From IWU Magazine, Summer 2009
‘Our Time Is Now’
A bold campaign provides the chance to begin
a new chapter in Illinois Wesleyan’s history.
President Richard F. Wilson (above) shared the vision of the campaign with faculty
and staff prior to the Bloomington kick-off gala.
This spring, the University announced the most ambitious capital campaign in its history,
with a goal of raising $125 million over the five-year campaign period. Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Illinois Wesleyan University opened with gala celebrations in both
Bloomington and Chicago.
“As you know, great institutions are never allowed the luxury of standing still,”
said University President Richard F. Wilson as he greeted guests attending the opening
gala, held on campus May 13 in the Memorial Center’s Young Main Lounge. “This campaign
is about helping our University transform lives. It’s as simple and powerful as that.
The Chicago gala was held in the grand ballroom of the Peninsula Hotel. Both the Chicago
and campus events included screenings of videos about the campaign, which can be viewed
According to Wilson, 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. Details on the campaign’s goals are
provided in the pages that follow.
“Rarely in the history of our University,” Wilson said, “has the support of alumni
and friends been more important to ensuring access for talented students and recognizing
the exceptional work of our faculty.
“Now we need you to help us finish what we have begun. Young minds don’t wait and
neither will we. Our time is now.”
“Many of you have already answered the call,” Wilson continued, “and I predict the
biggest — and happiest — surprise of this night will be the realization that we are
not here to kick-start a campaign into motion. You are catching us already mid-stride.”
During the galas, it was announced that more than $73 million had been pledged so
far from alumni and friends across the country — including an endowment gift valued
at $25 million, the largest ever received by Wesleyan, made by Honorary Campaign Chairs
B. Charles “Chuck” Ames ’50 and Joyce “Jay” Eichhorn Ames ’49. More about the Ames’
gift and other major campaign pledges follow.
Alumni Chuck and Jay Ames make history again with $25 million gift
The momentous gift from Chuck and Jay Ames (above) was first announced at the Bloomington
In giving the largest gift in Illinois Wesleyan University’s history, B. Charles “Chuck”
Ames ’50 and Joyce “Jay” Eichhorn Ames ’49 were just doing what comes naturally.
“We were recently asked why we give to Illinois Wesleyan,” the couple wrote in a letter
inviting alumni and friends of the University to participate with them in the Transforming
Lives campaign. “It’s simple — we would not be who we are were it not for Wesleyan.
So this is our way of helping pass along to future students a bit of our good fortune.”
The Ames, longtime supporters of the University, are honorary chairs of the campaign.
The announcement of the couple’s endowment gift, valued at $25 million, was made by
their son and current Illinois Wesleyan trustee, Richard Ames, at the kick-off celebration
of the University’s $125-million campaign in May. “They are making a lead gift in
the Transforming Lives campaign because, to put it simply, Illinois Wesleyan transformed
their lives,” said Richard Ames.
“We are extremely fortunate to have alumni like Chuck and Jay Ames, who believe it’s
important to give something back,” 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 our community.”
The gift will allocate $10 million toward creating a matching fund for the faculty
endowment. These funds will create new endowed professorships, which serve to honor
and support outstanding faculty who contribute to the excellence of the University
through teaching and scholarship. Wesleyan currently has 10 endowed professorships.
The Ames gift alone will double the number of endowed positions to 20. The challenge
calls for alumni and friends to increase that amount another 10 for a total of 30
endowed professorships by the end of the five-year campaign.
Illinois Wesleyan Trustee Richard Ames (above), son of Chuck and Jay Ames, announces
the couple's gift at the Bloomington gala.
“I think having quality faculty attracts quality students. You’ve got to have that
quality on both sides of the spectrum,” said Chuck Ames.
This is not the first time that the couple has made a significant commitment to Illinois
Wesleyan. In 1999, they issued a challenge to match up to $9 million for all gifts
earmarked for a new library and another $3 million for matching gifts to the University’s
annual fund. Their gifts — the largest in Wesleyan’s history at that time — led to
construction of The Ames Library, a $26-million building opened on Jan. 9, 2002, and
named in their honor. In 1998, the Ames made a $2 million scholarship commitment to
the School of Art, and the University named the school The Joyce Eichhorn Ames School
of Art in Jay’s honor. Their contributions have also been instrumental in forming
the national Illinois Wesleyan University Alumni Association.
Chuck, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, retired in 2007 as vice chairman
of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Co. in New York, one of the world’s leading private equity
investment firms. He joined the firm in 1987 after serving as chair and CEO of Reliance
Electric Company, CEO of Acme Cleveland Corporation and CEO and chair of The Uniroyal
Goodrich Tire Company. A past recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award,
he continues with private investment and is on the board of directors of several smaller
Jay is an art connoisseur and collector as well as a supporter of several organizations
devoted to preserving the visual arts.
Chuck and Jay have sponsored underprivileged children for summer camps in the Cleveland
area, and supported the Hospice of Cleveland. They currently live in Chagrin Falls,
Ohio, and Vero Beach, Fla.
Major gifts, including $1 million for Joslin Atrium addition, announced
Stevie and Roger Joslin acknowledge the applause as their $1 million gift is announced
at the Memorial Center gala.
Major gifts from several of Illinois Wesleyan’s longtime “movers and shakers” were
announced at the Transforming Lives galas, including a $1 million gift from Roger
and Stevie Joslin of Bloomington that will fund a 2,500 square-foot glass atrium addition
to the University’s Memorial Center.
The Joslin Atrium will provide meeting, reception and banquet space, with views overlooking
the main quadrangle. It will be connected to the Young Main Lounge, which is the Memorial
Center’s recently renovated ballroom and principal banquet space. The atrium’s primary
entry will be from a grand staircase leading up from the quad.
“We are extremely grateful to Roger and Stevie Joslin for their generosity,” said
University President Richard F. Wilson. “They have been great friends of the University
for many years. This gift will provide a dramatic visual addition and a much needed
expansion to the Memorial Center.”
The Joslins have been active in the greater Bloomington–Normal community since 1963,
serving in leadership roles in the Second Presbyterian Church, BroMenn Healthcare,
Day Care Center of McLean County, Western Avenue Community Center, Mennonite College
of Nursing, Bloomington Public Schools and the Republican Party. Roger Joslin is
the retired vice chairman and chief financial officer of State Farm Mutual Insurance
and chairman of State Farm Fire and Casualty. He is an emeritus trustee of Wesleyan
and currently serves as a member of the steering committee for the Transforming Lives
A sketch of the new Joslin Atrium.
Stevie is known throughout the community for her volunteer efforts, and has been the
recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction’s Harriett F. Rust Volunteer Service Award.
Several other gifts were announced at the kick-off galas, including a major scholarship
commitment from IWU Board of Trustees President George Vinyard ’71 and his wife, Judy
Shepelak, that will be used to increase financial aid for deserving students. The
Shirk family was also honored for their continued support of the University through
their gift establishing an endowment to maintain and enhance the Shirk Athletic Center.
It was also announced that John Horton ’82 and his wife, Joann Horton, presented a
lead gift to The Wesleyan Fund, which helps to provide student financial aid and supports
a variety of academic and co-curricular programs. A major endowed scholarship fund
was established by Herbert and Susan Getz, both of whom are 1977 Wesleyan graduates.
In addition, Coyner Smith ’54 and his wife, Donna, have given an endowment gift that
will fund the Smith Scholars Fund, which will provide annual scholarships.
Click here to learn more about the University’s Transforming Lives campaign.
Click here to read about the campaign's five major goals.
Click here to read stories about IWU's transforming power.