QUINCY, Ill. – Members of the Oakley family, for generations one of the most prominent families in the tri-state region, have made the largest single philanthropic investment in the history of Quincy University.
Quincy University is receiving a gift of $6,500,000, thanks to the generous financial support of multiple branches and several generations of the Oakley family. This gift represents a substantial new investment in undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, in improvement for several QU academic facilities, and in programs to enhance the student experience and for faculty support.
The Oakley gift will have a direct and university-wide impact. Some elements of the gift will specifically support the activities of the university’s School of Business in recognition of the business success that made this gift possible.
In response to the gift announced today and the past philanthropic support extended to Quincy University and the tri-state region by members of the Oakley family, the university will permanently rename its School of Business, which now becomes the Oakley School of Business.
Several new scholarships and institutional funds will also bear the Oakley family name.
“The impact of the Oakley gift will transform the university in many ways and for generations to come,” said Brian McGee, Ph.D., QU President. “We are so grateful for the generosity and vision of the Oakley family. Their investment will help the Oakley School of Business build on its strengths in preparing graduates for business careers, consistent with our Catholic and Franciscan tradition and the enduring value of the liberal arts. This gift also will enhance the work and experience of our entire community.”
Many Oakley family members share a lifelong passion for Quincy University. They have been heavily involved in supporting many organizations in the region, but Quincy University has always been at the core of their community involvement and public service.
“We are blessed to have great industries, a great hospital, great medical facilities, and wonderful schools that are all hugely important to our region,” said Ralph M. Oakley, a 1980 business graduate and former chair of the Board of Trustees. “Quincy University, however, touches every aspect of the tri-state area through its quality educational offerings and its many religious, cultural and athletic events, along with being a major employer and a driver of economic development in the region. There’s not a part of life that Quincy University does not touch in our area, and I think that is why the university is so important.
“Like other members of our family, I am a graduate of Quincy University. Because of what we learned at Quincy University, we were able to give back and to help QU continue its mission in the Franciscan tradition.”
The Oakley family has supported Quincy University for many years, with family members serving on the board of trustees, teaching classes and chairing campaign drives. Family members have made significant philanthropic commitments to the university, resulting in, for example, the Oakley Family Scholarship for QU students. Other important gifts also have been secured for QU with the support of the family, such as contributions to build the university’s Health and Fitness Center in 2000 and the Quincy Media, Inc. Broadcast Studio in 2017.
“QU is another home for the Oakley family. The QU chapel, in particular, is very important to us, as several members of the family have been married there or have been moved by the Franciscan spirit,” said Harold B. (Hal) Oakley, a current member of the Quincy University Board of Trustees.
“Our hope is that the Business School will become not only a greater institution of higher education but will attract a significantly greater number of students from across the entire country,” said Thomas A. Oakley, former vice-chair of the Quincy University Board of Trustees. “All of us in the Oakley family are very proud to be able to make this investment in Quincy University and what it will mean for education and economic development in our immediate region and the broader region as well.”
In the tri-state region, the Oakley family legacy began in the 1890s, when Ray M. Oakley, Charles L. Miller and Aaron Burr Oakley worked for the Quincy Herald. Ray’s sons, Allen M. Oakley and Thomas C. Oakley, became the family’s third generation to join the newspaper industry. The company founded by the Oakley and Lindsay families in 1926, Quincy Newspapers, Inc., entered the world of broadcasting in the 1940s under the direction of Thomas C. Oakley.
The company continued to grow under the executive leadership of Thomas A. Oakley, a fourth-generation family member, and Ralph M. Oakley, a fifth-generation family member, as the company expanded its broadcasting operations to include television stations across the nation. Other Oakley family members, including Peter A. (Tony) Oakley, David R. Oakley, Sr., and Mary Oakley Winters, had important roles at the company, as did David Oakley, Jr., Tim Oakley, Hal Oakley, Peter A. Oakley II, and sixth-generation family members Tom Van Ness, Ben Van Ness, and Dustin Hall. The company became Quincy Media, Inc. in 2016.
In 2021, Quincy Media, Inc. sold the Quincy Herald-Whig and the Hannibal Courier-Post to Phillips Media Group and its television stations across 16 media markets to Gray Television, Inc.
“I’m the middle of three generations of ‘non-traditional’ students that have graduated from QU,” said David Oakley, Jr., QU Class of 1984. “My father, David R. Oakley, Sr., graduated with a business degree. I have an accounting degree, and my daughter, Anna, has a BS in communication. QU has made an important, impactful personal contribution to our entire family. I think many others in the community have benefited in a similar way.”
The Oakley School of Business is one of five schools sponsoring academic instruction at Quincy University. The Oakley School is the first named school in the history of the university.
Business programs at what is now Quincy University were first offered in 1867. The mission of today’s School of Business – now the Oakley School of Business – is to emphasize education through critical thinking and decision-making skills, experiential learning, leadership development and exposure to diverse academic theories and practical experiences.
The university offered its first graduate degree, the Masters of Business Administration (MBA), in 1984, and the MBA degree continues to be a central offering of the business faculty at QU. In addition to established undergraduate courses of study in accounting, finance, marketing and management, Quincy University recently added a degree in business analytics to meet the needs of an ever-changing business environment. The newly named school will also support one of the university’s two newest academic programs, an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in arts management.
“This generous gift allows us to build upon our rich history of business education and provide students with resources needed to build successful careers,” said Cynthia Haliemun, Ph.D., dean of the Oakley School of Business. “This is truly a historic moment for QU, its business alumni, and its current and future students. We are honored to have this chance to take the next big step in the evolution of business instruction at QU and to add to our reputation for quality and innovation.”
Prior to the Oakley gift, the largest donation received by Quincy University provided nearly $3 Million to establish the John Mahoney Scholarship. The Mahoney Scholarship provides financial support for students majoring in the humanities.
Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs integrating practical experience and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with students to design customized success plans to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. QU is a member of NCAA Division II for intercollegiate athletics. For more information, please visit www.quincy.edu or contact the Office of Community Relations at (217) 228-5275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Quincy University. Success by Design.