WMU News

Trustees hear two-month gift report

June 27, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- More than $847,400 in current and deferred cash gifts was donated to Western Michigan University during the months of April and May, according to a report presented to the WMU Board of Trustees at its June 27 meeting.

Gifts of $391,624 in April and $455,780 in May brought the fiscal year-to-date total of current and deferred cash gifts to $8,890,525. This figure is $185,928 higher than the amount received during the same 11-month period last fiscal year.

Major donations reported included two gift annuities totaling more than $100,000 from Dominic and Nadia Leonardelli of Kalamazoo. The annuities will be used to create an endowed Medallion Scholarship. WMU's Medallion Scholarship Program is among the largest and most prestigious merit scholarship programs in American public higher education.

Dominic Leonardelli is a former WMU faculty member and a longtime supporter of the University. Originally from Norway, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula, he came to WMU in 1951. Initially, he taught at the former State High School and in what was then the School of Education.

In 1956, Leonardelli transferred to the Division of Continuing Education as director of in-service education programs. He returned to the faculty in 1977, joining the Department of Education and Professional Development as an assistant professor. He served in the department until retiring in 1979.

Another major gift reported was a $51,516 donation from Japanese alumni for the WMU Friends of Japan Endowment Fund. The fund, which now totals about $75,000, was launched by two anonymous gifts. It supports WMU students who travel to or study in Japan as well as helps offset the cost of materials needed for University classes on Japan and its culture.

In addition, alumnus George Ball of Newport Beach, Calif., provided $15,000 to the Mike Gary Athletic Fund to support the pep band at hockey games. Ball, the general counsel for American Suzuki in Brea, Calif., is a former WMU hockey player and has supported the University's hockey program for many years. He received his bachelor's degree from WMU in 1966.

Other gifts received during April and May included a $10,000 pledge payment from Hammond Machinery of Kalamazoo to the Science Campaign Equipment Fund. The company has pledged a total of $25,000 to support WMU's multi-million dollar effort to enhance its science facilities. Also, a $15,000 gift was received from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Ark., to support the University's Food Marketing Program.

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