Dr. Fred Gletten ’71 came to Illinois State in the 1960s on a football scholarship. A letter-winner and cocaptain of the football team, he enrolled with plans of becoming a teacher.
That changed when he met David Brusick, M.S. ’65, Ph.D. ’70. A graduate student at the time, Brusick became a mentor and friend who convinced Gletten to pursue a career as a physician after graduating with a biological sciences degree.
“It all started at ISU,” said Gletten, who went on to complete a medical degree and is now a gastroenterologist in California. Still appreciative of his ISU education for creating the foundation that led to his success, Gletten maintains a close connection to the University.
A member of the College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, he has established an ISU scholarship to help academically talented biology students with financial needs.
“I want to be a person who assists those students who are financially unable to attend college,” he said.
With such a strong tie to campus, Gletten was especially pleased when his oldest of two sons, Frederick, chose to attend Illinois State. He will complete his accounting major in 2013.
“It’s special to think he walks the same ground I did and is in the same buildings. I couldn’t think of a better place to start off his education. It would have been better if he was in science, but I guess accounting is okay, too,” Gletten joked.
“Dad wanted me to come here to Illinois State. It’s cool to be here, seeing the things that he is always talking about,” Frederick said, musing that he also appreciates the colder Illinois temperatures to a California heat wave.
To ward off the Midwestern chill, Frederick often wears his father’s football letter sweater.
“I think he ripped me off,” Gletten laughed. “He went to my closet and nabbed the sweater. I told him not to damage it.”
In fact, the sweater remains in such good shape that Frederick has had requests to sell it. He’s not interested, as the treasured keepsake remains a tangible reminder of the Gletten family’s Illinois State legacy.