From Zero to $2.7 Billion

Launched in 2014 and concluded June 2022, With Illinois broke records and exceeded expectations to become the most successful fundraising campaign in University history

Launched in 2014 and concluded June 2022, With Illinois broke records and exceeded expectations to become the most successful fundraising campaign in University history

One might say a triumph was front-loaded. When With Illinois officially kicked off in the fall of 2017, approximately 45 percent of the campaign’s ambitious $2.25 billion goal had already been secured through a three-year “quiet phase” begun in 2014. Even better news was ahead. In March 2021, the campaign exceeded that $2.25B goal—18 months early. By the closing date of June 30, 2022, contributions had approached $2.7B. Talk about wild success! 

The story of With Illinois is the story of more than 171,000 alumni and friends, whose gifts—from modest to magnificent—were the backbone of contributions. What follows is a general timeline sampling a progression of lead gifts and endowments, funds and bequests, contributions and pledges, adding up to the greatest boon in the history of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Along with the generosity of donors, this abridged list highlights the U of I’s amazing intellectual, social and athletic diversity. Our legendary institution of learning on the Midwestern prairie has always been enriched by those who believe in our Alma Mater. Thanks to all of you. 

Male student being silly, laughing and poking his face through a life-size, orange Illinois block "I."

Students gather for a Welcome Celebration after taking part in the Convocation ceremony. It was a chance for students to get more information about campus resources, as well as getting to know their fellow freshman class. (Image courtesy of UI Public Affairs)



July 1, 2014  With Illinois Begins The next three years comprise the “quiet” phase of the $2.25B campaign. By the official opening, $1.01B—45 percent of the goal—will have been raised.

Major Contributions

$25M to establish the Siebel Center for Design from information technology tycoon Thomas Siebel, ’75 LAS, MBA ’83, MS ’85 LAS, and his wife, Stacey.

$5.5M from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to study economic revitalization in Illinois communities affected by reductions in federal military spending, a grant matched by nearly $775,000 in contributions from local sources.

$5M from Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation for a center for analytics education.

More than $3M from Tony Petullo, ’61 BUS, for scholarships to business students.

$2M for the eDream (Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at U of I from Jerry Fiddler, LAS ’74, MS ’77 ENG, and his wife, Melissa Alden. 

$2M for the Jerome Mirza Trial Academy, a College of Law training program based in Chicago, from the late Jerome Mirza, JD ’63.

$1M for scholarships to students underrepresented in advertising, by the Jack M. Klues 77 MEDIA, and Elizabeth F. Klues Family Foundation.

$1.5M for scholarships to freshmen in engineering, in memory of William Pascoe, ’40 ENG.

A $1M bequest to establish the Anna Mae Koval Scholarship in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (iSchool) from Edward Koval, MS ’58 LAS, PHD ’60 LAS, MBA ’77.

$1M for scholarships in the Gies College of Business from Thomas M. Scott, ’83 BUS, and Julie E. Scott, ’85 BUS.

More than $250,000 to establish a program connecting students who live in Ikenberry Commons to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts from U of I President Emeritus Stanley O. Ikenberry, HON ’19, and his wife, Judith. 



October 13—On the seemingly counterintuitive date of Friday the 13th, With Illinois opens to the public over Homecoming weekend. An extravaganza on the arena stage of State Farm Center showcases the University community, from a “smart” prosthetic arm developed at the Research Park and a cancer drug that has saved a pretty little dachshund named Pretzel to Olympic wheelchair medalists and dancing Almas. The campaign is already 45 percent of the way to its $2.25B goal.

Contributions and Gifts

$150M to the College of Business, to be renamed in honor of Larry Gies, ’88 BUS, and his wife, Beth, ’89 ACES. 

$7M for new soccer and track-and-field facilities from Richard Demirjian, ’88 LAS, and Kara Demirjian-Huss, ’92 ACES.

Funds for the Ronald Filler, ’70 LAS, and Paula Filler Marching Illini Instructional Tower.



June 30—Just six months after public launch, With Illinois reaches the halfway point of the campaign and is already ahead of pace, with more than $1.35B raised.

Major Contributions

$21.5M for renovation of the Mechanical Engineering Building from Sidney Lu, ’81 ENG, ’81 LAS, for whom the building is to be named.

$20M from the H.D. Smith Foundation, including $15M for the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Performance Center and $3M for degree completion for Illini student athletes wishing to return to campus. Subsequent gifts for the Football Performance Center include $5M from Illini football player Stu Levenick, ’76 ACES, and his wife, Nancy; $2.5M from CA Ventures, a real estate investment company founded by Tom Scott, ’83 BUS; $1.2M from Mark, 70 BUS, JD 73, and Bonnie Goldenberg, 72 FAA; and $100,000 pledged by U of I Athletics Director Josh Whitman, BUS ’01, JD ’08, and his wife, Hope. The Center opens in August 2019.

