News Release

11 Gifts Totaling More Than $10 Million to Benefit Urbana-Champaign Campus of University of Illinois


University of Illinois Foundation

Fri, 1 Oct 2010 8:00:00 CDT

Eleven private gifts totaling more than $10 million earmarked for University of Illinois programs at the Urbana-Champaign campus were announced today (Friday, Oct. 1, 2010) at the U of I Foundation’s 75th 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, which will be included in the University’s ongoing $2.25 billion Brilliant Futures fundraising campaign, were highlighted at the U of I Foundation’s Business Meeting Friday morning. Featured gifts include:

  • outright support totaling more than $3 million to the College of Engineering since 2007 from Lalit Bahl and Kavita Kinra of Setauket, N.Y. Their most recent gift, $1 million, will help fund a new building for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Earlier gifts from the couple established the Ravindar K. and Kavita Kinra Fellowship in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Joan and Lalit Bahl Fellowship in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Lalit Bahl, who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at Illinois in 1966 and 1969, respectively, had a long and successful career at IBM. He is a leading expert on speech recognition software.

  • a major estate provision from Louis Mund of East Carondolet, Ill., that will support two programs. The Louis I. Mund Endowment for Archaeology will support field studies in Illinois and the Louis I. Mund Endowment for Veterinary Medicine will support cattle research in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Successful in real estate and business, Mund has had a long association with archaeologists at Illinois who excavated land he owned in the late 1970s. He’s also had a relationship with the College of Veterinary Medicine, thanks in part to alumni veterinarians who have cared for his pets and livestock.

  • a $1 million estate gift from Robert and Jean Gernon of St. Charles, Ill., will create an endowed fund to support companion animal research and emergency medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine. An alumnus of the U of I and a graduate of Lewis University, Robert Gernon has had a long and extensive career in the railroad and transportation industries. He is executive vice president of Maine Pointe, LLC, of Boston. Jean, a graduate of Southwest Business College, worked for Santa Fe Railway for 25 years in the transportation and legal fields. Devoted to animals, both domestic and wild, the Gernons have worked with graduates of the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine and, through this connection, have learned of the College’s mission of education, research, and public engagement.

  • a $1 million bequest from Sheldon and Paulette Rubin of Wilmette, Ill., to establish the Sheldon B. and Paulette Rubin Endowed Professorship in Veterinary Leadership and Communication. Their gift will also create the Sheldon B. and Paulette Rubin Endowed Seminar Series. Sheldon Rubin, who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1968 at the U of I, recently retired after 40 years of veterinary practice at Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. A nationally recognized and award-winning veterinarian, he has appeared on many national radio and television programs, including Oprah, and has written six books about pets.

  • a seven-figure deferred gift commitment from James and Candace Frame of Fletcher, N.C., will create the James R. and Candace Penn Frame Endowment Fund. The fund will support three scholarships: The Dee Wood Frame Excellence in Music Award in honor of James’ mother, Dee Wood Frame, director emerita of the U of I Housing Division; the Robert W. Frame Passion for Flying Award in the Institute of Aviation, in memory of Robert W. Frame, a 1935 U of I grad who served as longtime superintendent of the Illinois State Geological Survey; and the Henry Penn Scholarship for Excellence in Civil Engineering Award, which honor’s Candace Penn’s grandfather, a 1910 U of I engineering graduate and salutatorian of his class. The remainder of the Frames’ gift will equally support the University of Illinois Marching Illini and the Institute of Aviation. James Frame, a 1973 U of I graduate who recently retired as senior sales executive with a leading healthcare technology company, is founder and owner of the Gallery of Pearls, LLC, located in Atlanta, Asheville, N.C., and Washington, D.C. and vice president of a luxury home builder in Asheville. Candace, a l972 U of I graduate, recently retired as office director and cartographer at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in Bethesda, Md.

