Serving with Integrity: local company’s endowed scholarships promote community service
When Harlan Geiser founded Integrity Technology Solutions in 1993, the company was a small, privately owned startup. As time went on, the company’s core values of integrity, relationship building, and community which Geiser instilled lead to Integrity’s metamorphosis into a multi-million dollar trusted partner for businesses and organizations throughout Illinois.
Mary Bennett-Henrichs, current president and CEO of Integrity, worked alongside Geiser for twenty years. She is both a witness and a catalyst to Integrity’s evolution as a company. In addition to serving clients, Henrichs and the rest of the Integrity team were inspired by Geiser to contribute their time and talents in service of others. This included supporting the community through regular financial giving.
To honor the company’s 20th anniversary and Geiser’s irrefutable dedication to the betterment of the community, Henrichs helped establish the Integrity Technology Solutions Endowed Scholarship with a $25,000 gift to Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State in 2013. Scholarship applicants must demonstrate academic excellence in the School of Information Technology and share Integrity’s core values through active engagement in community service. The scholarship awards one student $2,500 a year up to four years as long as the student maintains minimum GPA of 3.5.
“Harlan and I both felt very strongly that we have a responsibility to make a difference in our community,” Henrichs said. “We’ve worked with Illinois State on many efforts, and recognized the University as a great community partner with a large impact on the development of Bloomington-Normal. We here at Integrity thought this scholarship would be a great way of honoring Harlan and our relationship to Illinois State in a lasting and permanent manner.”
Illinois State senior and computer science major Abe Ramseyer was awarded the Integrity Technology Solutions Endowed scholarship the fall of 2015. Ramseyer has participated in many community service initiatives. Those include helping to repair sections of a trail in Camp Wokanda for an Eagle Scout project, spending summers going on mission trips to places like Magdalena, Mexico, and running a service project to benefit his hometown of Chillicothe.
“Being awarded this scholarship feels like one big ‘thank you’ from Integrity for the volunteering students do,” Ramseyer said. “While volunteering is always done without an expectation of reward, it’s nice to know someone’s paying attention and is encouraging others to continue to serve.”
Ramseyer also had the opportunity to take on a brief internship with Integrity. There, he met some of the Integrity staff and gained valuable insights into the present trends in IT. Ramseyer learned some of the basics of navigating the professional world and received hands-on experience by visiting clients with staff and working with them on calls. Ramseyer says that the knowledge and skills gained from his experience will transfer aptly to his future position with Creative Sites Media, Inc.
While working as an intern with Integrity, Ramseyer met Henrichs and was impressed by her humility, relatability, and dedication to bettering a student such as himself.
“Mary was simply wonderful,” Ramseyer said. “I felt like she was part of the team, the same as anyone else I was working with. Knowing she would spend the time and resources of her company to invest in the wellbeing of students says a lot about her values and the direction of Integrity.”
Even after his retirement, Geiser’s vision for Integrity to better the community is being dutifully looked after by Henrichs and the rest of the team. In fact, Integrity has just recently pledged $25,000 to Redbirds Rising to endow another scholarship for cybersecurity students engaged in the betterment of the community with The Integrity Technology Solutions Cybersecurity Scholarship Fund. It’s safe to say Geiser’s legacy of giving back will live on in perpetuity through both of Integrity’s endowed scholarships, which will make professional and financial impacts on the lives of students like Ramseyer for years to come.
“I’m so proud of the students that Illinois State recruits and educates,” Henrichs said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to help students achieve their goals, to be a small part of their larger success story.”