IT’S A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. THEY ARE THE PERFECT PAIR! We witnessed a blessed marriage in FY21, when the NIU Alumni Association and the NIU Foundation merged in July, bringing together countless resources and talent for the betterment of both organizations. This merger allowed both operations to continue the important work they had already been doing while streamlining efficiency and eliminating redundancies in a classic “win-win.” “This merger has provided greater strength, collaboration and flexibility as we tackle the challenges ahead,” said Executive Director of Operations and Alumni Engagement Reggie Bustinza. “This merger was more than a year in the making and was recommended by a task force comprised of both NIU Foundation and Alumni Association Board members. It creates a host of efficiencies and allows us to simplify operations.”
This partnership just makes sense. The association and foundation have been less formally working in tandem for years, under the umbrella of the Division of University Advancement, with a mission and vision that go hand-in-hand. This can be seen in the foundation’s solid performance during such an unprecedented year, having raised $15.4 million, which provided 2,356 scholarships, as well as funding for research, operations and new initiatives at the University. The team made a quick pivot during the early days of the pandemic and raised over $78K for the newly created Student Emergency Fund, which helps students who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of this merger has remained undetected to alumni and donors, as dayto-day operations have not been altered drastically. In fact, teamwork does make the dream work, and at the NIU Foundation, our dream is working, growing and thriving!
TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Board and Committee Members
14-17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Impact Stories
2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Letter from NIU Foundation Leadership Catherine Squires and Mike Cullen
18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Events
3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Letter from NIU Alumni Association Leadership Reggie Bustinza and Joe Sener
20-21 . . . . . . . . . . . . Communications
4-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alumni Breakdown Numbers 6-7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donor Breakdown Numbers 8-9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Data and Endowment Performance Financials 10-11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Days of Giving Recap 12-13. . . . . . . . . . . . . Distinguished Donor Societies
19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Travel 22-23 . . . . . . . . . . . . Volunteer Engagement 24-25 . . . . . . . . . . . . Affinity Groups 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NIU Alumni Association Campus Partners 27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mission
BOARD MEMBERS 2020-2021 NIU FOUNDATION BOARD OFFICERS AND LEADERSHIP
MICHAEL CULLEN ’84, ’87 Chair
CHRIS COLE ’75 Vice Chair
JOHN (JACK) TIERNEY ’75, M.S.Ed. ’78 Treasurer
CATHERINE B. SQUIRES CFRE ’80
MELISSA NIGRO Secretary
President and CEO
2020-2021 NIU FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Sophia Arnold, Student Director Ray Banks M.S. ’86 Stacey Barsema William Boston ’70, M.B.A. ’71 Brent Brodeski ’88, M.B.A. ’91
Wheeler Coleman ’83 Carol Crenshaw ’78 Cynthia Crocker ’80 Rich Escalante ’74, M.A.P.A. ’78 John Thomas Futrell M.B.A. ’79
Peter Garrity ’71, M.B.A. ’76 Kenneth Greisman ’82 David Heide ’85 Anthony Kambich ’59 Jeffrey Liesendahl ’87
Cherilyn Murer J.D. ’78 James Pick, M.S.Ed. ’69 Manny Sanchez ’70 Joseph Sener ’93, M.S. ’10 Isabelle Vondra, Student Director
2020-2021 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
JOSEPH SENER ’93 M.S. ’10 President
PETER GARRITY ’71 M.B.A ’76
Immediate Past President
RICHARD ESCALANTE ’74
SANKAT PATEL ’00 Vice President
MICHAEL HUGHES ’92 M.A. ’93 Treasurer
2020-2021 NEW BOARD MEMBERS
KRISTIN HAMBLOCK ’08, M.B.A. ’15
MARLON HAYWOOD ’10, M.S.Ed. ’12
WILLIAM MCCOY ’92
PEGGY NORTON-ROSKO ’87
JOHN TSARAS ’14
2020-2021 NIUAA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Marlo Barnett M.S.Ed. ’12, Ph.D. ’17 Kimberly Buchanan ’95, M.A. ‘98 Michael Cahill ’12, M.A.S. ‘13 Chad Fitz ’01, M.A.S. ’02 Carlos Fulcher ’90 Paul Green ‘81
Patricia Gregolunas ’77, M.S. ’11 Marlon Haywood ’10, M.S.Ed. ’12 Donald Hubbartt ’96, M.B.A. ’01 Marty Johnstone ’09 Thomas Libert ’74 William McCoy ’92
Kimberly Moore ’01, M.M. ’04 Vinay Mullick ’00 Peggy Norton-Rosko ’87 Mark Pienkos ’72, M.S.Ed. ‘74 Sherry Reynolds-Whitaker M.B.A. ’09, M.S.Ed. ’13, Ed.D. ’16
Valerie L. Salmons ’74, M.S. ’77 Joe Sosnowski ’99 Karla Vilchez-Neal M.S.Ed. ‘17 Fred Vinciguerra ’88
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT AND BOARD CHAIR During FY21, our University weathered yet another year of uncertainty, challenge and change. We stood strong, and we didn’t do it alone. This past year, we experienced the profound impact of generosity as our donors helped keep NIU moving forward in support of our talented, hardworking students. Throughout FY21, alumni and donors came together to help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility that empowers students, faculty and staff to make the world a better place. Total fundraising activity reached $15.4 million. As you read this report, we trust you will be as moved as we were by the incredible love and support Huskies have for NIU. You’ll read about the Huskies United day of giving which brought in more than $1 million for NIU students as well as the tremendous outpouring of support that made our Thousands Strong day of giving a success to the tune of $2 million. As our hardworking, grateful students continue to be at the heart of all that we do, we are grateful to donors who made it possible for us to award 2,356 scholarships totaling $2.8 million this past year, making college more accessible to our students who continue to dream big and work hard. As a Foundation, we are poised to continue to build on this success and embrace the ever-evolving future of the University and the communities we serve. Our recent merger with the NIU Alumni Association has allowed us to build on the ever-growing partnership we’ve fostered over the years.
