13 Major Gifts to Benefit Urbana-Champaign Campus of University of Illinois

Sep 28, 2012 10:07 AM

Thirteen private gifts totaling more than $11 million earmarked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were announced today (Friday, Sept. 28, 2012) at the U of I Foundation’s 77th 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 were highlighted at the U of I Foundation’s Business Meeting Friday morning. Featured gifts include:

  • A seven-figure deferred gift from Robert Endres of New York City, N.Y., will fund the Robert O. Endres Professor in Cinema Studies at the University Library. Endres, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1962 and a master’s degree in radio and television in 1963 at the U of I, worked at WPGU and WILL-AM-FM-TV while honing his skills in motion picture projection. He was head projectionist at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for 25 years and since then has been a projectionist for Dolby Labs, also in NYC. He is an acknowledged film expert and authority on old movie theaters.
  • Deferred and outright gifts totaling more than six figures from Milton Hieken and Barbara Barenholtz Hieken of Clayton, Mo., will enhance and promote academic excellence in the College of Engineering. Decades of consistent giving from Milton Hieken totals more than $500,000. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Illinois in 1952 and had a 41-year career with McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing Corp.), retiring as branch chief of the company’s engineering laboratories. Barbara Hieken is a University of Missouri graduate and is retired from a career in real estate in the St. Louis area.
  • A $1 million outright gift from Chris and Kathy Perry of Winnetka, Ill., will fund four-year scholarships for undergraduates in the College of Business. Chris Perry earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy at Illinois in 1977 and an MBA at Pepperdine University in 1982. A Certified Public Accountant, he has worked for public and private manufacturing companies, financial institutions, and is a partner at CIVC Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. A graduate of Georgetown University, Kathy Perry earned an MBA from Northwestern University in 1978. She also is a CPA, having worked as a manager at Arthur Andersen.
  • A $1 million deferred gift from Carl Vacketta of Washington, D.C., will establish the Carl L. Vacketta Scholarship in the College of Law. Preference will be given to students from Vacketta’s high school, Westville, as well as other qualified candidates from Vermilion County, Illinois. This gift builds on previous generosity to his alma mater, including an estate commitment (and current funds) to establish the Carl L. Vacketta Chair in Law as well as the Vacketta-DLA Piper Lecture Fund. Vacketta earned two degrees at Illinois u2015 a bachelor’s in commerce law in 1963 and a Juris Doctor in 1965. A noted expert in government contract law, he is a senior partner at the Washington, D.C., office of DLA Piper’s Government Contracts Group. In addition to his 40-plus years in private practice, he has served as an adjunct professor of law at the U of I, Georgetown University, and Catholic University. Vacketta, who serves on the U of I Foundation Board of Directors, is a longtime and active advocate of the University.
  • Gifts in excess of seven figures from Kenneth T. “K.T.” and Betty Wright of Blandinsville, Ill., are providing outright, pledged and deferred support to the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA). Specifically, the gifts will support Vet Med facilities expansion, establish a scholarship for incoming first-year veterinary students, support and enhance activities related to swine medicine and research, create the Byron and Wilma Wright Memorial Scholarship (in honor of K.T. Wright’s parents) in the College of ACES, fund purchase of plasma screens in the College of ACES Library Information and Alumni Center, and establish the Byron Wright Memorial Football Scholarship to assist student-athletes on the Fighting Illini football team. K.T. Wright received two degrees in veterinary medicine at Illinois u2015 a bachelor’s in 1960 and a doctorate in 1962. He owns and operates the Blandinsville Veterinary Clinic. Betty Wright worked for many years in banking before joining her husband as office manager of the clinic.
  • Two separate seven-figure deferred gifts from Ron Fark and John Wormley of Providence, R.I., will provide unrestricted support for the University Library and endow a study abroad scholarship for students in the School of Architecture in the College of Fine and Applied Arts (FAA). Fark earned two degrees from the U of I u2015 a bachelor’s in political science in 1970 and a master’s in library science in 1972. He retired after a 40-year career with university libraries, starting at the University of Illinois at Chicago Library as head of circulation and concluding as head of reference and research services at the Brown University Library. Wormley received a bachelor’s degree in architectural studies at Illinois in 1972. He was a member of the School of Architecture’s first Versailles (France) Study Abroad Program, and that experience is the reason behind his gift to Illinois. Wormley is vice president of design for The Procaccianti Group, a privately-held real estate investment and management company based in Cranston, R.I., that owns more than 65 hotels across the U.S. He also has served as an instructor of interior design at the Rhode Island School of Design since 1978.
