Giving Impact Stories
Larry and Rosalie Sur
Civil Engineering, 1964, 1965
“We decided to direct our scholarship to Civil Engineering because that is the department I graduated from and I feel so much a part of ... We also give to Bioengineering, because we feel this is a great program for the future. The combination of engineering and medicine is a wonderful thing.”
Education is a value that Larry (CEE '64, '65) and Rosalie Sur hold near and dear to their hearts. They also know that attending college does not come easily to many people because of the expense. It's an issue all too familiar to the couple because they both needed financial assistance to go to college.
Larry and Rosalie Sur both grew up in Effingham, Illinois. Larry wanted to become an engineer, so he applied to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was admitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Rosalie received a teaching scholarship and attended Eastern Illinois University.
Larry received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering at Illinois. While he worked on his master’s, Rosalie taught elementary school in Champaign. Once Larry finished school, they moved to Michigan, where Larry took a job with the Whirlpool Corporation. Rosalie continued teaching in Michigan until the couple decided to start a family.
Their family has since grown to 16 members in their immediate family. Of the 16 people, there are five engineers. Two of their daughters are engineers, their son in law is an engineer, and their grandson just started college for engineering computing systems. Larry proudly shared, “I guess you can say it runs deep in our family.”
Larry and Rosalie are both retired now. They live in Wisconsin and escape the bitter winters to Florida. Although they do not live in the state, they hold the Illinois campus in their hearts. “I spent so much time while I was on campus working in the Department. When you spend so much time with a community, especially when you’re young, you develop a deep connection,” Larry shared.
The deep connection the couple feels to Engineering at Illinois inspired them to make a gift to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative. Since the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative spans across the College, the couple was able to direct their gift to multiple areas of importance to them.
“We decided to direct our scholarship to Civil Engineering because that is the department I graduated from and I feel so much a part of,” said Larry. “We also give to the Department of Bioengineering because we feel this is a great program for the future. The combination of engineering and medicine is a wonderful thing.”
Bioengineering research holds a special place in Larry’s heart—literally. Larry’s heart has beat close to 500 million times over the last 15 years because of an artificial aortic heart valve. He also has an artificial knee. Both of these innovations allow him to enjoy his life to fullest and are products of the bioengineering industry. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you combine engineering and medicine,” said Larry.
The couple finds joy in supporting the next generation of Civil Engineers and Bioengineers through scholarships. “The engineering students are delightful. Through our discussions, I can see how much it means to them to earn their degrees. I think scholarships help motivate students. It makes them feel like they’re worth it and they are inspired to work as hard as they can,” shared Rosalie.
“For those that much has been given, much is expected. We give back to encourage the best and brightest to come to Engineering at Illinois,” Larry shared.