$13M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), an ACES program designed to increase the global food supply. The gift supplements a $45M reinvestment in the program in 2017 from Gates, as well as the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and the U.K. government’s international development department. 

$5M for the Origin Ventures Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Gies College of Business from business partners Steven N. Miller, ’87 BUS, and Bruce Barron, ’77 BUS.

$3M for a state-of-the-art baseball training facility named for lead donor Susie Atkins and her late husband Clint.

$1.48M for fellowships in aerospace engineering, an estate gift from the late Robert Beatty, ’69 ENG, MS ’71 ENG.

$200,000 from Microsoft to help students with autism to earn technology degrees. 

$100,000 for extracurricular learning opportunities University High School from University High School alumnus David Frankel, ’80 ENG.

$50,000 to support the Lincoln Scholars Initiative and the Robert M. Copeland Undergraduate Assistance Fund from Elaine Copeland, MBA 87, in honor of her late husband, Robert.

$25,000 for scholarships in computer science from Susan Silver, ’88 LAS, and Ross Erlebacher, ’88 ENG, MS ’89 ENG.

Funding and Gifts

A sesquicentennial garden in the University Arboretum.

A bronze statue of Illini football great Dick Butkus, ’65 AHS, outside the Football Performance Center.

A Discovery Fund for faculty in chemistry.

The first endowed professorship in animal sciences, named for alumnus and faculty member Keith Kelley, MS ’73 ACES, PHD ’76 ACES, and his wife, Sara, ’76 ACES.

A crowdfunding campaign for the Marching Illini Band Fund that generates more than $190,000 over the next four years.

The largest endowment in the history of the Dept. of Geography and Geographic Information.



June 30—With Illinois has raised $1.79B, almost 80 percent of the campaign goal.

Major Contributions

$100M to the College of Engineering from the Grainger Foundation, for which the College will be named. The gift brings to $300M overall support from the foundation, established by the late William Grainger, 1919 ENG. 

$100M for research in quantum engineering from the Rebuild Illinois state infrastructure plan.

$37.5M from OSF HealthCare Foundation for the Jump ARCHES healthcare engineering research center.

$2.5M to the new ACES Feed Technology Center from agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland. The Center also receives equipment valued at more than $1M from Buhler Group, a Swiss manufacturer; more equipment from AGCO, a company headquartered in Duluth, Ga., an accelerator in the U of I Research Park; and $50,000 from Compeer Financial, a Midwestern farm-credit cooperative.

$2M for “Interseminars” to promote interdisciplinary research inquiry into the arts and humanities among graduate students and faculty from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

$1M to the Dept. of Classics for teaching and student support from George Reveliotis, ’96 LAS, JD ’99.

$1M to the iSchool for new programs and scholarships from Jim, ’66 BUS, MS ’67 BUS, and Lionelle Elsesser, ’66 LAS,
MS ’67 IS.

$1M to assess the global impact of sanitation systems from the Gates Foundation.

$1M for an addition to Japan House from the late George Ogura.

A $650,000 bequest for graduate choral study from the late conductor Joseph Flummerfelt, AMUSD ’71. He also gave the University an extensive collection of musical scores, as has choral conductor Don V Moses.

Funding and Gifts

A new playground at the ACES Child Development Laboratory.

Classrooms, renovations and enhancements at the University’s iconic Stock Pavilion.

Acquisition funds, gifts of art and estate gifts to Krannert Art Museum from Len Lewicki, ’70 BUS, JD ’73, and Iver Nelson, ’51 LAW, JD ’53. The museum also received support in acquiring work by pioneering photographer Hal Fischer, ’73 FAA, from faculty member Robert Carringer and his wife, Sonia.

The O’Leary Learning Center, a new laboratory and collaboration space in the College of Education, funded by Richard ’55 LAS, JD ’63 and Ann O’Leary, ’56 ACES.

Illinois 4-H and the ACES farmdoc website, providing management tools and information. 

The Mildred M. Luther, ’48 ACES, and Kathryn Luther Henderson, ’44 LAS, ’48 IS, MS ’51 IS, Professorship in Preservation and Technical Systems, the first endowed professorship at the iSchool.

Artwork commissioned in honor of the 75th anniversary of the School of Social Work.

A cutting-edge preclinical animal MRI system acquired for the Beckman Institute.

Establishment of the Catherine and Don Kleinmuntz Center for Genomics in Business and Society.

An endowment to honor the late Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang.

A multi-year gift of artifacts associated with historic Illinois tribes, donated by Steve Tieken to the Illinois State Archeological Survey, housed at the U of I.

“Windwalker,” a painting by Billy Morrow Jackson, MFA ’54, donated to ACES.

An endowed chair and a leadership program in sustainability from Illini football player Stu Levenick, ’76 ACES, and his wife, Nancy. 

