Tom Beyer ’86 has a unique connection to the Roy and Dorothy Hostettler Scholarship, established in 2007 through a gift from the estate of Beyer’s uncle Roy.

Roy and Dorothy, known as “Dot,” grew up in the small town of Olney. They met as children, attended high school together, and eventually married. Roy received his undergraduate degree in education at Illinois State Normal University (ISNU) in 1941 and a master’s in educational administration in 1947. Dorothy earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1940 and a master’s at ISNU in 1958. Both worked at Bloomington High School, where Roy was a guidance counselor for 48 years while Dorothy taught English and theatre.

The two could not have been more different. Dot was energetic and dynamic while Roy was gentle and soft-spoken, yet both were passionate and influential educators. “They absolutely loved being around kids and being in that (school) environment,” said Beyer, who, like his aunt and uncle, is an educator and Illinois State alum.

Tom Beyer, graduation day 1986

“Growing up, I didn’t think about doing anything else. I just saw how much Roy and Dorothy loved being teachers,” Beyer said. “On both sides of my family, there is a long history of ISU. I didn’t think of going anywhere else.”

A special education teacher for 34 years, Beyer felt prepared for his career upon graduation. “If you’re going to college to become an educator, ISU is the place to go. I feel so proud to be a graduate. This many years later, I still can’t say enough things about how well the school prepared me.”

Following his mother’s death in 2019, Beyer became the primary contact for his relative’s scholarship. He wasn’t aware of the connection until he received recipient thank-you letters in October of 2019. Upon receiving the letters, Tom thought to himself if there was a way to reach out to or respond to the scholarship recipients to add a personal touch in addition to recognizing them solely through the scholarship.

Melanie Boberg, a sophomore elementary education major, received the Roy and Dorothy Hostettler Scholarship in 2021. Like many in the Hostettler family, Boberg has always loved kids and has always wanted to teach. Receiving the scholarship reassured Boberg that she was making the right decision. “I’ve never doubted that I want to be a teacher,” she said. “It just added that encouragement to me to know that I’m on the right path.”

Boberg also received a note from Beyer, who still treasures notes he received throughout his career. “As an educator, you will look back on your years at Illinois State and realize what an amazing education you received and how well prepared you were,” Beyer wrote. “Best wishes and congratulations again as you embark upon your career!”

The note was unexpected and comforting. “Getting Tom’s letter back was really cool to me because it acknowledges to me that I’m not just a number at this school,” said Boberg, who is grateful to Roy and Dot.            

“I thank (Roy and Dorothy) so much for their support. I congratulate them for being able to do this,” Boberg said, noting their story is inspiring. “In a way, their path led to mine. I really appreciate them and their family.”

Private support is integral to Redbird success. To learn more about how you can support current education students by establishing a scholarship contact Wilma Bates, director of development for the College of Education and Lab Schools, at or (309) 438-4304.