by Sarah Small
Last week, Harold Alsup, longtime friend and trustee of the Leiby S. Hall (1954) estate visited campus and spent time meeting with the many students who have been aided by Hall’s generosity.
In 1999 the College of Business received the largest gift of its kind ever received by the University, from that late Leiby S. Hall. As dictated in his will the $5 million dollar gift was made into a trust and is now given to juniors and seniors in the College. Since the establishment of the scholarship fund, more than $300 thousand has been given in the form of scholarships to students in the College.
“This is a great example of dedication,” said John Hedeman, dean of Honors. “Leiby Hall’s dedication to the University of Illinois and Harold Alsup’s dedication to his friend Leiby Hall. The work he’s done for the University of Illinois and for you.”
In a casual, pizza party gathering, Alsup spent time meeting and talking with the students who have been aided by Hall’s generosity. The students learned about their benefactor and his time at the University. He was a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, he was on the men’s fencing team and served as an assistant chief portrayer.
They also learned about Hall’s work as an entrepreneur and about his company, the Decatur Yellow Cab Company, and later Taxi Cab Freight, an emergency delivery service for industrial goods.
“Leiby was obsessed with creating the ‘perfect business,’ and his philosophy was to keep it simple” Alsup said. “He worked hard, played hard and got involved with something that he liked to do.”
When he passed, nearly his entire estate was left to charity; in addition to the scholarship fund given to the College of Business, $1.5 million established an endowed chair in economics and other sums were given to wildlife parks and local entities near his Decatur-home.
“As long as there’s a University of Illinois and a College of Business, this scholarship will go on forever,” Alsup said.
Alsup also urged students not to forget the generosity that Hall showed them and to remember to give back to the University after they graduate and begin working.
For Kevin McAlpine, junior in Marketing and General Management, receiving the Leiby S. Hall scholarship has made his study abroad ambitions a reality; he will spend the Spring 2011 semester studying in Milan, Italy.
“With this scholarship I am now proud to say that not only will I be able to accomplish this goal, but I will also be able to increase my multi-cultural competency, serve as an ambassador for the UIUC College of Business and help other students, after me, fulfill their study abroad endeavors,” McAlpine said.
Alsup said the most difficult task as trustee of the estate is to decide which students receive scholarships. In Hall’s will, he dictated that students must be of junior or senior standing to be eligible, because he wanted to ensure that the students would finish their time at school.
The scholarship is intended to help students achieved their goal of graduating, relieving some of the financial pressure on them and their families. Academic achievement is important but not the only determining factor. Alsup said the scholarship committee considers community involvement and leadership in addition to grades.
Alsup said his greatest enjoyment from overseeing the scholarship fund of his late friend’s estate is being able to interact with the students who benefit.
“I get to come to the university and talk to students,” Alsup said. It’s the best opportunity to continue Leiby’s work.”