SIC to Receive Largest Estate Gift in its History
–Memorial Reception to Honor the Life of Col. William C. Hise Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. —
When Col. William Curtis Hise provided funding to create the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art along with an operational endowment, the College accepted its largest private donation of over $3 million in honor of his sister.
He was so pleased with the museum, that he also chose to pledge his entire estate along with some artwork to the college, valued at upwards of $7 million, resulting in a total $10 million from the Colonel.
“Col. Hise was a remarkable man – a true visionary who believed in the mission of SIC,” said Dr. Jonah Rice, president of SIC.
Hise grew up in Omaha and Harrisburg with his twin brother, James Cletus Hise. Both served careers in the military, earning their law degrees and forming many business partnerships along the way. Neither married.
Col. Hise died peacefully at his home in Arlington, Virginia, in February 2021, at the age of 94. He grew up in Harrisburg and was drafted into the Army in 1945 and completed basic infantry training as the war ended.
He was assigned to the Pentagon in the office of the Army Chief of Staff. He then on special assignment was selected to complete his active duty with the state, war and Navy commissions, the precursor agency of the president national council. He returned to the national guard and was selected to serve in Panama on the creation of the first Joint HQ concept in the Operation Tree II and was promoted to the rank of colonel.
His last assignment was with the Executive Offices of the 833 RD Air Division at Seymour- Jackson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which was responsible for the support of two units serving in Vietnam. Colonel Hise served in the DC Air Force National Guard and later transferred to the Delaware Air Force National Guard and served until retirement.
He worked fourteen years for Page Communications, heading the company’s contracts division. After Page Communications, he worked for TechDyn as vice president of the multi-million dollar start-up company with contracts awarded around the world. He enjoyed traveling to foreign countries and visiting antique shops and art galleries. Colonel Hise’s awards and decorations including the Legion Of Merit, Bronze Star and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Dr. Pat York, chairman of the SIC Board of Trustees was both saddened by the passing, yet elated at the news of the colonel’s gifts.
“He will be missed by all of us, as he was a good friend,” said York. “These gifts will continue to help SIC for years.”
Funds have various purposes outlined by the donor, as the estate may take up to two years to finally settle. The college recently received the first installment of the estate totaling $4 million. The second installment will come to fruition in the coming months. There are restrictions on the use of funds.
“This gift couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the college,” said SIC Foundation Chairman Mr. Brian Surprenant. “With state funding shrinking and our population in southern Illinois declining, these private funds from the colonel will leave a legacy that will help SIC and students for decades to come.”
The Hise estate gift – when combined with the colonel’s previous estate gift and museum gift–at more than $10 million to SIC, is one of the largest gifts to a community college in the state of Illinois.
“This type of gift is huge – a once-in-a-lifetime gift for a rural college,” said Rice.
Rice said he would miss the friendship of the Col.
“He was briefed on what was going on at the college at all times. We shared a lot of dialog, and he really impressed upon me that hard work and exceptional results are to be expected – qualities that made him so successful.”
Rice said SIC will work hard for exceptional results to honor the Colonel’s wishes.
A memorial reception to honor the life of Col. Hise will be held in the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
The main focus for this reception will be in the museum’s permanent gallery where Col. Hise’s donated works and works by his family will be on display. This exhibit also includes works Col. Hise appreciated, as well as items from the Lafayette Inn in Harrisburg, which he owned. The Inn was left to the College in the estate as well as the funds described above.
Other exhibits on display during the reception include “Honoring our Military and Veterans” in the main gallery and “Industrial Nature” by Brandon Smith of Carmi in the west gallery.
“We felt that honoring Col. Hise near Veterans Day while also hosting a military and veteran’s exhibition would be the perfect way to pay homage to him,” said Hise Museum curator, Melody Bryant.
The memorial reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-252-5400, ext. 2577.