Our donors, and the beneficiaries of their generosity, have stories to share.

Read their inspiring stories below:


A Lifetime of Saving Leads to Transformational Gift: Alex Wenner

Alex Wenner understood the power of legacy. Alex was not one to spend on material things. The longtime university librarian preferred to save his money and use it to honor his late mother. In 2001, he established an endowment to provide the Gisela Wenner Memorial Scholarship in the NIU School of Nursing. 

Giving From the Heart: Dave and Sherry LaCerra

Dave LaCerra’s devotion to NIU runs deep. When the 1986 grad and his wife, Sherry, created an estate plan naming the Northern Illinois University Foundation as their primary beneficiary, they were only formalizing what was already in their hearts. 

Winners Give Back: Bill and Dian Taylor

Forty-five years passed between the time Bill Taylor graduated from Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) and the afternoon he stood before a gymnasium filled with a new generation of bright-eyed grads at their commencement ceremony as their keynote speaker. 

Alumni Strengthen NIU Ties Through Scholarships

A pair of Northern Illinois University alumni who lived at the same time on opposite sides of Huskie Stadium—but never crossed paths—are proof that it’s never too late to forge strong ties that benefit the NIU community. 

Parents’ Values Inspire Family Legacy at NIU: Eunice Schwemm

It was the early 1920s when Eunice Schwemm ’23 enrolled at Northern Illinois State Normal School to earn a certificate in teaching. Warren G. Harding was president, and women had only recently won the right to vote. 

Putting Education in Reach: Don and Ann Charleston

Don, ’69 and Ann, ’67, MS ’81, Charleston believe in the fundamental right to education. “We pledge to NIU because no one should ever be denied an education due to a lack of money,” Don says.  

Sowing the Seeds for Perennial Impact: Carol Mulcay and Arlyn Waite

As NIU students in the 1950s, hometown sweethearts Carol Mulcay and Arlyn Waite enjoyed all that the college experience had to offer. Carol, who originally came to NIU to study what now is called early childhood education, had instead discovered her passion for accounting and was well on her way to becoming one of the first female graduates of the Department of Business Education.  

Investing in Others: Marjorie Meanger ’59

Marjorie Meanger, ’59, knows a good investment can pay dividends for life. As a devoted wife, mother, educator, and volunteer, she enjoys seeing her contributions making a difference for the people and communities she’s loved for the past 46 years.