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Bill Zook Supports Retention Initiatives with Major Gift


JONESBORO – Directing his gift to assist with the university's renewed emphasis on student retention, Bill Zook recently transferred his long-held stock in IBM Corp. to Arkansas State University.

He has designated that proceeds from sale of the stock be used to create an endowment fund the chancellor can utilize to enhance the university's retention initiatives.

A-State will use 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," stated Chancellor Kelly Damphousse.  "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.

Now a resident of Surprise, Ariz., Zook continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Arkansas State and the Red Wolves.  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 Corp. in San Diego.

Now he wants to share some of his success with young people at Arkansas State, helping provide special assistance to promising students through the university's renewed emphasis on retention.

His gift to A-State is made possible by his investments and financial planning, and allows the university to invest in students using unrestricted funds to further the mission of the university.

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Bill Zook photo
Bill Zook