University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

September 21, 2006
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman , USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

Laidlaw Foundation Donates $105,000 for Music Scholarship, Sculpture at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital

Bill and Sally Laidlaw Green
Bill and Sally Laidlaw Green
The John W. Laidlaw Foundation has donated $105,000 to purchase a sculpture for the lobby of the University of South Alabama’s Children’s & Women’s Hospital and endow a music scholarship for an incoming freshman in the USA Department of Music. The Laidlaw Foundation has been generous to the University over the years, creating another music scholarship, endowing the building that houses the drama and music departments and purchasing a sculpture to adorn the front of that building.

The most recent gift from the Laidlaw Foundation contributes to Campaign USA, the University's first compre-hensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction over the next three years. Campaign USA was launched in March, and, to date, has raised $44.2 million.

The new sculpture, titled “If I Could Fly” by Gary Price, captures the childhood fantasy of flying. It is in an alcove in the lobby of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, offering a happy and bright welcome to patients and their families.

Sally Laidlaw Green, daughter of the late John W. Laidlaw, said she and her husband, Bill, were pleased to donate the sculpture. The Greens expressed their appreciation to Frank Brown, the third and local member of the Laidlaw Foundation, for his work with the University in finalizing the gift parameters.

“It will put some smiles on a lot of children’s faces who need a smile,” she said.

Bill Green added that the sculpture extends the Children’s Park of sculptures in front of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital into the clinical setting. “This is for the children’s benefit,” he said. “We believe it will bring the sculpture park into the hospital.”

Dr. Joseph F. Busta, vice president of development and alumni relations, said, “This is a special gift to Campaign USA as it addresses two unique priority items in our campaign. It will enhance the patient and family experience at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and help us attract more outstanding students to our music program at USA.”

USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital Administrator Dr. Becky DeVillier says the sculpture is a wonderful addition to the hospital and is being enjoyed by all the patients, families and staff.

"If I Could Fly"
The sculpture "If I Could Fly"

“For many of our patients and their families, ‘If I Could Fly’ has become an important part of the healing process. There’s a real sense of triumph in the happy, carefree faces of the children. It’s very inspirational,” she said. “Our heartfelt thanks go to the Laidlaw Foundation for their generous gift. Children are fascinated with the sculpture, and their families are awe-struck. It’s been a wonderful addition to our lobby and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

The Laidlaw Foundation also established a new, endowed scholarship in the USA Department of Music. Dr. Greg Gruner, departmental chairman, said the scholarship will be used to recruit top music students to the University.

“The Greens have been tremendous supporters of our department,” he said. “We will use this latest scholarship to help attract incoming freshman music students.”

The Greens said their long-time interest in the performing arts led them to establish the new scholarship.

“This will be a general scholarship to encourage full-time, undergraduate students toward studying music,” Bill Green said.

Campaign USA will enrich all aspects of USA, from its academic colleges and schools to its hospitals, athletic programs, libraries and campuses. The money raised will be used to fund such items as undergraduate and graduate scholarships, professorships, classroom and laboratory equipment, and health care innovations. Funds will also be used for capital enhancements to USA’s track and soccer programs, a University archives building and campus bell tower.

The campaign is led by some 50 outstanding local and national business leaders.

For information on Campaign USA, go to or call (251) 460-7032.

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