Lawrence campus aerial

University mourns death of philanthropist Adele Hall

Adele Hall
Adele Hall

Leaders of the University of Kansas are mourning the death of Adele Hall, a Mission Hills, Kan., philanthropist and civic leader. She was vacationing with her husband, Don Hall, in Hawaii on Saturday, when she died unexpectedly at the age of 81. Memorial services are pending.

Adele Hall and her husband, Donald J. Hall, chair of the board of Hallmark Cards, are among KU’s most generous donors. They were instrumental in the creation of the Hall Center for the Humanities and generous supporters of The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s quest for National Cancer Institute designation. Their gifts have supported numerous other areas across KU’s campuses. Adele Hall received the university’s Distinguished Service Citation in 2003. 

She was born Adele Coryell in 1931 in Lincoln, Neb. She graduated in 1953 from the University of Nebraska with a degree in elementary education and English.

Survivors include her husband; sons Donald J. Hall Jr. and his wife, Jill, and David E. Hall and his wife, Laura; daughter Margaret Hall Pence and her husband, Keith Pence; and nine grandchildren.

KU officials issued the following statements:

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little: “Adele Hall's contributions to KU have benefitted essentially every corner of the university. From the Hall Center and cancer center, to many other areas of KU, her leadership and generosity will be felt by people throughout the region for generations to come.”

Victor Bailey, director of Hall Center for the Humanities: “Adele Hall gave tirelessly and generously of herself over many years, to the considerable benefit of Kansas City and KU. We will not see again a more committed, thoughtful, and considerate a philanthropist. She was a remarkable woman, and she will be dearly missed by all those working in the arts, humanities, and social services.”

Roy Jensen, M.D., director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center:“Adele was always incredibly kind, gracious, generous and totally unpretentious. She was never concerned about herself, she was always focused on what she could do for others and on what good she could do in this world. I’ll never forget how cute Don and she were together, it was almost as if they were made for each other. Also, Adele and Don and the Hall Family Foundation played a critical role in our attainment of NCI designation, through their personal support and their extensive advocacy in the community on our behalf.”

Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment: “Adele Hall had a deep and abiding affection for the University of Kansas. She demonstrated this through her outstanding philanthropic support for KU, and by giving unselfishly of her time and talents. She had an impeccable, gentle demeanor that endeared her to all of us who had the pleasure of knowing her. Above all, she was a great fan of KU.”

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363