Numerous academic, cultural and scholarship programs at Illinois State University are beneficiaries of $1.8 million in support from State Farm Companies Foundation. The money, given over the course of two years, supports programs in Illinois State’s six colleges, intercollegiate athletics and campus-wide minority recruitment initiatives.

“We are thrilled to announce this new gift and celebrate the continuing commitment of State Farm Companies Foundation,” said President Al Bowman. “Their investment in the future of Illinois State will provide numerous long-term benefits to many diverse areas of the University, and we are grateful for their support.”

State Farm Companies Foundation funding supports a wide array of academic programs including Illinois State’s Actuarial Science program. Designated a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries, the program, based in the Department of Mathematics, prepares students to use mathematical skills to define, analyze and solve problems in the private and public sectors. Examples include calculating the costs of insurance, pensions and social programs. Top actuarial science students are eligible to receive scholarship funding through the State Farm Scholars® program.

The Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services in the College of Business also benefits from State Farm Companies Foundation support. The Katie School prepares students for careers in the risk management and insurance professions and provides educational outreach to the local community and to the insurance industry. The Katie School is a key educational partner with Illinois State’s nationally recognized undergraduate Insurance and Risk Management and Actuarial Science programs.

State Farm Companies Foundation grant funding supports the College of Education’s Little Village and Auburn Gresham project. Part of the College’s larger Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline project, the program works with public schools in Chicago’s Little Village and Auburn Gresham communities, with the overall goal of increasing urban teacher recruitment and improving preparation and retention of teachers in hard-to-staff inner-city schools.

As a partner in the America’s Promise Alliance, State Farm Companies Foundation supports numerous education initiatives in elementary and secondary schools. The New Innovation for America’s Promise project in Illinois State’s Mennonite College of Nursing creates partnerships between nursing faculty and students and school leaders in the community. Mennonite’s nurse practitioner students, in collaboration with faculty and a primary care physician, will provide school physicals. Undergraduate nursing students will offer educational and mentoring programs focused on self-care, self-image, oral health, obesity prevention and healthy living.

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival has brought the work of The Bard to Central Illinois audiences since 1978. Having achieved national acclaim, the Festival consistently attracts top university and professional theatre talent to its summer productions in the Theatre at Ewing. State Farm Companies Foundation funding enhances outreach programs designed to introduce local school children and community members to live theatre and the works of Shakespeare.

Funding provided by State Farm Companies Foundation supports the Karin L. Bone Athletics Study Center, which provides academic services to more than 400 student-athletes participating in 19 sports. In the fall 2010 semester, more than 250 Redbird athletes were named to the honor roll (3.0+ GPA) and 60 received a 4.0 GPA.

Illinois State’s efforts to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of students from underrepresented groups are getting a boost thanks to State Farm Companies Foundation’s contribution to the Minority Achievement Program. The funding goes to programs that bring first-generation college students to campus. The University’s minority recruitment, retention and graduation rates have increased dramatically in recent years and rank far above state and national averages.

State Farm Companies Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Illinois State. In recognition of that support, the University’s College of Business Building was recently renamed the State Farm Hall of Business. State Farm currently employs more than 4,100 Illinois State graduates.