Built quietly through hard work, Leer estate to benefit Hastings College

Unlike other Hastings College graduates, Sarah (Thompson) Leer ’46 didn’t travel to space, serve as a U.S. Ambassador or win any college football national championships. Like many Hastings alumni, she did, however, work diligently, serve her community and recall fondly her years at Hastings College.

Mrs. Leer, who was known as Sally to friends and family, majored in business administration, participated in the campus Spanish club and met her husband, Stanley, while at Hastings.

In appreciation for these experiences which served as the foundation for her subsequent life, Mrs. Leer donated her entire estate to Hastings College. The $1.7 million gift is among the largest Hastings College has received.

“Sally just never forgot Hastings College,” said Gary Freeman, Vice President for College Advancement and Chief Development Officer. “She was unassuming but generous in her giving. In my conversations, it was clear she had given thought to how she could build a lasting legacy which would benefit future students with financial need and the desire to learn.”

In addition to this $1.7 million gift – among the largest Hastings College has received, Mrs. Leer established the Thompson-Leer Endowed Scholarship in memory of her family and her parents Clyde  and Flora Thompson. Additionally, she contributed to the restoration of McCormick Hall, the oldest building on campus. In recognition of her gifts to the College, she was inducted into the Pro Rege Society in 2005.

Mrs. Leer was born in Ansley, Nebraska, to Clyde and Flora Thompson and graduated from Fullerton High School in Fullerton, Nebraska. After marrying Stanley Leer in Grand Island, Nebraska, and completing her degree, Mrs. Leer spent her career as an administrative assistant with the Social Security Administration in Madison, Wisconsin. The Leers retired to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where they remained until Mr. Leer’s death in 2013. Mrs. Leer died on April 14, 2014, in Viroqua, Wisconsin. 

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