Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336.
LAWRENCE -- Continuing a family legacy in campus beautification that began 60 years ago, the family of Robert H. Malott, son of late University of Kansas Chancellor Deane W. Malott, has pledged $1 million for the Lawrence campus landscape master plan.
Robert "Bob" Malott and his wife, Elizabeth "Ibby" Hubert Malott, of Kenilworth, Ill., pledged the gift to the Kansas University Endowment Association for landscaping and entryway signs at the western gateway to the Lawrence campus at 15th and Iowa streets. The gift honors Bob's late father and mother, who helped beautify the Lawrence campus in the 1940s.
The campus entrance, one of four gateways identified in the master plan, is under construction to the west of the KU Visitor Center. It will include a curved, 70-foot-long stone wall with the University of Kansas name and a marker to the left of the Visitor Center entrance, which will identify the entrance as the Malott Gateway. Other gateway features include new mature trees and shrubs and a new brick pedestrian plaza.
"The Malott family has long recognized that preservation and enhancement of the university setting is a vital part of our legacy to future generations," said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "This exceptional gift will help set the KU campus apart from the city that surrounds it and will celebrate the arrival of visitors on campus."
The Malott Gateway is a part of the Lawrence campus master plan, a $23 million initiative developed in 2001 to enhance and unify the appearance of the entire campus. The plan's landscape design emphasizes the use of native plants and trees suitable for the climate of northeastern Kansas. The plan also provides guidelines for improving such areas as campus entry points, directional and building signs, and campus pathways.
The master plan builds on the efforts to beautify the campus that developed during the financially constrained years from 1939 to 1951, when Deane Malott served as KU chancellor. His wife, Eleanor, spearheaded projects such as the planting of redbud, plum and crab apple trees, as well as forsythia and other varieties of flowering trees and shrubs. Eleanor's efforts became KU legend when she dressed in jeans and a straw hat and rode around campus in a sprinkler truck, personally watering the new trees.
"I think my father was sensitive to the need to enhance the beauty of the campus, and my mother responded immediately by assuming responsibility for campus plantings," said Bob. "They played a major role in the formation of the campus as it looks today, so I think it's appropriate that our family help fund the landscape master plan."
Bob, chemistry '48, earned an MBA at Harvard in 1950 and served as a faculty member for two years at the Harvard Business School. He also studied for two years at the New York University Law School. In 1952, he started a 40-year career with FMC Corporation of Chicago, a manufacturer of chemicals, specialized machinery and military equipment. He was named president and CEO in 1972 and chairman in 1973. He retired in 1991.
He is a board member of Sovereign Specialty Chemicals Inc., the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy, the University of Chicago, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Argonne National Laboratories, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden. He and Ibby have three children, Elizabeth Malott Pohle, Barbara Malott Kizziah and Robert Deane Malott.
Bob also has two sisters who are Kansas University alumnae, Janet Malott Elliot, fine arts '50, and Edith Malott LaBonte, liberal arts '50.
The Malott family's pledge for the campus landscape master plan counts toward the $500 million goal of KU First: Invest in Excellence, the largest fund-raising campaign in KU history. The Kansas University Endowment Association is conducting the campaign on behalf of the university through 2004 to raise funds for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, capital projects and program support. KU Endowment is an independent non-profit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU.