McLennans give $500,000 to sciences

Bob McLennan ’65 & Becky Martin McLennan ’64 have a long history of providing leadership and support to Cornell. Now they are continuing that role with a generous $500,000 gift for a classroom in Russell Science Center.

Bob McLennan ’65 & Becky Martin McLennan ’64
Bob McLennan ’65 & Becky Martin McLennan ’64

“We want to be supportive of Cornell College and what it needs. The science building is what it needs now,” said Cornell Trustee Bob McLennan of Naples, Florida.

Cornell’s $35 million science project, part of the Greater > Than campaign, will more than double the college’s STEM space. The four-story Russell Science Center is scheduled to be completed in January 2019, and will be followed by renovations of West Hall and portions of Law Hall. In two years the college has exceeded $33 million in gifts toward the project.

“Bob and Becky fully appreciate the importance and pressing necessity of the Science Facilities Project as we work to grow the college, and their support of this project, in my view, is great philanthropic leadership,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “Their gift made a real difference and encouraged others to make significant gifts to Cornell too.”

Bob is a real estate executive with deep community involvement. In 1982 he and a partner formed McLennan & Thebault, Inc., a commercial-industrial construction and real estate development firm. From 1985 to 2002, he was chairman and majority shareholder of PlainsBank of Illinois, and he currently serves on the boards of four privately held companies. His extensive volunteer leadership includes three terms as a Cornell College Trustee, as a board member of L3 Organization (global leaders committed to making the world a better place) and the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Among the organizations he has chaired or served as president are the nonprofit Advocate Health Care Network, the largest health care system in Illinois; the World President’s Organization and its Chicago chapter; and the Glenview (Illinois) Community Church Executive Board. He is also one of four founders of the Glenview youth soccer program, which grew to 1,500 children.

A retired teacher, Becky is currently involved in producing Broadway plays. She is also on the boards of Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook (for which she and Bob provided the lead gift to build the McLennan Center for Youth) and the Family Services Center, serving the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. She is past president of the Women’s Association of Glenview Community Church, where she was served for 40 years as director or assistant director of their acclaimed Christmas pageant.

“We’re both very passionate about education and feel that the solutions to many problems in the world are through education in the broadest sense,” she said.

The McLennans have previously provided generous support for Cornell’s McLennan Center in Chicago, the Delta Phi Rho Centennial Endowment, the Berry Career Institute, and Cornell’s Annual Fund.