More than 20 years of teaching philosophy courses at Eastern Illinois University is the ultimate representation of Gary Aylesworth's commitment to this institution, but his own dutiful feelings toward EIU have pushed that commitment a step further.
"As a faculty, we can demonstrate our commitment to the university and to our students by participating in the current campaign," says Aylesworth, who arrived at Eastern in 1989 and chaired the Department of Philosophy from 1994 until 2003. "This commitment will also make EIU more appealing to those on the outside who may consider making contributions of their own."
Aylesworth established the Aethenaeum Philosophy Scholarship in 2006; it is Eastern's first scholarship awarded solely to philosophy majors. Since then, he has donated regularly to the scholarship's fund and believes gestures of this sort are increasingly vital to EIU's future.
"We have already seen the long-term benefits of private giving," explains Aylesworth, citing the programming at Doudna Fine Arts Center for an example. "As we all know, private fundraising will only become more important as state funding decreases. We cannot expect others to help us if we do not help ourselves."
To Aylesworth, giving is his responsibility and the responsibility of his peers. It's all part of a greater goal — to ensure the kind of greatness we have come to expect from this institution.
"I believe we are obligated to leave our university and its programs in better condition than we found them," says Aylesworth. "Any gesture toward that end, no matter how small, can make a big difference in the future. As a teacher and researcher, I have enjoyed the support and opportunities EIU has given me over the years. Now it's time to give a little back."
What's your EIU story?
Eastern has allowed me the freedom to do the research I want to do, and that in turn has allowed me to excel.
Vince Gutowski, Professor