In appreciation of the education, inspiration and financial support he received as an undergraduate student at the University of Rochester, longtime Trustee Alan Hilfiker has made a significant gift that will create the Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professorship in English.
Hilfiker has also committed additional funds to the existing Alan F. Hilfiker Endowed Graduate Scholarship Fund, to help students pursue academic careers of distinction in English, and the Alan F. Hilfiker Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, for first-generation college students who plan to study English or the humanities.
"The University has long benefited from Alan's engagement, vision, and generosity. He is one of our most active alumni and someone who genuinely values the richness that the humanities can bring to our lives," said President Joel Seligman. "This gift will not only enhance scholarship in the field of English, but also allow a new generation of students to fall in love with literature, the way he did as an undergraduate student at Rochester."
Hilfiker's gifts contribute to The Meliora Challenge, the $1.2 billion campaign for the University of Rochester. The Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professorship in English is one of 63 endowed professorships that have been created since the beginning of the Campaign, which seeks to add 80 new endowed professorships before it concludes on June 30, 2016.
"Through Alan's gifts we will be able to recognize truly outstanding scholars and attract exciting new talent to the University," said Joanna B. Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "Alan is helping us enrich our programs in the humanities at Rochester through his generous support."
The first in his family to attend college and supported in part by a generous scholarship from the University, Hilfiker said, "I knew when I graduated I wanted to do something of some significance to repay the University for the very positive and enriching experience I had as an undergraduate. This has been a lifetime goal of mine and I'm hopeful that through these efforts, the University and English Department will continue to inspire through scholarship and excellent teaching." Hilfiker received his bachelor's degree in 1960. He credits Richard Gollin, professor emeritus of English, for sparking his interest in late 19th and early 20th century literature.
"It's a privilege and a pleasure to be able to contribute in my small way to a department that enriched my life," said Hilfiker. "I am a very proud and grateful alumnus."
Hilfiker is a founding partner of Garlick, Hilfiker & Swift, LLP, a Naples, Fla. law firm. Born and raised in Rochester, he was a partner for 39 years at Harter, Secrest & Emery, LLP, and a founding partner of the firm's Naples office in the early 1980s. He received a law degree in 1963 from Cornell Law School, where he was a member of the board of editors for the Cornell Law Review. As a student at Rochester, he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Keidaeans and Mendicants honor societies.
A trustee since 1988, Hilfiker is closely engaged with the University and a generous supporter of scholarship initiatives, as well as the Alan F. Hilfiker Gallery in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation in Rush Rhees Library. He is also a charter member of the George Eastman Circle, the University's leadership annual giving society. In 1992, he was awarded the University's esteemed James S. Armstrong Alumni Service Award, and in 2010 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Arts and Sciences. Hilfiker and his wife, Carol, an active alumna who received her degree in education from the University in 1960, live in Naples and have three children and nine grandchildren.