If Illinois State University had allowed students to major in baseball, Andy Schuster ’92, M.S. ’96, would have been the first to sign up. Schuster came to Illinois State on a baseball scholarship to play catcher for the Redbirds.
The public relations major proved himself again and again on the field, ultimately being selected to represent Major League Baseball International after graduation. He and 14 other players from the Midwest travelled to England to teach the country how Americans play baseball. Some of the athletes had even played against Schuster during his career at Illinois State.
“It was a great adventure with some good guys,” Schuster said. “You didn’t know everyone as a person, but you knew them as players. Baseball players have an innate ability to recall everything in a game. We started putting everything together on the plane ride over.”
After working with coaches, managers, and athletes in England and then playing throughout Europe, Schuster returned to the U.S. and to Illinois State to pursue his master’s degree. He focused on training and now works at State Farm in Agency Marketing as a sales trainer for agents and agent staff.
Though his career has taken him into the world of insurance, Schuster has still maintained close ties to baseball and Illinois State, fundraising and connecting alumni to the current team.
“I’ve always tried to stay close to baseball,” Schuster said. “Head Coach Mark Kingston has made the alumni of the baseball program really proud.”
Schuster’s parents created an endowed scholarship created for him and his wife, Danielle (Miller) ’97, M.S. ’98: the Schuster Family Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship provides financial assistance to a junior or senior player for his efforts in the classroom and on the field. Andy and Danielle contribute to the Redbird Baseball program through annual giving and have also made a planned gift to support Illinois State.
“Creating a planned gift was relatively easy,” Schuster said. “Danielle and I were completing our wills and asked, ‘What are the things most important to us?’ Obviously family and loved ones, but ISU also rang very true to that.”
The couple’s planned gift will benefit baseball at Illinois State and the Division of Student Affairs—ensuring that the programs that have made such a strong impact on their lives will continue to do so for others.
“People in their 30s and 40s may not know what a planned gift is or what it can do,” Schuster said. “But it’s important to put a will together. To go back and to be able to give to the institutions that meant the most to you is really important. It is a great way to stay involved and show your support throughout your lifetime.”