LETTER FROM NIU FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP
The pages that follow chronicle the many great things we’ve achieved together. These achievements illustrate the impact that philanthropy has on all of us—making a difference in the lives of students so they can do the same for generations to come. In an unpredictable world, philanthropy is a sign of trust, faith, and compassion. Philanthropy changes lives and paves the way for an even brighter future. We are thankful for all of our alumni and donors who stepped up during these challenging times and have given so generously to in support of the University they love. With your continued support, we believe the future for NIU is bright indeed, because there is no limit to what we can achieve together.
Catherine B. Squires, CFRE, NIU ’80 President & CEO, NIU Foundation Vice President, University Advancement
Michael Cullen ’84, ’87 Chair, NIU Foundation Board of Directors
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND BOARD PRESIDENT Dear Huskies, Many of us have heard the famous Winston Churchill quote— “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”—which urges us not to lose hope during the tough times and not to quit until we are through the worst. The last year has been a difficult one for so many around the world, with a global pandemic that kept us distanced and uncertain. It has been staggering to see how we humans have had to adapt and learn in all areas of our society— education, healthcare, business, and so much more—to make it to the other side of these tough times. But today, as we look back at FY21, there is the overwhelming feeling that we have done just that. We persisted, pivoted, and plotted the course for the future, all with a sense of hope of what would come next. Events and volunteer opportunities became largely online ventures, and to our surprise, they attracted both our most loyal alumni and many new faces to the mix. We began to look at creative ways to connect and interact, introducing fun new series and opportunities. As always, consistent, clear communication continued to keep us together. Now, with a sense of pride, we can review and measure all that was accomplished, and there was so much!
We at the NIU Alumni Association have never been more certain about one thing—Huskies have been made stronger in FY21, by standing with one another, helping each other, and remaining a constant community, even when the concept of “community” became a largely virtual one. And yet, the power of Huskies has never had more of an impact. Together, we are stronger still, moving forward together, always. Go Huskies!
Reggie Bustinza Executive Director, NIU Foundation Operations and Alumni Engagement
Joseph Sener ’93, M.S. ’10 President, NIU Alumni Association Board of Directors
LETTER FROM NIU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP
ALUMNI AT A GLANCE ALUMNI BY AGE: TOTAL NUMBER OF ALUMNI:
22-29: 30-39: 40-49: 50-59: 60-69: 70-79: 80-89: 90+ : Other :
19,257 44,469 42,527 47,354 45,032 40,598 9,495 2,607 484
TOP FIVE COUNTIES: Cook: 44,866
TOTAL NUMBER OF ALUMNI IN ILLINOIS:
NIU ALUMNI AT A GLANCE
ALUMNI BY COLLEGES:
14,979 107 OTHER
COLLEGE OF VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES
Curriculum & Instruction:
0 COLLEGE OF LAW
COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
ALU M NI
Number of Alumni with THREE DEGREES: 1,748 Number of Alumni with FOUR OR MORE DEGREES: 118
DEGREES EARNED BY ALUMNI: Bachelor’s Degree: 196,161 Master’s Degree: 69,405 Doctorate Degree: 9,303 Law Degree: 4,237
NIU ALUMNI AT A GLANCE
FY21 IMPACT SUMMARY Throughout FY21, NIU donors continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of our students and empowering their full potential. The generosity of our donors is helping transform the world and has proven again that, together, we are Thousands Strong.
