The Magers believe in ‘leaving things better than you found them’
Karen and Dave Magers both were raised to “leave things better than you found them,” a lesson they have taken to heart in their careers, community service and Illinois State University service.
Dave is currently executive vice president and chief financial officer at Country Insurance after working in various positions at Growmark and the Illinois Farm Bureau. Karen is director of the Bloomington Eye Institute, the outpatient surgery center for Gailey Eye Clinic, after working in various nursing jobs at Mennonite Hospital and BroMenn Regional Medical Center.
Karen leaves things better by serving on the advisory board for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, a subcommittee for the Illinois Eye Bank and on the Illinois State University College of Nursing Alumni Association Board. She is also the awards chair for the nursing alumni board.
Dave contributes by serving on the Community Cancer Center Finance Committee, as chair of the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau Sports Commission (for which he was the recipient of the 2007 Individual Friend of Tourism award), the Children’s Hospital of Illinois Milestone Campaign executive cabinet, as co-chair of the campaign for the Economic Development Council of Bloomington-Normal, as a member of the Heartland chapter of the American Red Cross Board and on the Illinois State University Katie School of Insurance Advisory Board.
This year, the Magers were chairs of the American Red Cross Evening of the Stars, and they hosted a reception to complete the funding of the Mennonite College of Nursing Sim Baby and a dinner for the College of Fine Arts to raise money for pianos.
A Normal native, Dave received an accounting degree from Illinois State in 1977 and an MBA in finance in 1986. Bellflower native Karen graduated from the Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing in 1979. Dave, like many accounting graduates, said “I remember Professor Max Rexroad as a great inspiration, guide and mentor as well as Jim Hallam, the accounting chair at Illinois State, who played a role in my pursuit of accounting as a profession.”
Karen remembers all the nursing students living together in an old, small dormitory, bicycling or busing to their classes at Illinois State and becoming very good friends—such good friends that they didn’t gripe too much at being each other’s guinea pigs. “In those days, we student nurses didn’t have computerized mannequins to practice on,” Karen said. “We had to give injections or IVs to each other.”
The Magers regularly attend music and sports events at Illinois State, particularly Redbird basketball, which they say is near and dear to their hearts and has been since before they attended Illinois State. The Magers attended women’s volleyball games when a daughter of friends played and have become volleyball fans. Karen also assists with Mennonite’s homecoming events and luncheon and is the chairperson of the Mennonite Homecoming Awards committee.
“Illinois State, which has been a big part of our lives for over 30 years, is known as a quality institute, and the degrees we received in our professions are highly respected,” the Magers said. “The University prepares graduates that are not only well educated, but also have developed excellent interpersonal skills. In all professions, interpersonal skills are equally, if not more, important than the technical skills and become the separator between moderately and highly successful careers. The Mennonite nursing program has always been recognized as the ‘gold standard’ for educating nurses that continues to this day, and the accounting program, Katie School of Insurance and College of Business all are nationally recognized for their excellence. We are proud to promote our professions in nursing and business and the related Illinois State University programs.”