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Generous Museum Donation Creates Permanent Exhibit for Regional Art

June 22, 2017

Southeastern Illinois College announced today a $2.5 million donation to fund a new building on the Harrisburg campus, which will include an endowment for operational support.

Retired Air Force Colonel William C. Hise and the estate of his late twin brother Air Force Brigadier General James C. Hise, who passed away in February of 2016, gave this generous gift. This museum will be named in honor of their sister, Ella Elizabeth Hise, a long time teacher and art supervisor for Harrisburg Public Schools.

“This type of philanthropy for education is beyond measure and expectations,” said SIC President Jonah Rice. “Mr. Hise has made a contribution not only to our college, but to the entire region we serve.”

Trustee Board Chairman Dr. Pat York said this is a gift that aligns with SIC’s mission to be the cultural hub of the area.

“We are proud to be Mr. Hise’s stewards of this facility which will be for the public’s benefit,” added York.

Trustee Jim Ellis commended the hard work on the part of Dr. Rice in securing this gift.

"Dr. Rice has been working with Col. Hise for over a year on this project, and we are all so happy to see this wonderful addition to campus come to fruition."

Rice said he found the experience of seeing an idea grow from a simple suggestion into a complex project very fulfilling.

Col. Hise began the discussion with Dr. Rice in a brief e-mail last summer that grew into significant dialog and a visit to Washington, DC to meet with Col. Hise and eventually solidify the project.

"This has been a wonderfully rich process, and I feel very connected to it," Rice said.  "It's so exciting to see this happen for SIC, our region and especially for Mr. Hise who has shown great sprit and vision in this dream."

The donation will add the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art to the campus with on-site teaching facilities rarely found at state supported two-year institutions. This building will be devoted to the study and collection of regional art.

“I am most appreciative to the Board, and particularly to Dr. Rice, for accepting the donation from me and my late twin brother and for agreeing that it would be named in honor of our sister who served so many years as a teacher and art supervisor in the Harrisburg Public Schools," stated Col. Hise.

This donation is being made at a time when state funded school construction in Illinois is very limited.

"We are so thankful for this gracious and generous gift from the Hise family,” said David Port, SIC Foundation Chair.  “Not only will it contribute greatly to the cultural heritage of our area, it will further strengthen the unique and distinct educational opportunities offered at Southeastern."

Rice said this is the largest single donor gift Southeastern has received.

“This is generosity at its finest.  Mr. Hise has a heart for this area, for the fine arts, and for his family.  We are so pleased that we will be able to help him celebrate all of his passions,” added Rice.

The Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art will be a showpiece, located on the east side of campus near the south entrance off College Road.

Construction of the facility will begin later this year. Further details about art acquisition and a timetable for completion will be forthcoming.

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