NOTABLE NUMBERS MADE POSSIBLE BY REMARK ABLE DONORS IN FY21
NEW GIVING IN FY21:
TOTAL NUMBER OF DONORS:
includes gifts from all sources including unrealized bequests
11,679 SCHOLARSHIP DOLLARS AWARDED: $2.8M # OF SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED: 2,356
TOTAL RAISED FOR HUSKIES UNITED CAMPAIGN:
# OF HUSKIES UNITED GIFTS:
TOTAL RAISED FROM THOUSANDS STRONG CAMPAIGN:
# OF THOUSANDS STRONG GIFTS:
STUDENT EMERGENCY FUND DOLLARS RAISED:
THE NIU FOUNDATION HAS AWARDED APPROXIMATELY
IN SCHOLARSHIPS IN THE PAST 10 YEARS
FY21 IMPACT SUMMARY
THE EXCEPTIONAL POWER OF
PHILANTHROPY ENSURES THAT NIU IS AN ENGINE
FOR INNOVATION, CREATIVITY AND SOCIAL MOBILITY THAT EMPOWERS STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF TO IMPACT THE WORLD.
of NIU Foundation scholarship recipients graduate.
of NIU students are from underserved communities, including students of color and students from low-income households.
of NIU students are among the first in their families to attend a four-year university.
of NIU students receive financial aid.
FY21 IMPACT SUMMARY
ENDOWMENT FUND PERFORMANCE JULY 1 , 2 02 0 – J UN E 30, 2 02 1
Northern Illinois University and the NIU Alumni Association have designated the NIU Foundation as manager of their endowment assets.
ENDOWMENT MARKET VALUE (DOLLARS IN MILLIONS)
$74.3 $4.2 $20.8 $99.3
BEGINNING OF YEAR GIFTS TO ENDOWMENT (NET) INVESTMENT RESULTS AND ALLOCATION FOR SPENDING END OF YEAR
ANNUALIZED TOTAL OVER
5 YEARS 10 YEARS
TARGET WEIGHTED BENCHMARK
NEW DOLLARS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND PROGRAMS MADE AVAILABLE BY INVESTMENT INCOME 2019-2020
2 0 2 0 -2 0 2 1
The goal of setting asset allocation and expenditure strategy for the NIU Foundation Endowment Fund is to maintain the spending power of the fund, in inflation-adjusted (real) dollars, far into the future. The NIU F oundation Finance Committee reviews the asset allocation regularly using ranges a pproved annually by the NIU Foundation Board of Directors.
11.4% ENDOWMENT FUND PERFORMANCE
Equities Directional Hedge
SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL DATA JULY 1 , 2 02 0 – J UN E 30, 2 02 1 ASSETS
ACTIVITY - Year Ended June 30, 2021
Cash and Investments Pledges Receivable, Net Buildings and Land
$143,314,196 $4,703,558 $21,994,224
Services Contract Income
Scholarships and Support of University Departments and Programs
depreciation and interest on niu foundation buildings for student use ASSETS
June 30, 2021
EXPENSES - Year Ended June 30, 2021
35.6% Annuity Payable scholarships$551,944 $2,687,335 Agency-Endowment and Gift Accounts Administered for NIU
LIABILITIES Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities
Support of University
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS departments/programs $35,961,171. NET ASSETS, JULY 1, 2020 NET ASSETS, JUNE 30, 2021
For complete audited financial statements and IRS Form 990, visit www.niufoundation.org.
FUNDS FROM DONOR GIFTS PROVIDED TO SUPPORT NIU
depreciation and interest on niu foundation buildings for student use
35.6% scholarships $2,687,335
Total Donor Funds Provided:
Support of University departments/programs
SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL DATA
ANNUAL DAYS OF GIVING Huskies have never been stronger, even with the challenges of the pandemic, and this is evident in the power of the University’s annual days of giving— Thousands Strong and Huskies United. The NIU Foundation has been gifted more than $3 million through these two days of giving, and these funds have gone on to support NIU students and faculty in profound ways.
THOUSANDS STRONG RAISES OVER $2 MILLION From Nov. 18-20, NIU alumni, students, faculty and staff, and friends of the University came together to celebrate the positive contributions Huskies are making each day. “Thousands Strong,” which borrowed its name from a famous line of “Hail NIU,” the University’s alma mater, honored the outstanding alumni and donors who help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility. The event kicked off with a YouTube Live opening night show that featured student, faculty and alumni success stories, alongside stories of generous scholarship support. The event garnered a total of 1,300 views when it was originally broadcast, shattering our goal of 1,000 views and unlocking a challenge donation of $100,000 from NIU Foundation Board Member John, ’74, M.S. ’75, and Anne Landgraf, ‘73. The “Thousands Strong” Day of Giving began after the opening night show and lasted for 28.5 hours through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. Donors provided more than 2,000 gifts to the NIU Foundation for a total of $2,007,235! Fourteen challenge and matching gifts were established to encourage giving, led by a $400,000 challenge gift donated by the Landgrafs, which was unlocked when the University reached 2,000 gifts. All seven academic colleges had giving challenges and matches, all of which were met. An impressive 111 ambassadors helped spread the word about our day of giving, and their work helped generate 217 gifts of more than $30,000 in donations through social media. “The generosity of Huskie Nation has been inspiring,” Michael Adzovic, senior director of operations and annual giving, said. “‘Thousands Strong’ has shown the kind of power Huskies have when they come together for a common purpose. Through these donations, we have ensured that more students will be able to complete their degrees and make a positive impact in our world.”
