Alumna gives University millions

The University of Illinois Foundation announced last Monday that 1944 Illini graduate Arlys Streitmatter Conrad left the University $12 million dollars in her estate to support undergraduates. The estate is part of the Brilliant Futures fund, a program that raises money for the University of Illinois school system.

“It’s (Brilliant Futures) a university wide campaign that affects all three of the campuses, providing scholarships among many other things,” said John Fundator, senior communications specialist for the University of Illinois Foundation. “The campaign is trying to raise $2.25 billion by 2011.”

According to the foundation, the donation will be split equally between the Colleges of ACES and LAS.

The University is honoring Conrad’s intentions for the estate and will provide scholarships for undergraduates in the College of ACES.

“We understand that Mrs. Conrad traveled extensively and had an interest in international experiences,” said Robert Easter, dean for the College of ACES.

“We have made the decision that at least half of the income in this portion of the endowment will be used to provide opportunities for undergraduates in the college of ACES to travel and study abroad.”

The estate will benefit research conducted on a global scale, he added.

“The remainder (of the fund for the college of ACES) then will be used to support activities of faculty engaged in international research and educational efforts to increase the production and enhance the distribution of food for the people of the world,” Easter said.

Ruth Walkins, dean for the College of LAS, was unavailable to comment at press time about the college’s intentions on distributing the donation.

One of Conrad’s personal friends, Lynette Marshall, said the $12 million dollar donation honors her parents and her background.

“Arlys’ mother was a teacher in a one-room school house. The donation to the College of LAS is a tribute to her mother, and the ACES connection is from growing up on a farm and in memory of her father,” Marshall said.

She added that Conrad attended the University of Illinois on a four-year scholarship.

“Arlys had benefited from scholarship support and felt very strongly about the value of education,” Marshall said.

“I thought of her as a person who loved learning and seeing other people develop intellectual curiosity.”

Besides donating $12 million dollars to the University, Conrad created the Louis H. Streitmatter and Arlys Streitmatter Conrad Scholarship for the College of ACES to aid students pursuing careers in agriculture. She also established the E. Veda Streitmatter and Arlys Streitmatter Conrad Scholarship for English students aspiring to be teachers for the College of LAS.

“I think Arlys would want her influence to be most felt in really encouraging those students who are hardworking to really have a world class degree from the University of Illinois,” Marshall said.