the Study of Democratic Governance in the College of LAS’s Department of Political Science. Aaron received two degrees from Illinois, a bachelor’s in political science in 1972 and a master’s in journalism in 1973. Now retired, Aaron had a long career in government and higher education public affairs and journalism, working with the U.S. General Services Administration, the Chamber of the Commerce of the United States, the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the University of Houston Clear Lake, Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Puget Sound. The gift honor’s Robert Aaron’s father, Jerome S. Aaron, a 1933 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, and his mother, Betty, a homemaker.
  • a seven-figure outright gift from Ronald Chez of Chicago to establish the Chez Family Scholars Program. The gift provides support for academically talented, economically disadvantaged Chicago Public Schools graduates attending the U of I. Six recipients were awarded last year and five more were selected this year. Through annual renewal, in a few years there will be 20 Chez Scholars. The scholarship represents the commitment of the Chez family, including Ron’s children Eric and Elizabeth, to Illinois youth who might not otherwise be able to afford a college education. A 1962 Illinois graduate, Ronald Chez is an investor in private and public companies. He is chairman of EpiWorks, a Champaign-based venture company that produces semi-conductors. 
  • an outright gift of $500,000 from brothers Albert and Alexander Goldstein of Chicago that has created the Goldstein Development Fund in the College of Business. The fund will support student efforts in developing start-up companies for commercialization in the private sector. Albert Goldstein earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the Urbana-Champaign campus in 2002 and Alexander has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Chicago campus. They founded CashNet USA, a payday loan company they built into a successful Internet loan business. After selling CashNet, they created Pangea Equity Partners, a real estate investment company in the Chicago market. 
  • Gifts totaling more than $600,000 from Polly Roesch of Springfield, Ill., have created scholarships and endowed funding for other efforts on the Springfield and Urbana-Champaign campuses of the University of Illinois. Her latest gift will support the music program and music scholarships at UIS. She previously provided funding to place a dome on the UIS observatory in memory of her father and established a scholarship for the benefit of students in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the Urbana-Champaign in honor of her husband, Walter Roesch, who was a successful businessman.
  • A gift totaling $600,000 from Elissa Efroymson and her husband, Adnaan Hamid, through the Efroymson Family Fund will support of the Chicago Diabetes Project in the University of Illinois College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. The Chicago Diabetes Project has brought together top scientists and their teams from three continents to find a cure for diabetes. The project is coordinated by Jose Oberholzer, chief of the division of transplant surgery at UIC. The Indianapolis-based Efroymson Family Fund, established in 1998, is one of the largest donor-advised funds in the United States. Elissa Efroymson, a Loyola University alumna, is vice chair of the family fund. Adnaan Hamid is a psychiatrist and 1996 graduate of the UIC medical school.
  • The U of I Foundation’s annual meeting also included a reception at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, seminars (The Humanities in the New Millennium and A Presidential Press Conference with Abraham Lincoln) and the opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunications and visit an exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion on the Morrill Act, which enabled states to make higher education accessible to all through land-grant colleges and universities.

Brilliant Futures, the University of Illinois’ $2.25 billion capital campaign, has raised $1.7 billion, or 76 percent of its goal, as of August 31. Outright gifts, grants and pledges to Brilliant Futures will support students, faculty, academic programs and other activities on the three campuses of the University. The fundraising effort, which began on July 1, 2003, is expected to conclude on Dec. 31, 2011.

For additional Information, contact:

John Fundator
Senior Communications Specialist
University of Illinois Foundation