Like many who have a long association with Eastern Illinois University, a number of areas within the institution have become particularly meaningful to Roger Beck. What sets this 24-year Department of History veteran apart, however, is the way he has chosen to show his support for those programs and departments.
"My wife, Ann, and I give to those programs that are an important part of our lives here in Charleston," says Beck, whose beneficiaries include Tarble Arts Center, the Eastern Symphony Orchestra, and the university's athletic programs. "We also have just started a scholarship for students to do a study abroad semester at Harlaxton Manor in England.
"Harlaxton is a program run by my alma mater, the University of Evansville. In my estate, I have also left money to establish a scholarship for students who want to study abroad in Africa, which is my field of history."
With over a third of his life and the entirety of his academic career spent at EIU, Beck says the university is obviously a huge part of his life. At the same time, he says individual areas and activities like his own department, Tarble and the library are what evoke the most powerful feelings.
"Places where I've spent a lot of time and that have been important to me," explains Beck. "Those are the areas where I want to donate. I use them. I want them to be even better than they are now!"
Beck also has strong feelings regarding the importance of increased staff and faculty involvement in Eastern's current capital campaign.
"Only a fifth of Eastern's budget now comes from the state," begins Beck. "If we want to maintain our standard of excellence, the funding is going to have to come from other sources. One of the most important other sources is donations. Of course, I don't expect faculty or staff to give six-figure donations, but it is important that when President Perry goes to ask external donors for a six- or seven-figure donation, he can say 50, 60 or 100 percent of the EIU faculty and staff has given to Eastern."
Just as Beck has grown fond of numerous aspects of the university, he firmly believes every staff and faculty member has developed a similar passion for his/her own areas of interest. Furthermore, he believes those passions are strong enough to merit at least a small donation on each person's behalf.
"The focus of our campaign is participation, not necessarily raising a certain dollar amount of donations," Beck elaborates. "We just want to change attitudes about giving here on campus and have people feel proud that they were able to give to something they feel is really important."
What's your EIU story?
Eastern gave a kid like me — a kid who woke up a little late — an opportunity.
Ted Gregory '81
Pulitzer Prize Winner