sealPurdue News

August 9, 2000

Alumni gift cornerstone to consumer, family sciences campaign

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University School of Consumer and Family Science's campaign to raise $10 million to benefit faculty, research and outreach programs is boosted with the $1 million gift from two Purdue alumni.

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Sally (Berner) Hanley, a 1961 home economics and child development graduate, and her husband, William Hanley, a 1960 industrial management graduate, will help fund a professorship in gerontology and lay the foundation for the school's "Inspiring Families, Building Communities" fund-raising campaign.

"I particularly wanted to do this in honor of my wife because of her support and work for the elderly," William Hanley said. "Sally has a natural affinity for older people. She's been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, both as a coordinator and a driver to take meals to older people. We decided that this is something we both want to do for Purdue."

The Omaha, Neb., couple understands the need for a gerontology professorship at the university.

"My mother is 91, and I do a lot of work with the elderly, and I feel we should do whatever we can to make a better life for them," Sally Hanley said. "We'd like this gift to teach others about how to help the elderly live healthier and more fulfilling lives, and hopefully inspire others to give."

In fact, the Hanleys and their three sons have a family mission to practice philanthropy within their communities. They have also given to the Omaha Community Foundation, the Assistance League, and Children's Hospital in the Omaha area.

"Our family mission is to give back to organizations, institutions, individuals and communities that have had a major impact in our lives, and we have meetings to decide where our assistance can be of the most help," William Hanley said. "Purdue certainly had a great impact on both of us, and the Purdue gift is one of the largest we've given."

Sally Hanley, who has other relatives who are part of the Purdue family including her twin sister and a brother, has been working with Purdue to determine the best way to help educate others in the field in gerontology.

"We've been working for a couple of years trying to decide how we wanted to give, and this professorship seemed like the best way to help," she said.

The professorship, called the Berner-Hanley Professorship, will create a position of leadership in the gerontology field.

"This generous gift by the Hanley family will help to further develop and expand the teaching, research and outreach programs in gerontology at Purdue," Savaiano said. "It will also facilitate our goal to increase the number of excellent gerontology experts who are committed to solving problems related to the health and well-being of the elderly. This gift enables us to hire a critically needed senior faculty member in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies who will encourage and collaborate with junior faculty in our school and across the university."

The professorship will facilitate Purdue's Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program's expansion.

"Purdue University is rapidly growing expertise in the study of gerontology," Savaiano said. "Over 50 faculty members on the campus are members of the Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program. Faculty in consumer and family sciences, liberal arts, science, vet medicine and other schools on the Purdue campus have developed a graduate minor and are working toward additional research and curriculum development."

In addition, expansions are planned in gerontology studies in nutrition, intergenerational research, disease prevention, social needs, financial management and other educational programs.

"This gift also will provide a cornerstone for our three-year campaign to raise $10 million through planned and deferred giving," Savaiano said. "The goal of this campaign is to target the future needs of our students, provide student scholarships, strengthen our faculty support and more fully develop The Center For Families at Purdue. The gift from Bill and Sally Hanley places us in a position to attain our goal."

The campaign has reached nearly half its goal, and will conclude at the Homecoming 2001 celebration during the school's 75th anniversary year.

Sources: Bill and Sally Berner Hanley,

Dennis Savaiano, (765) 494-8213,

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-2073,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Inspiring Families, Building Communities campaign Web site.

A $1 million gift from William and Sally Hanley, Omaha, Neb., to Purdue University provides a cornerstone to a three-year campaign by the School of Consumer and Family Sciences to raise $10 million. (Photo courtesy of William and Sally Hanley)

A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Hanley.cfs

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