Darius Ardison is a senior financial accounting major at Illinois State. When he is not buried deep in his accounting textbooks he can be found perfecting his culinary skills, on the basketball court, or pulling some gadget apart just for the sake of putting it back together.

Ardison received the Livingston Family Endowed Scholarship and the College of Business Diversity Scholarship as a freshman. They have been renewed every year since. These scholarships were made possible by the generous support of alumni and friends who give back annually to the University.

Here’s Why Your Gift Matters, in Ardison’s own words:

What impact has the scholarship had on your life?

The scholarship has a great impact on my life. It makes me feel good that donors believe in me and want to support me. I feel like I have a lot of people outside of my family in my corner. The scholarships basically allowed me not to stress too much over the cost of attending college. I never knew books, especially these 700-1,000 page accounting books, could be so expensive. I appreciate every amount that I receive.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

 My dream job honestly would be to work for a business performing tax-related services. I’m taking my first tax class this year, which is really interesting and I love it. I enjoy filing tax returns and learning all the yearly-updated rules on tax. Math has always been strongest asset. My preferred corporation would probably be a mid-sized company. I also want to contribute a lot to the company so I will feel I will have a good chance of moving up within the ranks. I want to feel that my job is secure while devoting years as an asset to the company.

How prepared do you feel going into the working world?

I feel pretty good. There’s always room for improvement, always room to obtain more knowledge, but as of right now I feel confident, especially concerning tax-related material. I’ve also been taking this advanced Microsoft Excel class. My professor tells us on a daily basis that we will be using some of these learning lessons in our everyday accounting practices, so this class is preparing me even more for the workforce.

What would you say to those whose contributions funded your scholarship?

I appreciate your financial support and belief in me. I would want those who contributed to know that I am using the money for my tuition and fees. Every dollar that is given to me is being used to further my education. I also am going to apply and hopefully attend graduate school next year, and I really appreciate all the money being invested into my education.

Read more stories about the impact of giving on our students.