ANNUAL DAYS OF GIVING: THOUSANDS STRONG
HUSKIES UNITED RAISES $1 MILLION Over the course of 1,895 minutes on June 23-24, the Huskie Nation had the opportunity to unite around the mission, vision and values of Northern Illinois University through the NIU Foundation’s Huskies United event. And, boy, did they respond! When all was said and done, the NIU family came together and donated over $1 million through Huskies United. The total exceeded expectations and doubled FY20’s Huskies United total, when just over $496,000 was raised. Alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University came together to make impactful gifts, both big and small. A special thanks goes to Sherry, ’76, and Jason Jow, ’76, who made a $250,000 commitment for scholarships in NIU’s Department of Computer Science. Through the Banks-Erickson Huskies United Participation Challenge, alumnus Ray Banks, ’86, and his husband, Dr. Eric Erickson, unlocked their challenge gift of $150,000 when Huskies United totaled 1,000 gifts. A part of that commitment came from a group of 111 committed Huskies who served as ambassadors for the online giving event. Together, this group
brought in over 300 gifts—a new record from previous giving days. Huskies United 2021 was also significant in that it worked with new campus partners, many of whom participated in fundraising for the first time. Included in the efforts were programs, such as the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies and NIU STEM Fest, who helped raise $11,000 and $12,000, respectively. Huskies United centered around key strategic initiatives for NIU. Specifically, student scholarships and experience; diversity, equity and inclusion; the Student Emergency Fund; and unrestricted support. Clearly, the over $1 million raised will go to further these important programs on campus and make a huge positive impact for the Huskie family.
“HUSKIES UNITED WAS INCREDIBLE,” SENIOR DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AND ANNUAL GIVING MICHAEL ADZOVIC SAID. “WE WERE FUELED BY THE COMMITMENT AND GENEROSITY OF SO MANY WHO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF NIU.”
ANNUAL DAYS OF GIVING: HUSKIES UNITED
DISTINGUISHED DONOR SOCIETIES No gift goes unnoticed by our hard-working students. Our donors make a profound impact on the lives of NIU students, whether they are making their first gift or if they have been loyal, generous supporters of NIU for years. All our donors are important members of one of our Distinguished Donor Societies.
THE NIU FOUNDATION HAS FOUR RECOGNITION SOCIETIES TO HONOR DONORS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS:
The Founders Forum recognizes donors who have generously contributed $50,000+ during their lifetime. This includes cash, gifts in kind, pledges but does not include estate intentions until they are realized.
The Leadership Society recognizes donors who have contributed a minimum of $1,000 cumulative during a fiscal year.
The Cornerstone Society recognizes donors who have included NIU in their estate plans.
The Olive Goyle Society recognizes donors with three or more consecutive fiscal years of giving to NIU. We call them our “Olive Goyle Loyals.”
DISTINGUISHED DONOR SOCIETIES
Donors in these societies receive invitations to events, as well as holiday greetings and other communications. In an effort to bring greater brand recognition and more consistent communications to the society members, the foundation has created a quarterly newsletter for constituents, which provides this group of donors with insider information and helps enhance their affinity with NIU. Along with this, updated, recognizable logos have been developed for each society. During the past year, we have been working to complete the new Founders Forum Wall in historic Altgeld Hall and the “Making A Difference Display” in the Holmes Student Center. Now completed, both displays honor donors who have made a difference in students’ lives and an impact on the NIU community.
“YOUR GENEROSITY IS WHAT PROPELS US FORWARD. WE ARE PROUD OF ALL OUR STUDENTS AND OF ALL OF YOU— THE DONORS WHO STAND BEHIND US AS WE CONTINUE OUR MISSION.” — NIU PRESIDENT DR. LISA C. FREEMAN
DISTINGUISHED DONOR SOCIETIES
ALISON KRAMER: MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MINUTE
ALISON KRAMER IS A MASTER AT MAKING THE MOST OF HER TIME. Throughout her NIU career, Alison Kramer, ’22, has worked around thirtyfive hours a week while carrying a course load of sixteen hours or more. Between work and studying, Alison still finds time to belong to six student organizations, holding leadership positions in some. “The fact that she successfully contributes to NIU programs at the university, college, and department level is extraordinary,” Associate Professor Linda J. Matuszewski wrote in Alison’s Impact Scholarship application. “Her ability to do so while also working and maintaining an outstanding GPA is evidence of her work ethic.”
and volunteering, and it’s nice to be recognized,” she says. “It’s inspiring to see alumni giving back to the school that put them where they are today. It’s great to see them giving a hand up to students in the same boat they were once in.” Alison grew up in Genoa, just a stone’s throw from the NIU campus in DeKalb. She competed in a business case competition put on by the College of Business when she was still in high school. As a member of LEAD, NIU’s student organization for business ethics, Alison now helps put on that same event for local high schools. “LEAD has really shaped who I am,” she says. She credits the organization for developing her presentation and
Alison is working toward a double major in accounting and business management. Her family played a big role in shaping her drive to succeed. Alison’s father is a passionate and hard-working entrepreneur. Growing up, she saw him proudly supporting the family with his own business.
communication skills. It also showed her
In recent years, the company fell on hard times. Alison sought a way to pay for college without burdening her family’s finances. She works two jobs during the school year and three jobs in the summer. Scholarships have helped make ends meet.
around the country, an opportunity she
“It’s such a great feeling to be chosen for a scholarship. I put a lot of work into my academics, being involved around campus,
consulting firm helping companies
NIU FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: ALISON KRAMER
how to conduct herself in a professional environment and influenced her ability to think critically about business ethics. The group also gave her the chance to travel feels she may have missed at a bigger university. Alison hopes one day to start her own switch to sustainable packaging.
