Bill Zook graduated from Arkansas State University during the 1950’s and went onto a successful career at IBM. Zook has decided he wants to help create more alums at the university just like him. He transferred his IBM stocks to ASU, the school announced on Monday. The stocks will be used to create an endowment fund the chancellor can utilize to enhance the university’s retention initiatives.
ASU will spend up to $20,000 to fund as many as 20 emergency grants to be awarded to students experiencing a momentary hardship, with the remainder of the gift used for an endowment fund that will continue support for the program.
“The micro grants program will assist students who experience a financial hardship that prevents them from continuation and completion of their degree,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “Students sometimes run into financial obstacles, and may not qualify for additional financial aid. A one-time allotment of up to $1,000 toward tuition and fees may be necessary to help get a student back on track.”
Recipients of the micro grants also will work with the Financial Aid office to develop a long-term plan.
A resident of Surprise, Ariz., Zook continues to support the university. In 2017, he was inducted into the Legacy Society, the university’s recognition group for those who have made planned gifts through such methods as wills and estates.
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to assist students who need an extra boost to keep on track toward completing a degree,” Zook said. “Completion of a degree is very important, and I am glad to see A-State leaders emphasizing and supporting retention initiatives.”
A native of the Missouri Bootheel region, Zook finished high school at Wilson, in Mississippi County. He credits his life experiences from his early years in the Delta region with teaching him a great deal about the challenges of growing up in difficult circumstances.
After graduating in 1955 with a degree in business administration from what was then Arkansas State College, he went on to enjoy a long career as an administration manager with IBM in San Diego.