Lorryn Neely knows from personal experience what a difference a donation makes. A junior from Flossmoor, Lorryn has benefited greatly from several scholarships that are reducing her debt load by defraying tuition and book expenses.

“It is helping me tremendously,” Lorryn said, noting that she is not eligible for financial aid. Without scholarships she would rely solely on loans to pay for her degree in elementary education. She is completing a psychology minor as well, and plans to pursue a master’s degree after finishing her Illinois State studies in December of 2011.

Lorryn enrolled as a freshman. Initially looking at schools beyond Illinois, she chose the University after learning from her mother about ISU’s stellar teacher education programs. A campus visit sealed her decision, as she felt comfortable with the size and excited by the opportunities.

“I’ve been involved in a little bit of everything,” she said, including her current role as president of the Black Student Union. She is a member of the Homecoming student committee, the Campus Involvement Ambassadors, and Phi Sigma Pi and Kappa Delta Pi national honorary societies.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed it,” Lorryn said of her time at Illinois State. “The classes are amazing.” She particularly appreciates the opportunity to complete clinical observations. The work has convinced her she made the right choice when deciding to become a teacher of grade school students.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. I just love helping and especially the little kids,” she said. Lorryn’s plan is to teach in the third or fourth grade in a district where children are underserved.

She’s confident she will be ready, and thrilled she won’t be hindered by huge debt. Her financial burden has been lifted by Illinois State University’s Black Colleagues Association (ISUBCA), which has awarded her the Judge Russell R. DeBow Scholarship each year she has attended.

Lorryn also received the President’s Book Scholarship, the Larry and Barbara Efaw Endowed Scholarship, a University Club Scholarship, and the Dean of Students Office Run for Academic Success and Excellence Book Scholarship.

“I am just so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of this giving,” Lorryn said, encouraging more people to get involved. “It is so important. Cost is one of the big things that holds people back from coming to college in general. If there is no other motivation for people to give, let it be for the students who are missing out because they don’t have the money.”

More than one life can be changed when you provide financial support that enables a student to complete an education. Make a difference today by creating a scholarship, or contributing to the scholarship funds that exist through the ISUBCA. Contact Executive Director of Development Joy Hutchcraft at (309) 438-8041 or by e-mail at jdhutch@ilstu.edu. Donations can be made online at www.Advancement.ilstu.edu/support.