When Doug Johnson ’10 and his twin brother, Brad, came to Illinois State, they knew it would create a financial hardship for their family. Their father, David Johnson ’73, M.S. ’78, died of cancer when they were young and their mother, Deborah (Kiekow) ’74, M.S. ’78 taught second grade while raising her three boys. She later married another alum, Jack Cowgill ’65, M.S ’73.

Scholarships drew Doug to Illinois State. He received two scholarships as a freshman and went on to earn more, as well as double major in insurance and finance and become a Bone Scholar, the University’s highest honor.

“I am very grateful for each and every scholarship,” he said. “I cannot say thank you enough to those who helped fund them. They really did ease my loan burden and the burden on my parents. As I received these scholarships and realized that they could significantly help my parents and me pay for my education, it became a motivational factor.”

Although he worked part time each semester, the extra money allowed him to take courses for a double major and also spend time pursuing service and leadership opportunities. And while in the Katie School of Insurance, he was selected for an internship in Zurich, Switzerland, his first trip abroad. He credits that experience with helping him get a job as a risk analyst with Munich Re America in Princeton, N.J.

“I have a great amount of pride and loyalty to ISU, fueled by alumni who were generous enough to give back and help support a future generation of Redbirds,” he said. “The support I received created a connection to the University that will long outlast the four years I spent on campus.”