School of Labor and Employment Relations – With Illinois: The Campaign for Illinois

With Illinois Campaign

School of Labor and Employment Relations

Celebrating the impact of your generosity

When LER launched the With Illinois fundraising campaign, we set a lofty goal of $8 million. We were amazed to see the powerful impact our donors made on the School. With your support, we accomplished all three of our fundraising priorities: the completion of our $6.2 million building enhancement and addition; the creation of professorships for our faculty; and the growth of our scholarship opportunities for our students.

There has never been a greater need for well-trained human resources and labor relations leaders. Our graduates are entering the workforce at a pivotal time, developing and implementing new policies that affect employees around the world in response to unprecedented challenges. We’re proud of our alumni and the role they play in the modern workplace.

Thank you for your generosity and commitment to LER.

Cory L. Hatfield
SignatureCory L. Hatfield
Director of Development and Alumni Relations

With Illinois Impact

As we mark the end of the With Illinois Campaign, LER has been transformed by donor support.

Alma8417264 Dollars Raised

Gifts3639 Campaign Gifts

Gift Box1230909 Largest Single Gift

Puzzle Piece1615 Gifts of $100 and Under

Puzzle Piece49 New Funds Supporting Scholarships, Fellowships, and Faculty Positions

EarthDonors from 43 States and 14 Countries

With Illinois Highlights

Your support has helped us continue to elevate the values that make Illinois distinctive: a sense of boundless aspiration, collaboration, and a global perspective.

LER - Building

LER Alumni Support $6.2 Million Building Enhancement

At the launch of the With Illinois Campaign, LER focused on a priority nearly 60 years in the making. With generous alumni and donor support, we’re able to provide our students with enhanced space to build community with classmates, faculty, staff, and alumni. The new space includes an accessible front entrance, attractive lobby, active-learning classroom, tiered lecture space, and an attractive plaza for outdoor events. Upgrades to the existing building include modern finishes for all PhD offices; new windows throughout the building; new finishes for the existing Wagner Education Center; and two additional bathrooms. Click here for a video tour of our new space.

Ryan Lamare

The Reuben G. Soderstrom International Labor Relations Professorship

This professorship was established by the Soderstrom family to honor Reuben’s legacy as a pioneering leader in the labor movement in the state of Illinois and the nation. He was a crusader for workers, a strong believer in the importance of education, and instrumental in the founding of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. This professorship was created to generate research and knowledge to inspire labor leaders to reach for the highest level of relief from human suffering; create political systems that empower individuals to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and to persevere though all odds. LER recently celebrated the first recipient of the professorship, Professor Ryan Lamare, in April 2022. Read more.

Nash Kamat Family Scholarship

LER Establishes New Student Scholarships

“To whom much is given, much is required.” This is the guiding principle for the Nash-Kamat family, and it is apparent in their actions. This principle led to the creation of “The Nash-Kamat Family Endowed Scholarship” in the fall of 2020.

The Nash-Kamat Family Endowed Scholarship was established by Mara (Nash) Kamat, MHRIR 09, and her husband Aaron in the fall of 2020. Mara is the Vice President of Human Resources at Great Lakes Cheese, located outside Cleveland. Their family’s scholarship will provide an incoming LER student with extra money to help defray their tuition costs. To learn more about their commitment to student scholarship, read more.

With Illinois Moments

Take a look at a few of the moments that have shaped the culture and character of LER during the With Illinois Campaign.

Group of people holding shovels

LER celebrated the groundbreaking of the $6.2 million Building Enhancement on Monday, May 21, 2018.

Interior of LER building hallway

The LER Building Enhancement included a new front entrance, creating a welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.


Adeline “Jo” Puccini traveled to LER to take part in the building celebration and the tour the space she named in honor of her late daughter, Nancy Puccini, AM 87.

LER Building

A major improvement in the Building Enhancement was the addition of the Soderstrom Plaza, featuring a statue of Reuben G. Soderstrom. Surrounding the statue, over 200 alumni purchased custom brick pavers with personalized messages.

Students at outdoor tent

LER welcomed alumni for the 2021 Homecoming Celebration and hosted a tailgate before the Illinois versus Wisconsin football game.

Memorial Stadium football game

During the Building Celebration Weekend, LER hosted alumni board members and donors in the University of Illinois President’s Suite for an Illinois football game.

United Center group photo wearing Chicago Blackhawks attire

The Chicago Blackhawks organization welcomed LER to the United Center for a tour of the facility and a discussion with several human resources and labor relations leaders.

Continue Your Support

Your continued support ensures LER remains a place where progress and innovation can flourish. Find your passion and help us dream even bigger!

See Priorities

See More Impact

Philanthropy has benefited students, faculty, and staff in many ways. Browse the list below to learn more about how the With Illinois Campaign’s impact can be felt across campus.