University of Kansas Receives $10 Million Gift

The University of Kansas School of Engineering has announced a three-year, $10 million gift from alumni Madison "Al" and Lila Self of Hinsdale, Illinois.

The gift will be used to expand the Madison A. and Lila Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program, which provides enrichment opportunities and financial support to engineering and computer science students. In March, the couple provided $6 million to increase the number of SELF Fellows, nearly doubling the potential number of fellows to eighty students. Beginning in the fall of 2011, freshmen fellows will be eligible to receive up to $24,000 over four years. In addition, fellows will receive more educational opportunities, including workshops, retreats, and lectures from guest speakers, and KU will hire an additional staff member to coordinate the program's activities.

Native Kansans, the Selfs have now contributed more than $44 million to the university where they met, making them the school's largest individual donors. Al Self earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1943. In 1947, he acquired Lansing-based Bee Chemical Company, which he helped guide from a three-person operation to an international producer of polymers and polymer coatings. When the company was sold thirty-seven years later, it had five U.S. manufacturing sites and operations in Japan and England.

"Through my years in business and industry, I've been able to identify key attributes such as leadership, interpersonal communications, motivation, and problem-solving ability that lead to success," said Self. "Lila and I are happy to be able to contribute to the personal growth of these KU students with the goal that they continue on as exceptional leaders working to build positive change in the American economy."

"$10 Million Gift Will Benefit Students in School of Engineering." University of Kansas Press Release 04/06/2010.