News & Events

Gifts to Transforming Lives Campaign Announced at Homecoming,
Including Alumni Gift of More Than $1 Million

October 9, 2010  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Several major gifts to Illinois Wesleyan University’s capital campaign were announced during Homecoming festivities. The gifts, all from alumni, include a promise of more than $1 million. Gifts announced included those from Howard and Sharon Linton Fricke, and Kent and Sue Wallace.

Howard and Sharon Fricke

Howard and Sharon Linton Fricke, both 1960 Illinois Wesleyan graduates, have pledged a gift of more than $1 million toward the University’s Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Illinois Wesleyan. The gift was announced at the annual Alumni Awards Lunch.

According to the Frickes, the goal of the gift is to make an impact. “I can make a difference by giving. I can make a difference by not giving,” said Howard Fricke. “I can make a difference by helping someone, or not helping someone. If we all became ‘they’ and decided not to give, this would not be a world most of us would want to live in.”

The Frickes, who are celebrating their 50th reunion at Illinois Wesleyan, have always been activists for equality. They were active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and efforts for local and global peace. As the current chairman and CEO of Security Benefit Group in Topeka, Kan., Howard Fricke is known both for his business acumen and his efforts to assist working mothers within the company. Both Fortune and Working Mother magazines selected Security Benefit Group as one of the 100 best companies to work for in America. In 2008, the governor inducted Fricke into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame. Sharon Linton Fricke, a retired teacher, spent many years as a counselor for families. Today both of the Frickes are members of the Center for Peace and Justice in Kansas. The couple is also active in the Humane Society Animal Recovery and works with therapy dogs.

A leader in the Topeka community, Howard Fricke set the pace for Security Benefit’s nationally recognized volunteer program. He served as director of the Menninger Foundation and Stormont-Vail HealthCare. He is also the past chairman for both the United Way of Greater Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. A 1993 recipient of Illinois Wesleyan’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Illinois Wesleyan in 2009.

“We have been so lucky in our lives, we are happy to give back to Illinois Wesleyan,” said Sharon Linton Fricke. “We feel Wesleyan gave us a sense of the need for equality in the world.”

Kent and Sue Wallace

Also announced at the Alumni lunch was a gift from Kent and Sue Wallace. The Wallaces have made a significant contribution to the Transforming Lives campaign and designated their gift be used for the New Classroom Building, which is tentatively scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2011.

Kent Wallace, who is a 1962 Illinois Wesleyan graduate, was a member of the campaign committee in the 1990’s, and the recipient of IWU's Alumni Loyalty Award in 2004. He is the founder and former president and CEO of Wallace Electronics in Dallas. The couple has always given back to Illinois Wesleyan University.  They endowed a scholarship in honor of his mother, Edythe Wallace, in 1994, and made the lead gift to the Minor Myers, jr.  Welcome Center, which was dedicated in 2009.

The Wallaces’ gift to the campaign was originally announced in Dallas, where they live and have hosted numerous Alumni Connections in their Dallas home.  Other gifts announced at the Dallas Connection included:

John and Carolyn Wiley  - The Wileys have made a pledge to the unrestricted endowment fund at Illinois Wesleyan. The couple participates in many Dallas Connection alumni events. Building the endowment through unrestricted gifts is a major goal of the Transforming Lives campaign. John Wiley, a 1957 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan, has noted it was his academic experience at Illinois Wesleyan that formed the groundwork for his lifelong interest in science and technology, leading to a 40-year career as an engineer and technologist in the semi-conductor industry.

Young Alumni Giving Circle Scholarship Fund – Nine alumni, who all graduated from Illinois Wesleyan during the 1990s, have joined forces to create the Young Alumni Giving Circle Scholarship Fund. The contributors to the Young Alumni Accounting Giving Circle said they feel Illinois Wesleyan provided them with a strong accounting foundation that has been essential in propelling their careers.

Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960