The oldest son of a former Eastern Illinois University president has donated $250,000 to fund EIU scholarships in his parents’ names.
The substantial gift from John Buzzard of Greenville, N.C., will benefit students through the Robert G. Buzzard Presidential Memorial Scholarship and the Irene Couchman Buzzard Scholarship.
“Charleston was their life, and Eastern Illinois University was certainly their life,” Buzzard said. “I have strong feelings for the university and the community. As I get older, I appreciate more and more what they’ve done for me.”
The family’s involvement with Eastern actually began with Mrs. Buzzard, who graduated from a two-year course at Eastern Illinois State Normal School in 1916. Years later, when John Buzzard was in seventh grade, the family moved to Charleston when his father became president of the university. The children enrolled in the Eastern’s model school.
“It was a very good education and a wonderful community to be raised in,” Buzzard said. “It holds very, very fond memories for all of us.”
Buzzard, who remembers the hardships people faced during the Depression, said he feels fortunate to be able to provide a gift that honors his parents while also helping EIU students to afford an education.
“Unfortunately, there are still some who need some help, and this is a way Mother and Dad would have approved of,” Buzzard said. “It was my privilege to be able to leave a contribution.”
Robert Guy Buzzard served as Eastern’s president from 1933 to 1956, when the new lab school was named Robert G. Buzzard Laboratory School. It is now known as Buzzard Hall.
The Robert G. Buzzard Presidential Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in teacher education. The recipient must demonstrate potential for scholarship, leadership and service within the field of education.
The Irene Couchman Buzzard Scholarship is given annually to a full-time art major. Preference is given to students demonstrating excellence in crafts (ceramics, metalsmithing and weaving areas within the College of Arts and Humanities).