DI’QUAN ISHMON: PUSHING BEYOND THE LIMIT
FOR DI’QUAN ISHMON, THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT. IT’S WHERE HE’S JUST GETTING STARTED. Di’Quan Ishmon, ’22, dreams of working with NASA or SpaceX one day. For now, the senior mechatronics student is leading student organizations, excelling in academics, and applying for NASA grants to fund undergraduate research.
leader, he gravitated toward board positions in several clubs. In the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Di’Quan helps students with career development. In the National Society of Black Engineers, he creates projects to hone students’ technical skills. Two years ago, he discovered his true passion when he founded the NIU NASA team.
Di’Quan developed an interest in engineering and additive manufacturing while still in high school. His senior year, he was invited to take part in additive manufacturing research at NIU.
The NASA team is applying for undergraduate aerospace research grants from NASA and competing with other college teams across the country to help NASA develop spacesuit material for the 2024 Artemis mission. The team doubled in size from its first to its second year, and includes students majoring in engineering, physics, and business.
Many universities don’t allow engineering students into labs until their junior year. Di’Quan was impressed that students in NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology are hands-on from the start.
Di’Quan plans to earn master’s degrees in engineering and business and a Ph.D. in engineering. He sees his success as a way to illuminate the path for others.
“Research Rookies helped me decide my freshman year that I would go to grad school,” Di’Quan says. “I learned so much about research from grad students. My second year of Research Rookies, I became a mentor for students new to the program.”
“Drive and determination matter,” he says. “Receiving a scholarship helps me motivate others by showing them you don’t have to stop in one place. You can keep going. I want to show people who think it’s impossible that the sky is the limit to what they can accomplish if they change their mindset.”
“Di’Quan will be successful if given the opportunity,” Professor Y.J. Lin wrote in his Impact Scholarship application. “He is ready for a greater voyage to advance the engineering industry.”
Di’Quan explored a number of student organizations in search of his passion. NIU’s student organizations are diverse and open to students of various backgrounds, he says. A natural
NIU FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: DI’QUAN ISHMON
CRISTINA BRAVO: THERE’S NOTHING A DETERMINED HUSKIE CAN’T DO
CRISTINA BRAVO IS HUSKIE DETERMINATION PERSONIFIED. Cristina Bravo, ’22, has tackled the challenges of being a first-generation college student head-on. Born in the U.S. to Mexican parents, Cristina moved to Mexico with her family when she was very young. After spending most of her childhood there, she returned to the U.S. at the age of twelve unable to speak English. Young Cristina threw herself into her education. Her freshman year at NIU, she placed second in an English composition contest. Her essay was published in an anthology, and her picture graced the cover of the book. “At twelve I couldn’t speak English, and by college I could speak English at a level that I could place in a contest with native speakers,” she says. “Whenever I think, ‘I can’t do this,’ I have this example I can look to that proves I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.” In high school, Cristina was intimidated by college. She felt conspicuous visiting majority-white campuses. At NIU, she says, that self-consciousness disappeared. “I don’t feel out of place here,” she says. “There’s so much diversity running through every aspect of the university. I love that NIU truly values and celebrates its diversity. I felt welcomed here.”
NIU FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: CRISTINA BRAVO
In addition to the welcoming environment, Cristina was drawn to NIU for its Foreign Language Residence Program. After graduation, she intends to be a Spanish teacher, inspiring students to learn and embrace not only a foreign language but associated cultures and traditions as well. “I was so impressed by FLRP. I really wanted to be a part of that program,” she says. “It’s great to live with other people who share your passions.” Cristina says she is inspired by NIU students’ dedication to making an impact in their community and in their world. “A Huskie’s presence is always noticeable because Huskies do everything with passion,” she says. “That’s what it truly means to be a Huskie.” In Cristina’s Impact Scholarship application, Associate Professor Franciso Solares wrote that she will be “the type of alumna that makes NIU proud.” “It’s not just her academic promise and work ethic I find praiseworthy, but also her activities outside the classroom,” he wrote. “She will never deny help to anyone, and she will always perform her duties following her strict personal ethics code.”
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT 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.
A LIFETIME OF SAVING LEADS TO TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFT
had always been impressed by our nursing students and how studious they were.” Alex established the Gisela Wenner scholarship fund with about $10,000 in 2001 and continued to give between $5,000 and $10,000 a year to support it. In 2014, his annual giving jumped to around $20,000.
