$1 Million Gift to Fund Academic Excellence at Caz College

Date: 
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 3:30pm
Jill Hebl St. Clair 1962 Yearbook photo
Cazenovia College recently received a $1 million commitment in memory of the late Jill Hebl St. Clair, who was a 1962 alumna of Cazenovia College.  The gift – made by Jill's husband and retired chemical engineer James H. “Jimmy” St. Clair, of Houston, Texas – will fund the establishment of the Jill Hebl St. Clair ’62 Endowed Chair in Accounting & Finance at Cazenovia College.
 
The Jill Hebl St. Clair ’62 Endowed Chair in Accounting & Finance at Cazenovia College will provide salary and discretionary spending supplements for a faculty member in this professional discipline. With over 30% of Cazenovia College majors studying in business and management, optimizing current course offerings and growing these programs is consistent with the strategic vision for the College.
 
Mr. St. Clair’s gift is the largest commitment made by an individual donor so far to Building Futures One at a Time: The Campaign for Cazenovia College, representing a significant portion of the $9+ million raised toward the overall $10 million goal. With this establishment of an endowed chair, the College will exceed its fundraising target of $1 million for academic excellence, one of the campaign’s six priorities.  To learn more about the Building Futures One at a Time campaign, visit www.cazenovia.edu/campaign.   
 
Dr. Mark Tierno, president of Cazenovia College, said, “Gifts like this enable our students to learn and advance in our campus community environment, just as Jill Hebl St. Clair did when she was a student here. Mr. St. Clair has made a commitment to honor her memory by assisting Cazenovia College to employ superior faculty members whose teaching, research, and public service contribute to the mission of the institution in an exemplary manner. The gifts in memory of Jill Hebl St. Clair are making it possible for us to succeed in our mission of building futures for America’s young people.”
 
Senior Development Associate Stephanie Macero recalls the special bond she developed and shared with Jill over the years.  “She was a thoughtful and very gracious lady.  Jill loved Cazenovia College and always told me that she wanted to give back to her alma mater.”
 
This $1 million commitment is the second sizeable gift Mr. St. Clair has made to Cazenovia College in honor of his wife’s memory.  In 2007, he established the Jill Hebl St. Clair Endowed Scholarship.  According to Mr. St. Clair, “Jill always spoke fondly of Cazenovia, eagerly read its publications, and made small donations to fund drives.  She convinced me to attend her 40th Reunion back in 2002, and I found the College enchanting.  If Cazenovia can contribute to the development of young women with the wonderful personality of Jill, it is well worth supporting.”
 
Jill Lucy Hebl was born in Alton, Illinois, but grew up in Freeport, Long Island.  She graduated from Cazenovia College in 1962, when it was a two-year college for women. During her time at Cazenovia, she was an active member of The Newman Club, the College newspaper: The Tower, and the yearbook: The Cazenovian.  She worked for Shell Oil for 39 years, finishing her career as a financial representative for Resins. Her first eight years with Shell were in New York City, where she went snow skiing in Vermont at every opportunity.  When Shell headquarters moved to Houston, she was in the "first wave" of transfers.  Jill earned an accounting degree in night school at St. Thomas University in Houston.  She volunteered for everything, active with her church, the YMCA, a garden club, alumni activities, and the Shell employees' club, and was a loyal Red Cross blood donor. She served as president of the Greater Houston Shell Alumni Club, treasurer of Space City Ski Club, and secretary of Houston Underwater Club.  Jill married Jimmy St. Clair, a chemical engineer who was an East Texas country boy, in 1994 (a first marriage for both of them). Jimmy introduced her to scuba diving and soon she was a more competent diver than he was.  It was then when Jimmy learned that she had a collection of 39 medals won in swim races while she was in high school.  Jill and Jimmy took many snow-skiing and scuba diving trips together. Jill died in 2006 after a brief battle with cancer.
 
Photo: Jill Hebl St. Clair (1962 Yearbook photo)