Daughter’s Legacy Lives on Through Enduring EIU Bonds
Ken and Sue Blumberg are, above all, parents. Their daughter, Amy, was thoughtful, energetic, and friendly—all qualities that Ken and Sue helped to cultivate in her as she continued to blossom into adulthood. Ken and Sue, on a recent visit to Eastern Illinois University, shared just how unbelievably proud they were of the woman Amy was becoming during her time on campus.
“EIU taught Amy a lot about responsibility, which gave her even more opportunities to learn and flourish away from home. Sue explained, “She loved EIU and really grew so much, academically and personally, while she was here. Change and growth — Amy’s experience at EIU taught her to appreciate life at an entirely different level. She gained a greater appreciation for home and was eager and excited about new experiences and the possibilities and opportunities ahead.”
“She was a member of Sigma Kappa and that was an important part of her college experience,” Ken added thoughtfully. “Her sorority sisters were wonderful and we’ve kept in contact with some of them over the years. It’s been rewarding for us to watch them grow into their own careers and families. It’s those connections, those relationships, that have really helped us celebrate and honor her life and why we’re so happy and proud her name will live on through the scholarships at EIU that have been established in her memory.”
In the fall of 1999, Amy was a 20-year-old junior Family and Consumer Sciences major, having just switched her major from Elementary Education. At the end of the fall semester, she returned home to Collinsville, Illinois for the holidays, working at her uncle’s store in nearby O’Fallon to earn extra money for school. Sadly, when she left for work on New Year’s Eve day, Amy never made it back home.
An investigation and subsequent trial led to the eventual arrest and conviction of Amy’s killer. During the trial, the prosecutors laid out evidence suggesting Amy was a casualty of circumstance—the unfortunate victim of a random murder. Having been through every parent’s worst nightmare, Ken and Sue channeled their sadness, fear and anger into something more beneficial—and more in tune with Amy’s spirit.
“Creating a scholarship was a meaningful way to honor her name and memory as well as to incentivize and encourage other students to continue their education, prepare for their future, and to enjoy the college experience. The gift of education is one of the best gifts one can give,” Sue shared.
To that end, Ken and Sue established the Blumberg Award—an endowment with the EIU Foundation administered through EIU’s Office of Enrollment Management. The award benefits a graduate of Collinsville High school, where Amy graduated from prior to enrolling at Eastern. Collinsville High School, like many high schools in that area of the state, frequently sees its graduates move on to EIU.
A second scholarship, the Amy Blumberg Memorial Scholarship, was created for members of EIU’s Gamma Mu Chapter of Sigma Kappa sorority.
The Blumbergs say, for them, the real value of giving to EIU is that by helping students achieve their educational goals, they are providing a path toward a personally positive and professionally rewarding career.
“In some small way, we hope that the opportunities we help provide EIU students with great memories, such as those Amy created for herself here at Eastern, and will become part of a larger legacy to do good in the world and to embrace the future with positivity and hope,” Ken said.
Sue continued, “Amy’s tragic death was a life lesson for her friends and family. It reinforced the importance of cherishing those close to you, appreciating life, even with its ups and downs, and looking for the good—we can find it even in the worst of all possible situations.”
“The establishment of the scholarships is inspiring to us, and Amy would be proud to know her legacy will endure among her sorority sisters and so many other students at Eastern Illinois University,” Ken added.
Amy’s love for EIU was certainly extraordinary. Today, her family’s ongoing commitment to EIU serves as a humble but powerful tribute to Amy’s life and to the energy and enthusiasm her spirit and memory continue to bring to EIU and to the EIU Foundation.