Support for the Wildlife Medical Clinic nursery, The Media Innovation Fund and the Robert Pahre Fund, which benefits students in political science.

An animated orange and blue saturated audience viewing the Marching Illini band performing on stage with large projection screens displaying the university logo above.

The With Illinois fundraising campaign debuts to the public on Oct. 13, 2017, at the State Farm Center during Homecoming weekend. The festivities include a performance by the Marching Illini. (Image by Diane M. Smutny)



June 30—With Illinois contributions and commitments stand at $2.13B, almost 95 percent of the campaign goal.

Major Contributions

The Atkins Group donates Stone Creek Golf Club, comprising more than 300 acres and associated buildings and equipment, to the University. Renamed the Atkins Golf Club, the facility will provide public play and practice opportunities for men’s and women’s varsity golf. 

$10M for scholarships, athletics and two pioneering education and research initiatives, Illinois Innovation Network and Discovery Partners Institute, from U of I Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards, ’88 BUS, and his wife, Anne Edwards, ’88 BUS.

$7.5M to establish the Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media from Richard Frank, ’62 BUS, and his wife, Leslie.

$3M for a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility, the Rex and Alice A. Martin Softball Training Center, a family gift in honor of the late Alice Martin, MBA ’81.

$2.5M to the Gies College of Business for a shared instructional facility from Steve, ’78 BUS, ’78 BUS, and Megan Shebik, ’80 LAS.

$1.17M to the Illinois Leadership Center, the largest outright gift ever made to Student Affairs, for a leadership in residence program from Jane Donaldson, ’65 LAS, MS ’67 MEDIA, and her husband, Bill.

$1M for graduate fellowships and assistantships in aerospace engineering from Virgil Cobb-Bourgon in recognition of his research and collaborations with U of I faculty and alumni.

$1M for PhD4, a program to fund fourth-year graduate students in chemistry, from Peixin He, PHD ’85 LAS, and Xiaoming Chen.

An estate gift of $750,000 for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and a named professorship in classics from Barbara Wallach, MS ’70 LAS, PHD ’74 LAS.

$750,000 from the National Science Foundation for Q2Work, a program in quantum education workforce development, co-led by the U of I and University of Chicago.

More than $400,000 in scholarship support—the combined gift of eight families, allowing student athletes at the University who sat out the Spring 2020 season to extend their athletic and academic careers by another year.

Funding and Gifts

Illinois CARES: COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund, established with help from donors and the federal government for students dealing with financial challenges resulting from
the pandemic.

The Phillip A. Sharp Professorship in Biochemistry—endowed by Sharp, PHD ’69 LAS, a faculty member and 1993 Nobel laureate.

A top-of-the-line combine donated to ACES by agricultural equipment giant John Deere.

A gift of farmland to benefit Illinois 4-H and ACES students.

Expansion of the University’s breakthrough SHIELD saliva- based COVID testing program.

Aerial imagery comprising two agricultural data sets presented to the College of ACES by Aerial Agronomy, a leading provider of aerial agricultural imagery.

Research at the University to produce improved personal protective equipment for healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The renovation of Altgeld Hall, with support including gifts for the Chime Room, Reading Room and entryway.

Maintaining the Hymn Tune Index (a reference resource covering more than 130,000 tunes and texts printed in or before 1820).

An endowed chair in molecular and integrative physiology.

A professorship in the history of libraries.

A lecture series in high-performance computing.

Emergency support to law students.

Research at the Cancer Center at Illinois.

An annual School of Music concert celebrating jazz, avant-garde, progressive rock and music traditions, in memory of guitarist and U of I librarian Nick Rudd.

The Blackwell Diversity Fund, honoring African American statistician David Blackwell, MA ’39 LAS, PHD, ’41 LAS, HON ’66.

The LAS Emergency Fund to provide financial assistance to students experiencing unexpected financial need.

The Thomas, PHD ’69 LAS, and Margaret Huang, MA ’65 LAS, PHD ’92 LAS, Endowed Professorship in signal processing and data science.

The collected papers of U of I physics professor Anthony Legget, donated by the Nobel laureate to the University Archives and offering a perspective on his research in theoretical condensed matter physics.



March 1—With Illinois records $2.268B in gifts and commitments, exceeding its goal 18 months ahead of schedule.

June 30—The campaign has raised $2.42B.

Major Contributions

$45M for a new Extension Center to be located on the grounds of the University Arboretum from Doris Kelley Christopher, ’67 ACES.

$5M from Karen, ’74 LAS, JD ’77, and Kimball Anderson, ’74 LAS, JD ’77, to establish the Center for Advocacy and Professionalism in the College of Law. 

$1.7M estate gift to University Housing for enhancement of student experiences from U of I retiree Marilyn Michal, ’63 BUS, EDM ’70.

