STATE your Passion: It’s no secret that students, faculty, and staff at Illinois State University state their passion every day. What might not be as obvious is that Redbird donors can state their passion, too. The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) is grateful for the generous donors that give back its education programs.

The Family and Consumer Sciences Recruitment and Retention Endowed Scholarship was established by Professor Emerita Charlotte E. Talkington ’61, M.S.E. ’66, in August 2014. Not only did Talkington graduate from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in home economics (now family and consumer sciences), but she returned and joined the faculty of Illinois State in 1968. To this day, Talkington is known as someone who has dedicated her life to teaching and extracurricular activities, both on campus and within Central Illinois.

Tell us about your relationship with Illinois State University. How did it begin and what is it like today?

My first relationship began as an undergraduate. The second was serving as a faculty member from 1968 to 1994. My relationship with ISU is more fun today. There are no papers to grade, and I am able to mentor my two scholarship winners, grow coleus for the Horticulture Center, work with the Foundation through the Family and Consumer Sciences Professionals of McLean County Endowed Scholarship, and attend university activities.

Can you tell us about how the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Recruitment and Retention Endowment Scholarship began?

The idea was in my mind for a long time but came into being when talking with the FCS department chair. In a brief conversation at a meeting, she said to me, “We don’t have a recruitment and retention scholarship in place.” And I said, “You will have one.”

What is your favorite memory from when you were a student? What about when you were a faculty member?

As a student, it was living in the residence hall, making new friends, living off campus, and preparing our meals on a very limited budget. As a faculty member, working with student teachers and watching them grow and become involved in professional organizations and driving all over the state to conduct 60 workshops for teachers to introduce them to new Home Economics curriculum. The name of the discipline was changed to Family and Consumer Sciences later.

What is it about the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences that inspires you to donate?

My entire bachelor’s degree was supported by state teacher scholarships. I could not have attended school without these scholarships. My freshman year fees were $16, and the dorm fee was $320 per semester. Today, a bachelor’s degree is far more expensive, and I wanted to help promote my discipline through scholarships.

How do you hope the endowment fund impacts the lives of those students within the College of Applied Science and Technology that will earn it?

I hope it encourages them to know that someone cares enough to support them to become a teacher.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

My career as a home economist (the name was changed the year I retired), has been extremely fulfilling. I have faith that the scholarship recipients I currently know and those that receive the scholarships in the future that I will not have the privilege of knowing will find personal and profession satisfaction because they were an FCS major.

Interested in giving back and stating your passion? Contact Katelyn Jacobs, director of development for the College of Applied Science and Technology, at (309) 438-3134 or