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Donor Stories

Donor Stories

Learn how others have made an impact through their acts of giving to our organization and others.

  • Finding Joy in Giving Back
    Finding Joy in Giving Back
    Carol Willis '68 never got to be the star player. She never even got to be on the team. Growing up in a time when opportunities for girls to participate in high school athletics were somewhere between scarce and nonexistent, Carol had to watch...
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  • Shaping the Next Generation
    Shaping the Next Generation

    As Jack '70 and Ellie (Hancock) King '71 prepare for milestone class reunions—Jack will celebrate his 50th this year; Ellie will mark hers next year—the memories come flooding back.

    Good friends. Influential professors. Campus events. And, of course, meeting each other.


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  • Giving Back for Generations of Affinity for IWU
    Giving Back for Generations of Affinity for IWU
    When visiting family in St. Louis, Tom '70 and Marilyn (Thies) Neis '71 would pack up the family car and make the journey down Interstate 55 from their suburban Chicago home. Tom and Marilyn's alma mater of Illinois Wesleyan provided...
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  • Gift Continues Couple's Advocacy for Peace and Justice
    Gift Continues Couple's Advocacy for Peace and Justice

    Robert and Marilyn (Degler) McClean '55 have dedicated their lives to advocating for peace and justice issues.

    Through a planned estate gift...


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  • A Legacy Unlike Any Other
    A Legacy Unlike Any Other

    Ask Vic '68 and Margie (Carrigan) Lisciani '69 about their time at Illinois Wesleyan and the memories come flooding out.

    Friends made. Classes taken. Events attended.

    So many memories they...


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  • Strengthening the Foundation for Students' Futures
    Strengthening the Foundation for Students' Futures

    Pat Armstrong '70 credits her Illinois Wesleyan experience for preparing her for a successful career and lifelong appreciation of the arts. The breadth and depth of the learning she did while on campus provided the foundation for...


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  • A Strong Foundation for the Next Generation
    A Strong Foundation for the Next Generation

    Illinois Wesleyan University provided a transformative experience to help launch a career in nursing for Suzanne Vertuno '70.

    Now she wants a new generation of students to have...


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  • Creating Lands of Opportunity
    Creating Lands of Opportunity

    Some 164 years ago, a local family sold land to Illinois Wesleyan University. The east gates welcoming students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus will soon be named in their honor.


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  • Representing Illinois Wesleyan Abroad
    Representing Illinois Wesleyan Abroad

    Sean O'Carroll '18 will represent Illinois Wesleyan University as a J. William Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia next year.

    O'Carroll will leave for Malaysia in...


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  • Setting Up Students for Success After IWU
    Setting Up Students for Success After IWU

    Cathy Carswell '65 considered many options when directing a gift to Illinois Wesleyan left by her late husband. But after learning of the newly launched Career Immersion Excursion program, she didn't need to hear any more.


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  • A Cause to Be Passionate About
    A Cause to Be Passionate About

    Norb and Linda Gross understand the need for The Parent Fund perhaps better than anyone.

    When Norb's father passed away one week after his high school graduation—and six years after his mother's death—Norb found himself on his own three months before enrolling in college.


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  • A Way to Be Remembered
    A Way to Be Remembered

    The most fitting tribute to a lifelong educator, friends of Glen Newton '56 decided, was to provide the gift of education to young, deserving students who needed a little help.

    The Glen and Shirley Newton Scholarship was...


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  • First-Generation Grad Gives Back to Illinois Wesleyan as Expression of Gratitude
    First-Generation Grad Gives Back to Illinois Wesleyan as Expression of Gratitude
    From a single-parent household in a small, historic Swedish community of Bishop Hill, Illinois, Greg Dowell '81 was the first in his family to attend a four-year college. He was looking for a strong community where...
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  • Hutson '24 Carries Father's Titan Legacy
    Hutson '24 Carries Father's Titan Legacy

    First-year biology major Evan Hutson '24 is following in the footsteps of his father, Chad Hutson '95, as an Illinois Wesleyan University student.