  • a seven-figure estate commitment from Frank and Daphna Lederman of Tucson, Ariz., will create the Dr. Frank L. Lederman Endowed Chair in Physics in the College of Engineering. Frank Lederman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Carnegie Mellon University in 1971, and a doctorate in physics at the U of I in 1975. He had a long and distinguished career in industry, including General Electric, where he led the development of GE’s first medical ultrasound system. He also held top executive positions with Noranda, Inc., and ALCOA. Daphna Lederman studied fine art and graphic design in Jerusalem. She is an active volunteer, especially in desert landscaping, invasive grass control, and cactus rescue.

  • an estate commitment of more than $700,000 from Leonard Lewicki of Sequim, Wash., creating the Leonard P. Lewicki Endowment Fund. Eighty percent of the fund will establish a faculty scholars fund in the College of Law and the remainder will provide unrestricted support for the Small Animal Clinic at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Teaching Hospital. He also provides regular outright contributions for law scholarships and to the two colleges for other programmatic support. Lewicki earned a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1970 and a Juris Doctor in 1973, both at Illinois. He is a franchisee with Ameriprise Financial Services, with offices in Bellevue and Sequim.

  • more than $500,000 from Steven and Diane Miller, to create the Diane and Steven N. Miller Endowed Professorship in Business Fund. Proceeds from the fund will support a professor in the College of Business with expertise and academic abilities in the field of entrepreneurship. Previous gifts from the Millers established two interview rooms in the new College of Business Instructional Facility as well as support for fellowships and scholarships for business students interested in entrepreneurship. Steven Miller, a 1987 graduate of the College of Business, is a founding partner of Northbrook-based venture capital firm Origin Ventures. Diane Miller’s career involved health care marketing.

  • an estate commitment of $500,000 from Jean McConochie of New York, N.Y., to create the Edith Fitzpatrick McConochie Rare Book and Manuscript Library Endowment Fund. The fund, which will support acquisitions, preservation, research and enhancements to facilities and technology, was made in honor and memory of Jean McConochie’s grandmother. Jean McConochie graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1958, and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Columbia University’s Teachers College. A career international educator, she served as president of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in 1989 and is currently a professor emerita at Pace University in New York.

  • a major six-figure bequest from Joanne Gillespie Rubin (pronounced Roo-BEAN) of Columbus, Ohio, to the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology that will fund graduate fellowships and provide seed money for faculty to test promising new areas of research. The gift will also support the biology library for reference materials. A part of her gift honors her late husband, Professor Thor Rubin, a member of the chemistry faculty at The Ohio State University for 35 years, by providing fellowships in physical chemistry. Joanne Rubin earned three degrees from the U of I ― a bachelor’s in chemistry in 1953 and a master’s and Ph.D. in physiology in 1955 and 1959, respectively. She was a researcher at OSU for 30 years.

  • a $250,000 bequest from James and Nancy Frakes of Rockford, Ill., in support of scholarships for students in the colleges of Education and Engineering on the Urbana-Champaign campus and the College of Medicine at Rockford. This commitment adds to the nearly $40,000 in annual support the couple has provided since 1981. James Frakes earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ceramic engineering at Urbana-Champaign and an M.D. at the U of I at Chicago College of Medicine. A clinical professor emeritus in the College of Medicine at Rockford, he is a founding physician partner of Rockford Gastroenterology Associates, Ltd. Nancy Frakes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Illinois in 1967, has served as president of the Rockford Day Nursery Early Learning Center and was president of the board of the Laubach Literacy Council of Rockford.

The U of I Foundation’s annual meeting also included seminars held in conjunction with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and a reception at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Thursday, and a series of seminars presented by Illinois faculty and administrators from the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Applied Health Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Engineering on Friday afternoon.

Brilliant Futures, the University of Illinois’ $2.25 billion capital campaign, has raised $2 billion, or 89 percent of its goal, as of Sept. 15, 2010. Outright gifts, grants and pledges to Brilliant Futures will support students, faculty, academic programs, and other activities on the three campuses of the University. The fundraising effort, which began on July 1, 2003, is expected to conclude on Dec. 31, 2011.

For additional Information, contact:

John Fundator
Senior Communications Specialist
University of Illinois Foundation