Spartz says she believes Alex’s dedication to NIU was born of both his fond memories of the campus and his desire to pay forward his Upon his death, his estate grew mother’s legacy. “He loved his mom the family legacy at NIU with a and he knew the importance of staggering million-dollar bequest to provide additional, much-needed scholarships at NIU,” she says. scholarship support. “We would visit him and share “He never spent money on himself,” says longtime friend, Teri GenslerSpartz. “He prided himself on being frugal, but that was because he chose to help others. It was very inspiring.” Alex’s mother, Gisela, had been a practicing nurse in Germany. When the Nazis came to power, she fled the country. Alex was born in Switzerland, and the family later moved to America. “He thought nursing was a very important profession,” says Derryl Block, former dean of the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences. “He was a librarian at NIU for a number of years and said he
student stories the best we could. He loved to hear about the recipients.” Derryl says scholarships are particularly important for students in demanding programs like nursing. Many college students work a lot of hours to pay for school, she says. When their program includes hours of clinical work on top of class work, the load can be too heavy to bear. “For many of them, having a scholarship means the difference between succeeding in their program or not,” she says. “It can also mean being able to progress on time—many students have to take semesters off to work and save for the next semester. A gift like this means the world to students.”
WENNER’S GENEROSITY AT WORK Scholarship recipient Alexis Mugnolo is a born helper. She is studying to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Ideally, she says, she wants to work in low-income areas where mental health services are often hard to come by. Alexis is being helped in her quest by the Gisela Wenner Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship has reduced Mugnolo’s financial burden, allowing her to focus her time and energy on her studies. “I realize that I have been given many opportunities to be successful, and I want the same for others,” she says.
Scholarship recipient Alexis Mugnolo
NIU FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: ALEXIS MUGNOLO
EVENTS Never say never at NIU! While COVID-19 restrictions threw a major curve ball to our NIU Alumni Association and NIU Foundation events in FY21, we were able to quickly pivot to online events, providing a much-needed community and outlet for alumni and friends. From author Q&As and virtual 5Ks to professional how-tos and fun trivia nights, the NIUAA covered a lot of ground— without going anywhere! Through hard work, determination, and a network of resilient Huskies, we were able to offer tried-and-true events in novel, online formats, as well as some brand new, exciting opportunities. Led by Director of Events Dana King, ’05, we offered a whopping 65 online events last year, including several well-received series, such as our “Meet a Huskie” and “Cooking with a Huskie” events. We also partnered with campus partners and colleges to support wonderful educational opportunities, such as the College of Education’s “Whiteboard Wednesdays.”
“(THE POLLYANNA BREWING CO. VIRTUAL TASTING IN ST. CHARLES) IS MY SECOND VIRTUAL EVENT. BOTH HAVE BEEN REALLY FUN! THANKS FOR THE WORK YOU DO TO PULL THESE TOGETHER!”
The events played a critical role in supporting the University’s two days of giving in FY21, Thousands Strong and Huskies United. In June, in conjunction with Huskies United, we hosted online events to uplift the importance of supporting the Student Emergency Fund, Scholarship and Student Experience, and Academic Diversity Equity and Inclusion. These events drew more than 40 participants, helping drum up excitement for student-focused philanthropy. The sole in-person event in FY21 was our 10th NIU Alumni Association Golf Outing in partnership with Forensic Analytical Consulting Services, Inc., which was held in June. Even with the threat of clouds and showers, 216 Huskies attended the outdoor event and showed their support for the University. We look forward to FY22, when we can provide more inperson events, but the lessons learned in FY21 are valuable to us, and we will continue to engage alumni and friends through new online avenues.
3-D 75 -25 5
MIKE ALTENDORF, ’79, M.B.A. ’81
“I LOOK FORWARD TO THE (COOKING WITH A HUSKIE) CLASS. I AM A BIG FAN OF JO CESSNA ’83 AND HER TEACHING STYLE. SHE IS TRULY A TREASURE TO KNOW AND LEARN FROM. HOW WONDERFUL THAT OTHERS THROUGH THIS CLASS CAN ENJOY AND BENEFIT FROM HER INSTRUCTION!” –
ROCHELLE QUADE, ’74
Number of alumni who attended their first-ever event in FY21.
