An undergraduate degree is an automatic step for myriad high school students, who never question that they will walk from the commencement stage directly to a college campus.

Others have the same desire but lack the means. Their path is more uncertain and slowed by obstacles that are all too often tied to a family budget already strained without the additional cost of a college education.

Illinois State University President Timothy J. Flanagan understands the frustration and discouragement that comes when it seems a degree is beyond the realm of possibility. He shares a special bond with such students, given he was once in that same situation himself.

“I went to school on a needs-based scholarship,” Flanagan said, reflecting on his days as an undergraduate at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. “I certainly would not have earned a bachelor’s degree without the assistance received from the college.”

Flanagan’s college education was put in jeopardy at age 13 with the death of his father. His mother faced the challenge of raising Flanagan and his two siblings on Social Security benefits and a Navy pension.

“She went to work at a couple of jobs, but there was no extra money,” said Flanagan, who held various jobs himself while in college even with the scholarship support. He served as a resident assistant for two years, worked in a manufacturing plant, and changed mufflers at Kmart.

“I talk with students today who are working two or three jobs and I know exactly what they are going through. They are trying to not only get the degree, but avoid taking on a mountain of debt while doing it,” Flanagan said.

Having such a load as a young man would have hindered his ability to go on and complete a master’s and doctorate, which is why Flanagan understands that every dollar borrowed has an impact on decisions and opportunities following graduation. He is consequently a strong advocate of private support, appreciating those who invest in higher education, and specifically Illinois State.

Each academic year there are literally hundreds of examples of how Redbirds are empowered to pursue their passion because another individual invested in the University. Some share their story here to reinforce the fact that every donation—regardless of size—impacts a program or a person in a way that can never be envisioned.

Like Flanagan, each person who has benefited from another’s generosity has an attitude of gratitude.



The fiscal year that ended June 30 was notable with regard to the level of investment individuals made to the University. There were increases within a number of key groups, with high giving participation rates and increased generosity from alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Illinois State. Trends, breakthroughs, and important numbers shared here reveal a growing culture of philanthropy at the University. Thank you to all who provided their support, which makes it possible for ISU to continue providing a quality education for current and future generations.

Total fundraising

Nearly $15 million in new cash and commitments were received in the past fiscal year, making FY13 the third largest fundraising year in Illinois State history.

Alumni donors

Annual Fund hit an important milestone, breaking the 10,000 alumni donor mark just prior to fiscal year end.

4.9 percent
Increased donors

The overall number of donors to the University rose nearly 5 percent.

35 percent
Faculty/staff participation

Financial investments from faculty and staff reached a 35 percent participation rate, which is a 5 percent increase compared to last year.

10 percent
Senior Campaign participation

Members of the graduating class set a new record, as 10 percent participated in the Senior Giving Campaign.

67 percent
Direct mail donor increase

Annual Giving’s direct mail program saw a 67 percent donor increase, which resulted in a 98 percent increase in dollars generated by the program.

$2.2 million
Wills and estates

The University experienced a drop in accrued bequests in FY13. These are typically gifts made through the settlement of wills and/or estates.

$2.4 million
Giving disbursed to the University

In fiscal year 2013, $2.4 million dollars of the endowment was disbursed to support scholarships and the mission of the University.


The University benefits from individuals who give of their time as well as their finances. Members of the Foundation Board of Directors are especially instrumental in providing their expertise to solicit and secure funds. They also work to maximize each private investment.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that manages gifts to the University. These dollars support many student scholarships, professorships, research, and other opportunities for students of Illinois State.

Not only does the Foundation manage the portfolio investments of the University’s endowment, but it also is in charge of distributing dollars to fulfill the wishes of our loyal alumni and friends who support the University. The Foundation ensures that money given to Illinois State is used as the donor intended and is consistent with the mission of the University.

Ann Baughan, Chair; ’73, M.B.A. ’83

Larry Clore, Vice Chair; ’69, M.S. ’70

James Knecht, Secretary; ’68

Robert Rush, Treasurer; ’68, M.S. ’79

Greg Ayers ’90

Jay Bergman ’70

Kurt Bock

Dr. Kathryn Bohn ’74, M.S. ’80

David Brown

Marc Bulandr ’89, M.S. ’92

Eric Burwell ’90

Doug Collins’73

William England ’77

Timothy Flanagan

Gary Gemberling ’63

Nicola Harrison

Thomas Jacob

Robert Lakin ’73, M.B.A. ’77

Joseph Loss ’73

Donald McHenry ’57

Mary Lou Mercier

Erin Minné

James Mounier ’74

Jack North

Stanley Ommen ’63

Maureen Peel ’73

John Rigas ’81

Maya Shenoy ’73, M.S. ’78

Carl Sneed ’72, M.S. ’73

Beth Snyder ’07

Derek Vogler ’93, M.B.A. ’95

Mary Ann Webb ’78

Larry Williams ’77, M.S. ’79

Jeff Wood