    "From observing his actions for the last 18 years, I see what kind of people IWU admits: kind, generous and...


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  • Doing Her Part: In WWII and for IWU
    Doing Her Part: In WWII and for IWU
    The Rodgers-Shepard family legacy at Illinois Wesleyan University has spanned four generations. Because the late Myra Shepard chose to leave provisions in her estate for students at Illinois Wesleyan, this legacy ...
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  • A Win-Win Way to Give
    A Win-Win Way to Give

    In a recent communication with Illinois Wesleyan University's Advancement Office, Carl Behr '47 scribbled a note in the corner of his written response:

    " How much is that annuity up to?" he asked.


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  • Lifetime Giver Encourages Others to Find Ways to Donate
    Lifetime Giver Encourages Others to Find Ways to Donate

    Illinois Wesleyan alumnus Charles Kulier and wife Beatrice have a strong charitable giving philosophy, donating substantial amounts to their church and alma maters.

    "The more we give away, the more God seems...


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  • Seeding Entrepreneurship at IWU
    Seeding Entrepreneurship at IWU

    Dave Petrick '67 describes himself as a "product guy," and that's understandable. His company, Bretford Manufacturing, produces thousands of technology furniture products for schools and business.


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  • Extending the Gratitude So Others Benefit From the IWU Experience
    Extending the Gratitude So Others Benefit From the IWU Experience

    Doctors Roger and Carol Sheldon have deep regard for Illinois Wesleyan University for many reasons-the academic preparation they had to succeed as physicians, the relationships they formed with professors and classmates, and the financial assistance they received to make the IWU experience possible.


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  • Betty Ritchie-Birrer's Generosity Makes Study Abroad Possible for Students
    Betty Ritchie-Birrer's Generosity Makes Study Abroad Possible for Students

    Thankful for the impact Illinois Wesleyan had on her life, Betty Ritchie-Birrer has made several significant gifts to Illinois Wesleyan. One of those gifts makes it possible for students to take their thirst for knowledge and wisdom far beyond the borders of campus.


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  • Generations of Giving Back to IWU
    Generations of Giving Back to IWU

    Bob Field '67 has a long family connection to Illinois Wesleyan University that spreads over three generations, including his mother, an uncle and two of Bob and wife Jenny's three daughters.

    Bob and Jenny met during their primary school years at church and began dating during college while Bob was at IWU.


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  • Remembering Illinois Wesleyan
    Remembering Illinois Wesleyan

    This year marks the 60th anniversary of Bob Lewis' graduation from Illinois Wesleyan, and it also marks 60 years since Bob's first gift to IWU.

    Remarkably, Bob has made a gift to IWU every year since his graduation on June 3, 1956. It's a habit he developed for a simple reason.


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  • Jarvis Makes Leadership Gift to School of Nursing Campaign
    Jarvis Makes Leadership Gift to School of Nursing Campaign

    Thanks to a generous leadership gift by nursing professor Carolyn Jarvis and support from the entire faculty and staff of the School of Nursing, the $2.2 million Redesigning the Future campaign was successfully launched at the Homecoming nursing breakfast.


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  • Investing in Quality Education
    Investing in Quality Education

    Bob and Diane Thorstenson have included Illinois Wesleyan in their estate plans for one simple reason: They believe in the University's mission and principles.

    Diane, a 1957 graduate, says the University's faculty-student ratio means...


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  • The Power of 160 Acres of Farmland
    The Power of 160 Acres of Farmland

    In July, 1853, Kersey Fell-brother of Jesse Fell, a founder of Illinois Wesleyan University- bought 160 acres of land four miles South and four miles East of Anchor, Ill. This was typical high-quality farmland that would yield abundant crops of


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  • Samuels Scholarship Changes Lives at IWU
    Samuels Scholarship Changes Lives at IWU

    Few gifts offer greater satisfaction than a gift to establish a scholarship. Carl and Brucy Mae Samuels were able to experience that satisfaction firsthand. Although neither attended Illinois Wesleyan, in 1986 the couple established


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