TRAVEL The bonds of Huskies remain strong, even in our most challenging and unprecedented times. It is evident in the friendships and connections made on campus and in the classroom each day, and it’s equally obvious within our closeknit alumni network. These bonds are one of the reasons our Alumni Travel Program has been so successful for over 50 years. Led by Director Pat Anderson ’00, M.S. ’04, the travel program provides educational and economical trips for our alumni and friends as part of its mission—to build lifelong relationships with NIU alumni and friends and create opportunities to reconnect with the University. The travel program seeks to connect, inform, serve and engage the University’s diverse alumni and friends. It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath caused the cancellation or rescheduling of four alumni travel programs in FY20. Those four trips had to be rescheduled again in FY21. This meant that the eight trips originally planned for 2021 had to be put on hold as the team prioritized the trips from 2020 and worked to protect traveler’s investments and provide goodfaith efforts to mitigate everybody’s losses to the best of our abilities. While FY21’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made it impossible for travelers to see the world together last year, and several trips had to be
cancelled for a second time or rescheduled for another year, the program continued to adapt and grow. One highlight was that the program became a limited liability company, or LLC, last year. This was done early in 2020 for liability reasons to protect the NIU Foundation assets, allowing the program to continue to be in a good position to plan exciting trips for travelers, even during uncertain times. The program has been working on planning trips to Antarctica, Spain, Portugal and the Canadian Rockies in late 2021 and early 2022. Of course, special attention was given to travelers this past year, particularly those who were on trips that had to be cancelled and rescheduled for a second time. Communication through emails, letters and personal phone calls kept travelers informed and updated of the necessary changes. We appreciate and miss our travelers! We look forward to providing unique educational and economical travel programs for them in the future.
“PAT (ANDERSON) ALWAYS HAS THE BEST INTEREST OF ‘HER TRAVELERS’ IN MIND. IT’S LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN PERSONAL TRAVEL CONCIERGE (AND MOTHER HEN!). I HAVE TAKEN NEARLY 25 TRIPS WITH THE NIU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, AND IT’S MAINLY BECAUSE OF PAT. I FEEL SAFE AND LOOKED-AFTER.” – LYNNE SCHULTZ, ’66
A PICTURE MAY PAINT A THOUSAND WORDS, BUT AT THE NIU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, WE USE ALL KINDS OF MEDIA, FROM OUR WEEKLY FEATURE STORIES ONLINE AND OUR DAILY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS TO OUR PRINTED ALUMNI MAGAZINE AND EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS, TO PAINT THE FULL HUSKIE EXPERIENCE. It is no secret that 2021 was an important year for keeping connected through communication. Our alumni and friends relied on our regular messages more than ever in a socially distanced world. Through it all, our team was able to help tether our Huskie community together, across distances and in new, creative and safe ways. Led by Director of Alumni Communications Matt Brendich, the team delivered in FY21, generating 103 feature stories on some of our most interesting Huskie alumni and 1,494 social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. These communications spread the word about the 250,000+ living Northern Illinois University alumni and the great things they have accomplished. On top of that, we produced two issues of the Northern Now. This digital magazine showcased some of our biggest Huskie success stories while connecting thousands of alumni. It’s only logical that more quality content leads to more engagement with our alumni. We accrued more than 70,000
likes, comments or shares on social media during this fiscal year, which was an increase of 18.1% from FY20. Much of that engagement came from LinkedIn, as that platform checked in with an astronomical leap of 81.5%, jumping from 19,780 to 35,905. Huskies are social animals! Nearly 150 social media ambassadors continue to play a strong role in our marketing, as we continued to utilize SocialToaster (NIUniverse) as a social media platform meant to engage our constituents and share our messages. Every time someone shares one of our posts on SocialToaster, we add to our Earned Media Value (EMV). Earned Media Value refers to any type of social media exposure gained through word of mouth, recommendation or conversations about the brand, and in FY21, this amounted to over $26,000 in free marketing! Last year, our website traffic was more consistent with the norm pre-pandemic, which is no small feat! We had several big stories and events prior to the pandemic, including the announcement of Mini Mish, our co-branded partnership with Pollyanna to produce everyone’s favorite Kolsch beer, Dawgma, as well as a feature story on well-renowned comedian Sebastian Maniscalco. One of the most important roles of the communications team is “partner.” We regularly work with the events, travel, and
FY21 FEATURED FACTS & STATS:
volunteer engagement teams to disseminate their messages to targeted audiences. For instance, even though we could not get together to network as we have in the past, our virtual events found a large audience. Our communications team worked hard to advertise to our entire alumni base, and it allowed nearly 1,500 alumni to attend their first-ever event. In addition, our volunteer program, led by Director of Volunteer Engagement Liz McKee, specifically credited the communications team in the success of the NIUAA Advocacy Program, Huskie Postcard Project and digital ambassador recruitment efforts for both Thousands Strong and Huskies United.
Amount of “Earned Media Value” from SocialToaster
Likes, comments or shares on social media
Some of the biggest news from FY21 was the successful execution of a marketing/communications plan for both Thousands Strong in November and Huskies United in June. These days of giving helped raise over $3 million dollars for the University and its priorities.
HOW ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS READ?
LinkedIn engagement jumped in FY21.
Each year, the NIU Foundation communications team publishes an Impact Report, which summarizes all the work our teams have completed in the past fiscal year. FY21 was no different, with this comprehensive guide relaying relevant data and analysis, ranging from communications, events and membership to travel and volunteerism to our alumni and Huskie stakeholders. Even though 2021 proved to be a challenging year, it left us in an auspicious position to continue to grow our alumni community and connect with Huskies all over the world.
