Growing up on a Kansas farm, Chad Leat developed the work ethic and teamwork that propelled his 30-year career on Wall Street, where he became known as a leader in corporate credit and merger and acquisition financing.

This year was payback time for the retired vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup.

The Tonganoxie native and University of Kansas alumnus established the Chad A. Leat Student Scholarship in support of LGBTQ students at KU in 2006, and in March he announced a $1 million gift to the scholarship fund, the first of its kind at the school.

“It’s always rewarding to me to give a leg up to those in need, but also to give a leg up to those who try,” Leat said. “My motivation is very simple: It’s payback.”

“He is incredibly fabulous,” said Saida Bonifield, director of KU’s Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity. “He’s just very personable and took the time to get to know the recipients of his scholarship.”

Leat, who was involved in fundraising for President Barack Obama, has served on several boards, including those at Norwegian Cruise Lines, MidCap Financial, J.Crew Operating Corp. and TPG Pace Holdings Corp. Civic and philanthropic positions have included being a member of the Economic Club of New York and a trustee of the Parrish Museum of Art.

Leat lives in New York and Paris but maintains a tie to his Kansas roots through an ongoing interest in horses, which was sparked in his youth.