Illinois State University raised more than $25.1 million in private support during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2021. It was the third highest private support total in university history.

“Illinois State’s ability to maintain momentum with our fundraising efforts in a challenging environment is a tribute to the quality of our programs and experiences and the generosity of our donors, alumni, and friends,” said University Advancement Vice President Pat Vickerman. “Such contributions allow us to prepare our students to launch meaningful careers and contribute positively to their communities. The support we receive from the ISU family is a strong vote of confidence in the University’s direction, and we are grateful for the more than 15,000 donors shaping the ISU experience for our students.”

Illinois State’s endowment, which the Illinois State University Foundation manages, has grown to more than $195.2 million. More than $17.4 million in cash was received during the fiscal year, and future funding from bequests and deferred gift commitments has reached more than $99 million.

Supporters rallied behind Illinois State during the coronavirus pandemic, collectively bolstering the University’s emergency scholarship funds. More than $200,000 was raised to strengthen the Red and White Fund, which provides emergency assistance for students facing unexpected financial obstacles. A total of $455,660 was awarded to students during the spring 2020 semester.  

Scholarship support remained a critical component of students’ success. A total of 3,028 scholarships were awarded and 75 new scholarships were created.

Trejuan Hicks ’21

One scholarship recipient, Trejuan Hicks ’21, was rewarded for his resiliency when he received the Willie Brown Endowed Scholarship during his senior year. In 2004, Hicks’ family was among those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They relocated from New Orleans to a low-income neighborhood in Chicago. Hicks is using his finance degree to pursue a career in the mortgage industry. He is currently a loan analyst at Consolidated Analytics in Orange County, CA. He plans to pay forward the support, for which he’s grateful. “I will keep going and one day be in a position to give back to those deserving of the opportunity like my scholarship has done for me,” he said.

Private funds enhanced scholarship and research across the University. Three professors from the Wonsook Kim School of Art were awarded named professorships in honor of art faculty who influenced alumna Wonsook Kim’s artistic journey. Kim and her husband, Thomas Clement, endowed the named professorships as part of a $12 million gift commitment to Illinois State in 2019.

The State Farm Endowed Chair of Cybersecurity was awarded to Dr. Shaoen Wu. The prestigious chair was established by State Farm Insurance Companies as part of a $3 million investment committed in 2016. Newly renovated cybersecurity classrooms in Julian Hall now offer students access to top-notch technology.

“Financial gifts from donors, alumni, and friends have helped Illinois State grow and thrive, even during the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said President Terri Goss Kinzy. “Named professorships and an endowed chair position are just some of the results of that powerful culture of philanthropy. Generous support for teaching and research means that Illinois State offers its students a premier academic experience with individualized attention. As we look to the future, that ongoing financial support is taking Illinois State to new and greater heights.” 

Additional fundraising highlights:

  • A $500,000 gift from Barbara Efaw ’59 and family will fund the College of Education’s new student success center, the Barbara and Larry Efaw Center for Educator Excellence. The center is scheduled to open spring semester 2022 and will be housed in Degarmo Hall.
  • During Birds Give Back on February 25, 2021 more than 3,000 Redbirds contributed more than $1 million, making it Illinois State’s most impactful giving day ever. During Redbird Philanthropy Week, nearly 1,000 students completed the first-ever virtual Redbird Philanthropy Quest to learn about how donors enhance the Redbird experience.
  • Gifts to the new Multicultural Center will further the center’s ability to foster an affirming campus environment; amplify the experiences of historically marginalized communities; and facilitate anti-racism, equity, and justice programming.
  • Bill ’66 and Sue Hallinan ’68 gifted $100,000 to the Hallinan Fund for the College of Business. The fund supports new and existing priorities within the college. The couple also gave $500,000 in 2018 to Illinois State University’s Redbird Career Portfolio.
  • A gift totaling more than $1 million from the estate of Gladys G. Shulaw created the Dale M. Shulaw and Gladys G. Shulaw Presidential Scholarship in Physics. Recipients of the presidential scholarship will receive $10,000 per year, renewable for four years.
  • A major gift from Eric and Maria Boerngen launched the Eric and Maria Boerngen Softball Heart of Service Endowment to provide scholarships for softball student-athletes. Eric is a campus outreach coordinator and Maria is an associate professor of agriculture. They became close to the Redbird softball program through the team’s community service initiatives.
  • Donor support expanded the Horticulture Center, enhancing the gardens to benefit community and student education.
  • A $1.4 million gift from the estate of James Ronald Beales ’54, M.S. ’59, will support the programs, services, and initiatives of Illinois State University’s Alumni Engagement department. In recognition of Ron and Mary Beales’ generosity, the Alumni Engagement offices in the Alumni Center were renamed the Ron and Mary Kathleen Beales Alumni Engagement Suite.