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Grace Groner - A hidden millionaire's college gift: Deserves a Cookie

A hidden millionaire's college gift
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

Grace Groner leaves $7 million to her Illinois alma mater.  Few friends knew of her wealth.

Grace Groner's one-bedroom Lake Forest house was also left to the school.  It will house students who receive scholarships from her foundation. (Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune)

Grace Groner
By John Keilman

Reporting from Chicago - Like many people who lived through the Depression, Grace Groner was exceptionally restrained with her money.  

She got her clothes from rummage sales, walked rather than buy a car. And her one-bedroom house in Lake Forest, Ill., held little more than a few plain pieces of furniture, some mismatched dishes and an old television.  Her one splurge was a small scholarship program she had created for Lake Forest College, her alma mater. She planned to contribute more upon her death, and when she died in January at 100, her attorney informed the college president that the gift had added up.

"Oh, my God," the president said.  Groner's estate, which stemmed from a $180 stock purchase she made in 1935, was worth $7 million.  The money is going into a foundation that will allow many of Lake Forest's 1,300 students to pursue internships and study-abroad programs.

Groner never married or had children, she had a gregarious personality and plenty of friends. She remained connected to the college, attending football games and donating $180,000 to create the scholarship program.

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Credit:  Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times,0,2910138.story
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