WMU News

More than $2 million received in gifts

September 18, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- More than $2 million in cash and non-cash gifts was received by the Western Michigan University Foundation in July and August, according to a report presented to the WMU Board of Trustees at its Sept. 18 meeting.

The amount includes $2,127,976 in current and deferred cash gifts and $23,614 in non-cash gifts. This puts the total for cash and non-cash gifts received by the WMU Foundation at $2,151,590 since the 1998-99 fiscal year began July 1. Gift pledges received during the two-month period amount to $5.6 million.

The Paper Technology Foundation at WMU also reported gifts received during July and August. It recorded $28,969 in cash gifts and $55,000 in non-cash gifts for a combined year-to-date total of $83,969.

Among the major gifts received or pledged thus far in the fiscal year is $1,487,537 from the late Dorotha Carter Kercher of Kalamazoo.

Kercher designated that $1 million be used to create the Leonard C. and Dorotha Kercher Sociology Endowment Fund, which primarily will support undergraduate and graduate sociology students at WMU. The remainder of the charitable bequest will be used to create the Dorotha Kercher Endowment Fund for University Libraries to support the acquisition of library materials for international and area studies.

The WMU Foundation also reported receiving $69,000 of a $212,600 pledge from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation for the University's award-winning jazz studies program. The gift will allow the School of Music to add a jazz brass specialist to the faculty, bring more high-profile guest artists to campus, and better equip and promote jazz studies.

The Gilmore Foundation has supported WMU extensively over the years. Founded in 1972 by Irving Gilmore, a pianist and Kalamazoo-area businessman, the foundation concentrates on sustaining and improving the cultural, social and economic life of greater Kalamazoo.

The jazz program, which dates back to 1905, is among the top university jazz offerings in the United States and has gained a national reputation for its innovative approach to jazz education. The recent gift will help the program attain additional prominence here and abroad.

Another area benefiting from donations to the WMU Foundation so far this fiscal year is the University's prestigious Medallion Scholarship program.

Richard and Helen Lenon of Glenview, Ill., made a total gift of $64,000 to establish a Medallion

Scholarship in each of their names. The Medallions represent some of the largest merit scholarships in American public higher education. Available to undergraduate students, the awards are valued at $32,000 over four years.

Richard Lenon is the retired chairman of the board of International Mineral and Chemicals Corp., now called IMCERA Group, of Northbrook, Ill. He also is past president and chief executive officer of IMC Global, and remains on its board as a director. A member of the WMU Academy of Volunteers, he is a director emeritus of the WMU Foundation and a 1976 recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from the WMU Alumni Association.

Richard received a bachelor of arts degree from WMU in 1941. Helen, who attended WMU from 1939 to 1941, received a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University in 1943.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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