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Craig Reeser finds creative ways to support Illinois State

Man rolling up sleeve to display tattoo of Reggie Redbird on right shoulder.

Craig Reeser '75

When Craig Reeser turned 60, he thought it was time to check a couple things from a list of what he had been intending to do for years: get a tattoo and write a will. His loyalty to ISU was obvious as he did both.

Reeser ’75 had his doubts about getting a tattoo, but not what design to choose. He left a tattoo parlor with the image of Reggie on his right shoulder to reflect his fond student memories.

“It’s nice to belong to this family,” Reeser said of his Redbird connection. “It’s something I attach my loyalty to. Everyone who knows me knows I’m an alum.”

I’m proud that my legacy will expand opportunities for students at ISU.

Reeser’s love for ISU will certainly not be forgotten on campus. The political science and sociology major created the Craig W. Reeser Scholarship in the Social Sciences. He has been giving annually to that fund since its establishment in 2005.

“It’s been extremely rewarding to meet the students,” Reeser said. “I’ve been really impressed with the maturity level and sophistication level. It’s money well spent.”

This year’s Craig W. Reeser Scholarship recipient, Abigaelle Ngamboma, graduates in May with a political science degree and plans to attend graduate school. In a note to Reeser, Abigaelle wrote, “I am grateful for the part you have played in my journey at ISU. It was a great pleasure to meet you, and I hope to stay in contact on my future endeavors.”

As part of Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State, Reeser wanted to bolster his scholarship and cement his legacy at Illinois State. In creating his will, Reeser decided to leave the vast majority of his estate to the ISU Foundation, with half supporting the Weisbecker Scholarship Fund in athletics and half endowing the Craig W. Reeser Scholarship.

Always looking for additional opportunities to support ISU, Reeser recently took out a life insurance policy financed by his stock dividends and listed the ISU Foundation as the primary beneficiary.

Now his philanthropy is inspiring the next generation of Redbirds. Reeser recently received another letter from a past student recipient of his scholarship. The student shared how she remembered what Reeser had said about giving back, and pledged to give back herself.

The words inspire Reeser, who hopes more Redbirds will join in supporting Redbirds Rising.

“When I reflect on important experiences in my life, my connection to Illinois State stands out,” Reeser said. “I’m proud that my legacy will expand opportunities for students at ISU.”

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