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Lillian Johnson Hemmitt Donates $1 Million to Langston University - Gift Represents the Single Largest Donation Ever for Langston

(PRWEB) March 31, 2006 -- Langston University officials today received the single largest gift in its 109-year history. The $1 million leadership gift is from the estate of Lillian Johnson Hemmitt, a 1937 Langston graduate.

 “  We are in a new era and my desire is to connect with Langston alum from around the world to take fundraising to a new leve...  
The Federal Judge who presided over Ms. Hemmitt’s estate, The Honorable Ivy Robert, also a Langston University graduate, presented the $1 million check to Langston’s President, JoAnn Haysbert during a special ceremony before an enthusiastic gathering of Regents, faculty, staff, student and alumni.

“We are truly humbled by such a generous gift and we deeply thank Lillian Johnson Hemmitt for prominently remembering Langston University in her estate,” said Langston President JoAnn Haysbert. “The gift is very meaningful to Langston and will help us advance our position as an outstanding university known for the positive way we impact our world through instruction, research and service.”

President Haysbert continued, “I am honored by Ms. Hemmitt’s confidence in Langston. This gift indicates her appreciation of the fine education
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 she received here and validates how it helped her succeed as a dedicated lifelong educator. She obviously loved Langston and believed strongly in its future.”   

Hemmitt earned a degree in elementary education
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 from Langston. She taught several years in Oklahoma before moving to California where she taught in Los Angeles. She passed away in November 2000.

The first installment of the gift, $153,762, has already been received. The total gift will be received in increments over the next two years.

“This is indeed a historic day for Langston University and I am honored to represent the Board of Regents at today’s event,” said OSU/A&M Board of Regents Chairman V. Burns Hargis. “We join President Haysbert in expressing our sincere thanks to Ms. Hemmitt and her family. We are excited about what this gift can do to support President Haysbert’s desire to attract and develop the best and brightest students to Langston, and we hope this gift will inspire other Langston alumni to step forward and support this fine University.”

Hargis continued, “Few universities in our nation enjoy such a rich history as Langston. The University is an asset to our state and, as we see today, graduates are making a difference in leadership positions across this country.”

Langston is the beneficiary of Hemmitt’s Life Insurance Policy. In recognition of the gift, the university announced today it is establishing two endowed scholarships in Lillian Hemmitt’s name. The Lillian Johnson Hemmitt Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Education Majors ($60,000) and the Lillian Johnson Hemmitt Endowed Scholarship ($100,060.80). Langston is also honoring the decedents of Lillian Hemmitt by establishing a distinguished endowed chair in the school
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 of Education and Behavioral Sciences in her name.

Judge Roberts said on behalf of Lillian Hemmitt and her family, “I know if Lillian could be here today she would be beaming with pride in presenting this gift to her beloved Langston University. As a teacher she valued education. She knew education not only could equip but also could empower people to do great things. I know she also would be glad that her gift will be used to help students earn their degrees in education.”

In response to the gift, Langston student leader, Miss Rachel Goff expressed appreciation on behalf of current and future students. “This gift help students and we say thank you. We appreciate the investment Ms. Hemmitt is making in Langston University and how it will help our academic programs in the College of Education.”

“A key element of Langston’s success is securing a broader base of alumni financial support,” Haysbert said. “We are in a new era and my desire is to connect with Langston alum from around the world to take fundraising to a new level. In order for us to achieve our shared vision of greatness for Langston University, we will need to take our fundraising efforts to a higher level.”


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