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Oct 01, 2014 03:44 AM EDT

Hastings Alumnus Donates $1.7 Million Estate to Support Financially Needy Students


Sarah Thompson Leer, a 1946 Hastings College graduate, has donated her entire estate to the school. The $1.7 million gift is considered to be one of the largest the college has received.

"Sally just never forgot Hastings College," said Gary Freeman, Vice President for College Advancement and Chief Development Officer in a statement. "She was unassuming but generous in her giving. In my conversations, it was clear she had given thought to how she could build a lasting legacy which would benefit future students with financial need and the desire to learn."

Besides the $1.7 million gift, Leer established the Thompson-Leer Endowed Scholarship in memory of her family and her parents Clyde and Flora Thompson. The scholarship provides grants to students with financial need.

She also contributed to the renovation of McCormick Hall, the oldest building on campus. Constructed in 1883, the hall is still in use today.

In recognition of her gifts to the College, Leer was inducted into the Pro Rege Society in 2005.

At Hastings, Leer majored in business administration, participated in the campus Spanish club and met her husband, Stanley Leer. In appreciation for these experiences, which served as the solid foundation for her subsequent life, Leer was inspired to make the gift.

Leer, born in Ansley, graduated from Fullerton High School. She served as an administrative assistant with the Social Security Administration in Madison. The Leers retired to Hot Springs, Arkansas, until Mr. Leer's death in 2013. Leer, a diligent worker, died on April 14, 2014, in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

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