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Alum’s gift will establish Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences

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A $2.5 million gift from the estate of Dr. Fred Gletten ’71 will establish the Dr. Fred Gletten Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences. Gletten’s gift, made during the Redbirds Rising campaign, is the largest gift to the School of Biological Sciences in Illinois State history.

“We’re honored Dr. Gletten chose to continue his legacy at Illinois State by providing for an endowed chair in his estate,” said Dr. Larry Dietz, president of Illinois State University. “Dr. Gletten’s memory will live on through the students who learn, grow, and engage in transformational research in Illinois State’s biology school.”

Dr. Fred Gletten ’71

Dr. Fred Gletten ’71

Gletten came to Illinois State in 1968 on a football scholarship. He majored in biology, and initially aspired to become a high school biology teacher and football coach. After graduating with a degree in biological sciences, Gletten completed a master’s degree in microbiology at Howard University.

While pursuing the degree, Gletten met Dr. Floyd Malvo, who became dean of Howard’s Medical School. Malvo encouraged Gletten to pursue medicine as a career. He was accepted by several medical schools, and chose to attend Howard University School of Medicine. He later completed an internship, residency, and fellowship in gastroenterology at UCLA Wadsworth V.A. Hospital. After finishing comprehensive training, Gletten taught for more than 20 years as an assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA. He also established a successful medical practice in Los Angeles alongside two other gastroenterologists.

Gletten’s estate gift honors the foundation in science he received at Illinois State and will support the scholarly work of a distinguished biology faculty member. The gift will enhance the body of research produced by the School of Biological Sciences and ensures the program’s impact on future scientists who desire to contribute to the institution of medicine. Students will also benefit from the opportunity to study under the distinguished scholar who will holds the Dr. Fred Gletten Endowed Chair.

Gletten’s visionary estate gift to Illinois State contributes to a planned giving pipeline of more than $85 million. Planned gifts support Illinois State’s future vitality and create opportunities to continually enhance Illinois State’s students, programs, and facilities. To learn more about documenting a planned gift to Illinois State, visit GiveTo.IllinoisState.edu.

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