Donor Profiles

The School of Labor and Employment Relations flourishes, in large part, because of the undying support and generosity of our donors. With their support, LER will continue to distinguish ourselves as a premier labor and employment relations program. The following donors are highlights of all those who chose to have an impact on our key project of the past year, the LER building enhancement, and our ongoing desire to make the LER degree more affordable and attainable to talented individuals across the globe. If you’re interested in learning more about our giving priorities, please visit www.ler.illinois.edu/alumni/give/giving-priorities for more information.

Donor Carl Soderstrom

Carl, Soderstrom, MD

Carl Soderstrom led the Soderstrom’s efforts in supporting the new, Reuben G. Soderstrom Plaza at the School of Labor and Employment Relations. The Plaza provides students, faculty, and staff, and guests an attractive, open air patio to study, collaborate or reflect on his commitment to education.

Additionally, Carl is establishing the Reuben G. Soderstrom International Labor Relations Professorship. This named professorship will honor Reuben’s legacy as a pioneer leader in the labor movement in the state of Illinois, by awarding it to a senior professor with extensive research within the labor education.

Donor Adeline Puccini

Adeline "Jo" Puccini

Jo Puccini’s daughter, Nancy Puccini, was a proud graduate of the School of Labor and Employment Relations and a very successful human resources professional until her death in 2014. Jo Puccini supported the LER Building Enhancement Fund by naming the “Nancy A. Puccini Lecture Hall” in her honor.

Along with the lecture hall, Jo established an endowed student scholarship in her estate plans.

Donor Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh - MHRIR 2005

Patrick Walsh established the Patrick J. Walsh Scholarship Endowment Fund to support an LER student with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Pat hopes that his scholarship will “make it just a bit easier and less stressful for a student to pursue a rewarding career through the education LER provides."

Pat is currently the Senior Director of Human Resources at Frito Lay - Midwest Region Sales and resides in Naperville, IL.

Donor Colleen Mckeown

Colleen McKeown - AM 1991

Colleen McKeown established an endowed student scholarship for a female student, with an undergraduate degree in economics. Colleen established the “Jim McKeown LER Scholarship Fund” to make education more affordable for University of Illinois students.

Colleen was a 1991 graduate of the School of Labor and Employment Relations and is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer at Prologis in San Francisco, CA.

Donor Craig LaTorre

Craig LaTorre - AM 1991

Craig LaTorre established an endowed student scholarship for high merit students entering the School. Craig established the “Craig LaTorre LER Scholarship” in memory of his father, Donald LaTorre.

LaTorre is the Chief Human Resource Officer of Martin Marietta in Raleigh, NC.

Donors Jia Xing and Scott Weisbenner

Jia Xing - MHRIR 2007

Jia Xing and her husband, Scott Weisbenner, established the Xing-Weisenner Family Scholarship to ease the financial burden for students at the University of Illinois, particularly those who have or develop an understanding of Chinese labor and employment relations.

Jia is a Human Resources Director for meShare Inc., and Scott is the William G. Karnes Professor of Finance at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois.

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