Foundation receives 'largest estate gift in Western’s history'

Borick Business Building on the campus of Western State Colorado University

Foundation receives 'largest estate gift in Western’s history'

Date: Monday, June 4, 2018 - 2:30pm

He always believed his scholarship recipients would change the world for the better. So, Robert R. Little of Phoenix spent the last 17 years providing scholarship gifts through Western State Foundation for business students in his name and in the memory of his late wife, Gloria.

Little wanted to make sure that Western’s students continued to be helped with tuition expenses even after he was gone. Little passed away on July 11, 2017, at the age of 91. Last month, the Western State Foundation received an additional $2 million through Little’s estate, which he had designated to add to his existing scholarship endowments. In perpetuity, Western’s top business students—together with Western students in any academic discipline with extreme financial need—will receive help thanks to Bob’s incredible generosity.

“This is the largest estate gift in Western’s history,” said Western State Foundation executive director Tom Burggraf. “And that is fitting, because Bob had the biggest heart for our students. To say he cared deeply for his scholarship recipients would be an understatement. Bob and Gloria had no children of their own. While he was not able to travel to campus to meet his recipients, he considered them his kids. It gave him such joy to know he was helping them thrive.

Robert R. Little of Phoenix, who studied business at Western and graduated in 1950

“Philanthropy means ‘loving people,’ and that is exactly the spirit in which Bob gave. And we loved him in return. We miss Bob dearly, and are comforted with gratitude for all he’s done to bless the lives of so many Western students. His beautiful memory will live on in his students.”

Since 2000, Little gave more than $1.4 million to Western. Each semester he would receive thank you notes from the students; he treasured each one, often re-reading them while hoping that the help he provided would both unburden and encourage those students.

Little studied business at Western and graduated in 1950. Upon graduation, he worked for several years in Western’s business office. He went on to a career of financial management for education.

Little’s gifts extended beyond scholarships to help build the Borick Business Building (pictured above), the University Center, and provide major support to purchase a second bus for the Athletics Department.

For information on creating your own lasting legacy by including a tax-wise gift to Western State Colorado University Foundation as part of your estate plans, visit or contact Tom Burggraf at the Foundation office at 970.641.2237 or