  • Deferred and outright gifts in excess of $700,000 from Saul Morse and Anne Morgan of Springfield, Ill., will create the Saul J. Morse and Anne B. Morgan Professorship in Applied Health Sciences in the College of AHS. The purpose of the professorship will be to address issues related to health, aging and disability. Morse earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1969 and a Juris Doctor in 1972, both from Illinois. His career has been in state and federal government agencies as well as in private law practice. He is currently of counsel at Brown, Hay & Stephens, LLP, in Springfield. A 1972 psychology graduate of Muskingum College in Ohio, Morgan received master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology in 1975 and 1978, respectively, at the University of North Dakota. A licensed clinical psychologist, she has practiced in healthcare centers and hospitals in North Dakota and Minnesota, and for many years at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, where she founded the Health Care Psychology Department. She retired from practice in 2011.
  • A deferred gift of $700,000 from David Ginn and Richard Stevens of Jamaica Plain, Mass., will create student scholarships in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). The scholarships will be awarded to students interested in health sciences librarianship or health informatics. Ginn received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1976 and a master’s degree in library and information science in 1983, both at the U of I, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences. His career was in medical librarianship, serving as director of the Boston University Medical Library from 1993 until his retirement in 2008. A 1973 graduate of Westmar College, Stevens earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health in 1985. Before retiring in 2008, he was a national leader in guaranteeing the provision of HIV/AIDS services to those in need and to the general population.
  • A $750,000 deferred gift from Clarence Klaus Jr. of Butler, Pa., will provide support to the School of Architecture and Allerton Park in Monticello, Ill. Half of the income from the Clarence E. Klaus Jr. Endowment Fund will increase educational opportunities for architecture students and enhance the overall academic excellence in the School of Architecture. One quarter of the gift proceeds will provide need-based scholarships to architectural undergraduates. The remaining quarter will support and promote Allerton Park. Klaus earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the U of I College of Fine and Applied Arts in 1961. During a 50-year career, he was an architect for projects in more than 30 states, Canada and Spain. He worked for the firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum in St. Louis, and was a partner in Curry, Martin, Highberger and Klaus in Pittsburgh before forming his own firm, Klaus Associates. He retired from full-time work in 2008.
  • A seven-figure deferred gift from Norman Whitten Jr. of Urbana, Ill., will support the Spurlock Museum and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, both administratively housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Support for the Spurlock Museum will focus on research and intellectual activities of the newly renamed Dorothea S. and Norman E. Whitten Gallery of South American Peoples. Funding for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will support travel opportunities for graduate students conducting field research and support fellowships in the Center. The gift is a tribute to the 49-year collaboration between Whitten, a U of I professor emeritus of anthropology and Latin American studies, and his late wife Dorothea, affectionately known as “Sibby,” who was an adjunct curator at the Spurlock Museum and a research associate at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1952 at the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in 1962 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A 1959 graduate of Colgate University, Whitten earned master’s and doctoral degrees in 1961 and 1964, respectively, at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he met Sibby.
  • A $1 million deferred gift from Mary Sue Divan Murray of Fremont, Calif., will create an endowed professorship in the Department of Theatre in the College of FAA and support theatrical productions that are open to all undergraduate students on campus. Murray, who attended summer theatre programs on campus as a high school student, was active in theatre as an undergraduate at Illinois, winning the Best Actress Award her junior year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech education in 1961 and a master’s degree in theatre at the University of California at Santa Barbara. While she continued to perform onstage, she taught drama, speech and English at the secondary level in northern California for 21 years before becoming the director of staff development for Bay Area high schools, based in Hayward, Calif. After retiring from education, she was an event planner for the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
  • A major deferred gift from Catherine Key of Charleston, Ill., will create the Carmela Toffolo Key and Charley C. Key Lincoln Hall Scholarship Fund. The Key Fund, which will provide scholarships for humanities students in the College of LAS, honors the memory of Catherine Key’s parents. Catherine Key earned two degrees at Illinois u2015 a bachelor’s in LAS in 1954 and a master’s in anthropology and urban studies in 1969. After graduating from Illinois, she worked at community youth organizations in New York and Chicago. She later worked in Vietnam during the war, first as associate director of the USO in Saigon and then as the cultural director of the Vietnamese-American Society, a subsidiary of the U.S. Information Service. For the remainder of her career, Key taught at Elmhurst College.

The U of I Foundation’s annual meeting also included seminars held in conjunction with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a series of seminars presented by Illinois faculty and administrators, dedication of the Dr. Frank W. Kari Walkway and ponds restoration at the U of I Arboretum, and a tour of renovated Lincoln Hall.

For additional Information, contact:

John Fundator
Senior Communications Specialist
University of Illinois Foundation