Ken ’73 and Debbie (Hypke) Glover ’73 fondly remember their days as students cheering on men’s basketball and attending music concerts in a filled-to-capacity Horton Fieldhouse. Today as alumni, they feel a new kind of excitement for their alma mater, serving as co-chairs for Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State.
The Glovers’ leadership and support of the campaign is a result of their recognition for the impact ISU has had on them. Ken described a “passion” they feel for the University, while Debbie shared that ISU “is what jump-started and enabled our lives and career to be so good over the years.” They feel giving back in service and generous support through Redbirds Rising is a natural thing to do.
Debbie earned a degree in elementary education and taught fourth grade before leaving teaching to raise their three children. Ken majored in business administration and had a successful 35-year career at ExxonMobil as a senior executive—a career that took the family around the world, including a four-year assignment in Belgium. They are now retired and enjoying life and family in Houston.
As long-time philanthropic supporters of Illinois State, the Glovers gave what they could and increased their commitments over time as resources allowed. After seeing how effectively their gifts were used over the years, they chose to increase their support and created The Kenneth T. Sr. and Deborah A. Glover Endowed Scholarship in the College of Business to assist academically talented students pursuing a degree in a business-related field.
According to Ken, who served on the College of Business Advisory board for several years and is now the Vice Chairman of the ISU Foundation, creating a scholarship was a natural step for the couple. “As alumni, we feel an attachment to the University. We know and trust the University’s leadership and its organization and therefore, have stayed involved. If you feel a part of something, you want to help that much more.”
The Glovers both grew up in DePue and came from modest backgrounds. For Debbie, one of four children, scholarship assistance was pivotal when she transferred to Illinois State. “I was fortunate to receive a scholarship for my two years at ISU that paid for everything but books and housing. I was always grateful for that and to be able to pay it forward makes me feel really good.”
Particularly meaningful for the Glovers is meeting the students who have received their scholarships. “You can hear their appreciation in their voices and see it in their faces. When we talk to the students, we are absolutely convinced our money is going to the right place,” Ken and Debbie shared.
Debbie added, “A couple of years ago we met all of the recipients at once. We were all sitting around the table together and it felt like family in a sense. They were all comparing notes and talking to each other. It was special.”
Between pledges and a planned estate gift, the Glovers have generously committed over half a million dollars to the campaign in addition to their already sizeable scholarship fund. They are confident their dollars will make a difference and feel they are making an investment in the future.
“When you look at these kids, you see they’re knocking it down. Not only do they have great GPAs, but they also find time to be active on campus and in the community. There’s no doubt they’re going to contribute to society and go on to do great things. One day they will possibly give back to ISU,” Ken concluded.
For a full list of national campaign committee members, visit: RedbirdsRising.IllinoisState.edu/volunteers.