The granddaughter of Nebraska pioneers, Grace Riley Leinert spent her lifetime sowing seeds to help future generations grow through education. Thanks to several generous gifts from her estate to Hastings College, Mrs. Riley Leinert’s work to promote lifelong learning will continue well after her death on April 17, 2012.
A champion of the arts, Mrs. Riley Leinert contributed $500,000 for a permanent endowed professorship in the Hastings College Department of Music. Additionally, she established the Grace Riley Leinart Scholarship through a $1.1 million gift. The scholarship will be awarded on academic achievement and financial need.
“Grace immersed herself in projects she cared about deeply,” said Gary Freeman, Executive Vice President for External Affairs. “On behalf of the College, we are grateful she cared about and shared our mission to prepare students for meaningful lives. Through her gifts, future teachers, musicians, accountants and so many others will be about to get an outstanding education at Hastings College.”
The long-time Omaha resident who was active in her community and the Presbyterian Church has had a relationship with Hastings College stretching back to 1987. Through the Grace O. and Harry D. Riley Foundation of Omaha, Ms. Riley Leinart honored her mother by establishing the Mary Ramaekers Otterpohl Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to Hastings College students from Randolph, Lindsay or Shickley, Nebraska.
In 1996, Ms. Riley Leinart, then owner of Interiors by Grace and President of Riley Properties, funded the renovation of the College’s French Memorial Chapel, a cornerstone of campus. She contributed toward campus arts events, too.
Among her family members are several Hastings College attendees and alumni, including her daughter Nancy Riley Bush ‘69, granddaughter Regan Beckelman ‘98, grandson Harold Douglas “Doug” Riley II ‘99 and granddaughter-in-law Emily Helton-Riley ‘01.
In 2001, Hastings College recognized Mrs. Riley Leinart’s generosity by inducting her into its Pro Rege Society, the highest non-academic honor bestowed by the College.