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

Oct 18, 2013 09:00 AM

Seven private gifts totaling more than $13 million earmarked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be announced Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, during the U of I Foundation’s 78th Annual Meeting.

The gift announcements are 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 450 alumni and friends of the University are attending the event held on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Six of the gifts from alumni and friends will be highlighted at the U of I Foundation’s Chancellor’s Dinner Friday evening. Featured gifts will include:

  • A new seven-figure deferred gift from James and Candace Frame of Fletcher, N.C., to the College of Fine and Applied Arts in support of University Bands. This builds on a $4 million unrestricted bequest for the Marching Illini, professional-line musical instruments, as well as a six-figure gift that created the Dee Wood Frame Excellence in Music Award (in honor of James Frame’s mother, a director emerita of the U of I Housing Division), the Robert W. Frame Excellence in Music Award (in honor of James Frame’s father, a 1935 Illinois grad who served as longtime superintendent of the Illinois State Geological Survey), and the Henry Penn Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering (in honor of Candace Penn’s grandfather, a 1910 U of I engineering graduate and salutatorian of his class). James Frame, a 1973 U of I graduate who recently retired after a long career in healthcare technology, is co-founder of an international pearl jewelry business based in the Atlanta area. Candace Frame, a 1972 Illinois graduate, recently retired from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in Bethesda, Md., and is a currently a consultant for a Washington, D.C.-based defense contractor.
  • $4 million from the Irwin Family Foundation to the College of Business to renovate the Surveying Building, which will be known as the Irwin Center for Doctoral Study in Business. The building, located adjacent to the College of Business’s Wohlers Hall, will provide a contemporary infrastructure for business doctoral and post-doctoral scholars as they pursue their research and teaching activities. This gift honors the memory of Richard D. Irwin , a 1926 U of I graduate and founder of the publishing house of Richard D. Irwin, Inc. (now Dow Jones-Irwin, Inc.), and his wife, Anne Marie Irwin. Previous multi-million dollar gifts from the Irwin Family Foundation include funding for the Irwin Indoor Football Facility, Irwin Academic Center, Irwin Family Foundation Fellowships, and support for construction of the varsity football headquarters, including coaches offices and a public reception area, near Memorial Stadium.
  • A deferred gift of $5 million from Thomas W. and Mary Ellen O’Laughlin (O’LAWK-lin) of Champaign, Ill., will create the Thomas W. and Mary Ellen O’Laughlin Fund for the Center for Business and Public Policy in the College of Business. Their gift will support the center’s research, teaching and public engagement mission as well as scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. A 1956 U of I biochemistry graduate, Thomas O’Laughlin worked in the aerospace industry before forming a publishing company that served the resort and hospitality industry. He then operated his own publishing consulting firm. Mary Ellen O’Laughlin retired after a 30-year career with Merrill Lynch & Co.
  • An outright gift of $1 million from Andrew Yang of Los Gatos, Calif., will create the Andrew T. Yang Research Award to fund graduate student fellowships in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. The Yang Award will support graduate students who are exploring exceptional technological ideas that have potential commercial application. He holds three degrees in electrical engineering—a bachelor’s from the University of California at Berkeley and master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1986 and 1989, respectively. A tenured professor at the University of Washington from 1989 to 1996, Yang co-founded Apache Design Solutions, a company that specializes in low-power products for high-performance, energy-efficient semiconductor integrated circuits. He serves as president of Apache, which was sold to Ansys in 2011, and is vice president and general manager of Ansys.
  • An outright gift of more than $1 million from Sanjay K. Srivastava (SHREE-VAHS-tah-vah) of Los Altos, Calif., through the Srivastava Foundation, will support construction of the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building. The Senior Design Laboratory will be named in his honor. Srivastava received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Illinois in 1987. He is the chairman of SKS Capital, a California-based investment group that supports early stage ventures in storage, semiconductors and education. Srivastava co-founded and for 15 years was CEO and president of Denali Software and had key executive positions with Cadence Design Systems and Nvelo. He co-manages the Srivastava Foundation, which supports higher education and medicine, especially palliative care in India.
  • $1 million outright from Richard K. Williams of Cupertino, Calif., in support of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His gift will support construction of the new ECE Building and endow the Richard K. Williams Professorship in Power Semiconductor Electronics. A 1980 Illinois electrical engineering graduate, Williams holds a master’s degree from Santa Clara University. He is president, CEO and chief technical officer of Advanced Analogic Technologies, Inc. The holder of more than 200 U.S. patents, his inventions include components for Mercedes-Benz, Sony, and Apple and can be found in medical devices, advanced safety sensors, and video displays.

Additionally, major support from Richard S. and Loan (Low-On) B. Hill of Atherton, Calif., was announced at the Foundation’s business meeting Friday morning. The Hills were recognized for their gift to establish scholarships in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Political Science on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The scholarships are in addition to commitment of more than $6.5 million from the Hills to the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Bioengineering, now housed jointly in the UIC College of Engineering and the UIC College of Medicine. The gift, the largest in the history of the UIC College of Engineering, resulted in the naming of the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering, the first named department at UIC. The couple’s total giving to UIC totals $9 million.

A 1974 UIC bioengineering graduate, Rick Hill had a long and successful career in engineering, holding management positions at Hughes Aircraft, Motorola, General Electric and Tektronix before he became CEO of Novellus Systems, a semiconductor capital equipment company in Silicon Valley. Under his leadership, the small start-up became on the top 10 semiconductor equipment manufacturers in the world. He retired in 2012, and currently serves on five public companies boards.

Hill is past chairman of the U of I Foundation Board of Directors, former chairman and current member of the UIC College of Engineering Advisory Board, and member of the College of Engineering Board of Visitors on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Also, the Foundation recognized three major gifts to the University of Illinois over the past few months, including:

  • A five-year, $25-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the photosynthetic properties of key food crops, including rice and cassava. The project, titled “RIPE—Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency,” has the potential to benefit farmers around the world by increasing productivity of staple food crops. Illinois research will take place at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), a state-of-the-art facility whose large shared laboratories accommodate multiple groups and encourage cross-discipline interaction.
  • A 30-year, $60-million agreement from State Farm to renovate the Assembly Hall. The building has been renamed State Farm Center. The longtime relationship between State Farm and U. of I.—which includes the State Farm Research and Development Center—along with the fact that the corporate headquarters are just 50 miles from campus, made for a natural partnership on the project. Some utility work on the building and surrounding grounds is underway, with the first major phase of the project expected to begin in March 2014. State Farm Center is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016-17 basketball season.
  • A $100 million commitment from The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Ill., that establishes the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative. The Grainger Initiative covers all the key elements that make Engineering at Illinois a truly elite program —faculty chairs and named professorships, undergraduate scholarships, world-class facilities, and support for research. It will initially focus on bioengineering and Big Data, fields that are perfectly suited to Illinois' collaborative and multidisciplinary culture. The contribution is made in memory and honor of William W. Grainger, a 1919 Illinois graduate in Electrical Engineering, and the founder of W.W. Grainger, Inc. The Grainger Foundation, a long-term benefactor of the College of Engineering at Illinois, has made this commitment to ensure the continued global standing of the Illinois engineering program by providing the support and infrastructure necessary to lead the most important engineering breakthroughs of the future.

For additional Information, contact:

John Fundator
Senior Communications Specialist
University of Illinois Foundation