Gifts in Action

All gifts make a difference in the quality of leadership education at the University of Illinois. Here are a few examples of gifts that have changed the lives of Illinois students.

Tony Petullo ('61)

With fond memories of his time spent at Illinois, Tony Petullo’s ('61) generous gift was used as the seed funding to establish the Illinois Leadership Center®. "Leadership has always been a favorite of mine, and when I heard about this program Illinois Leadership® and the fact that so many students could be involved and that it was open to everyone, I knew my decision was made. You don't have to be the best student and you don't have to be one of the handful of student leaders on campus in order to participate-that's what attracted me. There's equality and it's an opportunity for all to be involved, particularly through collaboration with the colleges." – Tony Petullo.  While a student at Illinois, Tony was a four-year member of the Men's Glee Club and served as senior-year president. He toured Europe with the Club as a freshman and organized another European tour as a senior. In addition, he was involved in the Marketing Club and the Alpha Sigma Phi social fraternity.  To honor Tony, an i-Program was re-named to the Petullo Insight Program.

John Graf ('81)

John A. Graf graduated from the University of Illinois in 1981 with a Bachelor Degree in Economics. A gift from John and his wife, Maureen, created the Graf Internship Program for the Illinois Leadership Center.  Each year four undergraduates are employed at the Leadership Center as Graf Interns, and they play an integral role in delivering leadership development initiatives to Illinois students. While at the University, John was involved in the Student Alumni Association, served on the Student Organization Resource Fee Board (SORF), was a Student Government Officer, Volunteer Illini Projects Chairman, a fraternity brother in Delta Upsilon, and a Mortar Board and Senior 100 honoree.

Richard Cavenaugh ('82) & Timothy Cavenaugh (’79)

Tim graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Architectural Studies in 1979, while Rick graduated in 1982 with a degree in Civil Engineering. A generous gift from the Cavenaugh brothers has endowed the Cavenaugh Leadership Resource Library. The Cavenaugh Leadership Resource Library is home to over 1,000 leadership resources. Rick and Tim were both involved in a myriad of activities, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Student Senate, Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF) Board, Chi Epsilon, and Volunteer Illini Projects. 

Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce has been a corporate partner of the Illinois Leadership Center since 2011, providing both funding and volunteers to the center. Gifts made by Rolls Royce have allowed the Leadership Center to enhance their leadership development offerings, directly contributing to the creation of the Innovation i-Program, which launched in the spring of 2016.

Chris Dillion ('99)

As a highly involved undergraduate, Chris Dillion understood the necessity of learning leadership. Chris regularly contributes to the Annual Fund, which directly supports programming for students within the Leadership Center. Chris shares, "I've found students involved with the Illinois Leadership Center to be bright, engaged and inquisitive. They recognize their personal strengths, understand their personal leadership style and have developed the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in a variety of disciplines. These skills are invaluable and set Illinois Leadership Center participants apart from their peers — on campus and beyond."