Ames Make Historic Gift, with Matching Goal, to Illinois Wesleyan


Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49 and B. Charles "Chuck" Ames '50

November 23, 2009

B. Charles "Chuck" Ames '50 and Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49 have made the largest gift by an independent or corporation in the history of Illinois Wesleyan University. The couple, who are the honorary co-chairs of the Transforming Lives campaign, made a pledge of $25 million. This comes in addition to the gift of $15 million the couple made in the 1990s, for a total of $40 million to help Illinois Wesleyan become the best it can be.

"We are extremely fortunate to have alumni like Chuck and Jay Ames, who believe it's important to give the University the means to excel," said University President Richard F. Wilson. "The Ames' gift, along with many others received thus far, is a testament to the impact the University has had on the lives of our alumni and friends and this community."

Of the $25 million gift from Chuck and Jay Ames, $15 million has been made as an unrestricted gift, to be used where the University has the most need. The other $10 million is a challenge gift for the Faculty Endowment Fund. Alumni and friends are encouraged to participate in this challenge to create an additional 10 endowed faculty positions.

"One of the attributes of Illinois Wesleyan University is the people who claim it as their own. Alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students — all contribute to what makes this an outstanding university. We are proud to pull together and respond to the needs of the University," said Steve Wannemacher, a 1973 alumnus, and Jean Baird, a 1980 alumna, who serve as co-chairs of the Transforming Lives campaign.

The campaign is the most ambitious in the history of Illinois Wesleyan, with a goal of raising $125 million over the five-year campaign period. Nearly 80 percent of the campaign goal will go to support student scholarships, need-based financial aid and faculty and program endowments. In addition, several new building projects will be funded.

"We wanted to help our University and leave something that will help many others," said Jay Ames.