Leave things better than you found them. That is the personal motto of Dave Magers ’77, ’86 M.B.A., and Karen (Roop) Magers, RN, ’79.
“That’s the way the world improves,” Dave said. “I’ve seen great improvements at ISU, and that’s because people before us have left things better than they found them.”
Born in Paxton and raised in Normal, Dave became close to the University through athletic and campus events, even before his first day of classes. Unsure of what he would study when he first attended Illinois State, Dave found his love for business by working as a night auditor for a local hotel.
“Like every other 14-year-old, I originally thought my career was going to be professional basketball,” he said. “I walked over to the North Gym one day and started playing with a kid named Doug Collins. And I found out very quickly that I was not going to play professional basketball!”
Karen, who grew up in Bellflower, came to Illinois State to study nursing. While some nurses can take years to find their niche in the field, Karen found hers right away.
“There are so many sub specialties, and I was lucky to find what I love right out of school—ophthalmology and eye surgery,” she said. “Whenever I have the opportunity to share that with students I do so.”
Dave is chief financial officer of COUNTRY Financial and Karen is director of the Bloomington Eye Institute. Both continue to share their passions with Illinois State as they return to visit with students or serve in leadership roles. Dave serves on the Katie School Advisory Board of Executives and the Community Partners Committee. Karen works with the Mennonite College of Nursing Alumni Organization. The Magers also will serve on Mennonite’s inaugural community advisory board.
“We have a top-notch college of nursing,” Karen said. “A lot of the community may know of the college, but may not realize the level of excellence of the nurses produced. If we can show people that, they might become more involved. That’s why it’s important to get the word out about what we actually have here.”
“Everything continues to improve from when I was here, and it was a great institution then,” Dave added. “As other alums look at the University, what it has provided, it becomes apparent that the only way it continues to improve is if we all give back.”
These sentiments have caused the Magers to create two scholarships through bequests: The David and Karen Magers Insurance Scholarship, and The Karen and David Magers Scholarship. The scholarships target students who are in the insurance and nursing fields, have records of high academic achievement, and are from small communities.
“I’m glad to be connected with a college of nursing that has such a reputation of excellence, and glad that I can still contribute to that and help them maintain the legacy,” Karen said.
There is no doubt the couple is making Illinois State an even better place than when they found their passions here. “We’re proud to be a part of ISU and to continue to be a part of ISU,” said Dave. “It’s a great institution; it has world-class academics, athletics is fun and exciting and competitive. Top to bottom it’s a great institution.”