Not many high-schoolers know what they want to do with their life. Ronnell Robinzine ’09 was different. Even before he was old enough to drive, he wanted to be a lawyer.

“I saw lawyers as leaders making a difference in society, and I wanted to make a difference,” he said.

Illinois State was one of two colleges he considered for an undergraduate degree in finance. What made his decision was the State Farm Hall of Business, how he felt when he walked the campus, and scholarships. Three years in a row he received the Illinois State University’s Black Colleagues Association Judge Russell DeBow Scholarship based on his grades, campus involvement, and leadership.

Illinois State University’s Black Colleagues Association awards three scholarships: the Judge Russell DeBow Scholarship, the President’s Office Book Scholarship, and the Vice President for Student Affairs Book Scholarship. Gloria Campbell-White ’58 and John Jordon (photo above, left), and Julie (Fuery) ’90 and Tracy Jones support this fund through planned gifts, along with many additional annual donors.

“The scholarships not only helped me finance my education, but allowed me to focus more on my studies,” he said. “Having that financial aid enriched my overall campus experience, academically, socially, and professionally by allowing me to get involved in campus organizations and in the community.”

Robinzine was active in the Mentoring Scholarship, Academics, and Achievement Initiative, a mentoring program for freshmen.  He became a residence hall advisor and was active in student government, the Student Involvement Center, and College of Business organizations.  After an internship in investments at State Farm Insurance Companies, he decided to blend his love of finance and law by pursuing a career in corporate law.

He graduated magna cum laude and was accepted into his first choice for law school, the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville, where he’s a third-year student.  He’s continued to make headlines there, earning scholarships for academics and leadership.

“I’ll have loans when I get out, but scholarships helped reduce them,” he said. “Law school is really challenging me academically, and I look forward to the opportunities that I will have after graduating. I enjoyed my experience at ISU. It gave me a great foundation.”