$1M to the Dept. of Religion to establish studies in Jainism, a South Asian religion that emphasizes nonviolence, non-possessiveness and respect for other viewpoints.

$500,000 for scholarships in veterinary medicine from Stephen Hadley, ’83 ACES, ’85 VM, MS ’87 VM, DVM ’87, and his family.

$500,000 from automotive manufacturer Rivian to establish a COVID-19 testing facility at its plant in Normal, Ill., using SHIELD, a saliva-based test developed at the U of I. 

$350,000 for the Atkins Baseball Training Center from Philip R. Sarnecki, 92 LAS, and his wife, Heidi. Major support for the center also came from Mark, Julie and Bob Staley.

Funding and Gifts

The Cesar Pelli Distinguished Lecture Series in Architecture, established by an estate gift from renowned architect Cesar Pelli, MARCH 54.

The McKechnie LIFE (Living in Interactive Future Environments) Home to research next-generation smart homes, established through a lead gift by Karen, ’70 AHS, and Jim McKechnie, ’70 LAS, who also endowed a professorship in the College of Applied Health Sciences.

The Rosalyn S. Yalow Professorship in nuclear physics, the first professorship in engineering named for a female alumna, the late Rosayn Sussman Yalow, MS 42 ENG, PHD 45 ENG.

Research on data in chemical science and engineering.

Emergency support for business faculty.

The College of Media’s Institute of Communications Research.

A “smart” pedestrian bridge on the Engineering Campus, which deploys advanced temperature control technology, named for Kavita and Lalit Bahl, MS ’66 ENG, PHD ’69 ENG.

Restoration of Erlanger House, an iconic Urbana structure designed by professor Jack Baker, 43 FAA, MARCH 45.

Awards for creativity in advertising for students in the College of Media.

Scholarships and travel for members of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club.



June 30—With Illinois officially wraps up, topping out at almost $2.7B. As the concluding gift, U of I Chancellor Robert Jones and his wife, Lynn Hassan Jones, contribute $200,000 to benefit Illinois Commitment, a program that provides free tuition to economically challenged students.

October 14—Five years and a day after the public launch of With Illinois, the community celebrates the conclusion of the campaign. On campus festivities include hot air balloon rides, a party in Grange Grove and a dinner for donors. The campaign has brought in more than 891,000 new gifts—adding 2,750 new funds benefiting units throughout the University and more than 449,000 square feet to the campus footprint.

Major Contributions

A total of $5M to establish the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies, inspired by a lead gift from the late film critic Roger Ebert, ’64 MEDIA, and his wife, Chaz.

$1M to support internships for students in social work.

$1M to the College of Media for internships in public engagement from the late Mark L. Brandy, 86 BUS.

$250,000 for a summer course in recreation, sport and tourism from Carmen A. Rossi, ’07 LAS, MS ’09 AHS.

Funding and Gifts

A bronze statue of storied ACES steer Broadus White Socks. 

Almost 77 acres of Illinois farmland gifted to benefit the Illinois 4-H program and the Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies.

$100,000 in Bitcoin to fund blockchain education in the Gies College of Business from Stanley Choi, MS 96 BUS.

More than $100,000 raised in support of the 11 Fighting Illini women’s sports teams. 

Renovation of Beckman Café.

Guest residencies in the Dept. of Dance.

An online course on women, money and power.

Communication skills for veterinarians in training.

Design prizes and scholarships in architecture.

Professional development for urban planning students.

The First Impression Equity Opportunity Project designed to assist low-income students in labor and industrial relations to acquire professional attire.

Also received during the With Illinois campaign:

Artwork and objects donated to Krannert Art Museum, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, the Prairie Research Institute and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. 




Computer science

Human resources and industrial relations

Social work

Materials science and engineering

Agricultural and biological engineering



Nutritional science

Labor and employment relations

Educational psychology

Recruitment of talented engineering students

Underrepresented students in media

Junior and senior students in LAS

Students in the annual Environment and Sustainability Fund Expedition to Costa Rica

Incoming freshmen in Art & Design

Undergraduate research in animal biology and molecular and integrative physiology

Study abroad for business undergraduates

ACES students from St. Joseph, Ill.

 Community college students transitioning to the University

Returning students and students in need in library and information science

First-generation students in labor and industrial relations

Marginalized students in veterinary medicine

Women in engineering

Graduate research at Beckman Institute

Asian American women in chemistry

African American media students

Juniors and seniors in media

International study abroad in rural development

Graduate students in sociology

Journalism students

Graduate student travel and mentorship in chemistry

Urban planning

Online doctoral studies in education

School and public librarianship

Academic librarianship

Labor and employment relations

Recreation, sport and tourism

Public media and civic engagement

Experiential learning


Nuclear, plasma & radiological engineering 


More on the campaign as it relates to:

The Allerton Retreat and Conference Center

The University Library