Donor Stories and Legacies


Up to Bat for ND Students

Jim Gillis“I fell in love at age seven,” says Jim Gillis (’51). “My dad took me to the Los Angeles Coliseum to see a Notre Dame-USC football game. From then on, going to Notre Dame was my dream.” A visit from legendary baseball coach Jake Kline, along with the assistance of a baseball scholarship, helped to make Jim’s dream come true. “I am forever grateful to Jake for my Notre Dame education,” he says.

Jim’s devotion to Notre Dame only deepened when he met his future wife, Jane, during his freshman year. The couple was married in 1950 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and, for 35 years, traveled from their home in California to campus to attend Mass in the Basilica on their anniversary.

Over the course of Jim’s career, which included professional baseball, the FBI, and broadcasting, the Gillises developed a new dream: to establish a grant-in-aid for Notre Dame student-athletes. Through a series of charitable gift annuities, Jim and Jane have been able to fund the Jim and Jane Gillis Grant-in-Aid Scholarship for Varsity Baseball.

“A charitable gift annuity is a heck of a way to make a gift,” says Jane. “We get a wonderful return on our gift in the form of quarterly payments, and it is helpful from a tax standpoint, too.”