University of Kansas Receives $58 Million Bequest for Fellowships

The University of Kansas has announced a $58 million gift from the estate of alumni Madison "Al" and Lila Self to support fellowships that directly benefit students.

According to the terms of the gift, $39 million will be added to the Self Graduate Fellowship Fund for doctoral students in STEM disciplines, business, and economics, while $15 million will be allocated to the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program, which benefits undergraduates in the engineering and computer science programs. The remaining $4 million will be used to establish the Self Graduating Senior Fellowship Fund, which recognizes graduating seniors for their achievements and ability to attain goals that require tenacity. With the gift, the university has reached the $1.2 billion goal of its Far Above campaign, which will continue into 2016.

The Selfs, both of whom passed away in 2013, were raised on Kansas farms and met as KU students. In 1943, Al Self earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, and he and Lila married later that summer. In 1947, the couple acquired Bee Chemical Co. in Lansing, Illinois, which grew into an international producer of polymers and polymer coatings. Al Self later served as chairman and CEO of Tioga International and as president of Allen Financial. Over the course of their lifetime, the Selfs donated a total of $106 million to KU, making them the most generous private donors in the university’s history.

"Lila and Al were dedicated to contributing to the personal growth of KU students so they can become the leaders our society needs," said KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "Their gift will benefit generations of KU students whose innovations and ideas will create prosperity and well-being long into the future."