FOLLOW US ON:
Social Media Posts COMMUNICATIONS
VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT QUITE SIMPLY, OUR STUDENTS WOULD NOT RECEIVE THE IMMERSIVE, HANDS-ON EDUCATION THAT NIU IS PROUD TO OFFER WITHOUT OUR NETWORK OF DEDICATED AND LOYAL VOLUNTEERS. Each day, anywhere on campus, one can see the positive impacts of volunteers who lend their time, written convictions, expertise and elbow grease to important projects and opportunities for the current generation of Huskies. While 2021 provided its share of challenges, some wonderful lessons were learned from this unprecedented time. First and foremost, Huskies. Never. Stop. Volunteering. Last year, we recorded the highest number of volunteers since the volunteer network’s launch in FY17. This year brought a focus on how to engage volunteers virtually, which resulted in an ability to connect with folks from six different continents! A number of our programs, led by Director of Volunteer Engagement Liz McKee, M.S.Ed. ’14, saw enormous success! For instance, the Huskie Postcard Project, which was an opportunity for alumni to write words of encouragement to students studying for finals, was a greater success than imagined, as more than 140 alumni helped pull together 750 postcards. Each was included in a goodie bag packed by staff, coordinated with campus partners in Residence Life and Dining, and delivered to students during finals in spring 2021. Another particularly bright spot was our
advocacy effort. Alumni let their voices be heard when NIU needed them most, asking for funding support for higher education and COVID-19 relief. More than 150 alumni volunteered to share their career experiences with students virtually through synchronous and asynchronous opportunities, while involvement in reviewing scholarship applications for students from the University Honors Program continued to increase. Each year, close to 300 scholarship applications are submitted, and this year nearly 100 alumni helped review those scholarships, which is close to 100% growth from the prior year. We saw 81% growth in the number of alumni who supported student recruitment initiatives, with 58 alumni participating in 77 volunteer engagements provided by the NIU Office of Admissions. Another 28 volunteers supported University-wide and college-specific open houses that reached more than 2,200 prospective or admitted students and their family members. Last, but definitely not least, the newly formed Volunteer Engagement Committee was a huge support to the efforts of the Alumni Volunteer Engagement Program. Members emailed and called volunteers to thank them for their support and listened to feedback about their experiences. They also provided direction and support for additional volunteer outreach that resulted in further volunteer engagement and supported volunteer retention.
F Y2 1
VOLUNTEER FACTS & STATS
admitted students received alumni letters — an increase by nearly 100% from FY20
750 POSTCARDS encouraged students to work hard during spring finals week
Nearly 800 students received encouraging calls by 13 volunteers
UNIQUE VOLUNTEERS participated in FY21, which is a 32.9% increase from FY20
24% of volunteers
volunteered more than once, up 2% from the prior year
were moderately or extremely satisfied with their volunteer experience
of volunteers would participate in the volunteer activity again
advocacy emails were sent to legislators by volunteers
in total volunteers in FY21
in total alumni volunteers in FY21
AFFINITY GROUPS BLACK ALUMNI COUNCIL In fiscal year 2021, the NIU Black Alumni Council hosted a virtual reunion and fundraiser in lieu of its annual picnic and raised more than $3,500 for the Fanny Ruth Patterson Scholarship Fund. This was the most the group has fundraised in a single event in recent history, and 91 attendees participated. They also awarded a total of $6,000 to three students attending NIU in the next fiscal year.
GREEK ALUMNI COUNCIL The Greek Alumni Council spent time in FY21 building its relationship with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at NIU. They also focused on making sure that the group leadership was representative of all four leadership councils that exist at NIU.
LATINO ALUMNI COUNCIL The Latino Alumni Council remained very active in FY21, engaging 142 alumni. They hosted six virtual events, ranging from an update on the NIU Latinx experience to a Dia de los Muertos 5K, to informational sessions about the Power of the Latinx Vote and “Financial Cents.”
COMPUTER SCIENCE ALUMNI COUNCIL The Computer Science Alumni Council nominated a new president, Steve Barger, ’85, who replaces Jamie Hough, ’09, as he relocates with his family to sunny Florida. The council is in the process of looking at the best way to hold events in the future, starting with its annual career panel and featuring computer science alumni.
HUSKIE MARCHING BAND ALUMNI COUNCIL The Marching Band Alumni Council held a successful crowdfunding campaign in FY21 and raised funds for a new drum line for the Huskie football season. The council also made plans to return to an in-person “Fill the Field” event for Homecoming 2021.
ROCKFORD ALUMNI CLUB The Rockford Alumni Club kicked off FY21 by hosting a virtual send-off for area Huskies. The club spent the rest of the year reviewing its structure and identifying opportunities to partner with Rockford area activities affiliated with NIU in the future. The David and Diane Graf Endowed Scholarship for the College of Business also awarded two scholarships to deserving students.
NI U ALU MN I ASSOCIATION CA MPU S PARTN ERS ACADEMIC ADVISING SERVICES
Softball Men’s Basketball Football
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
Sales BELIEF Ethics Program Finance Marketing Management Passport
Anthropology Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
Kinesiology and Physical Education
DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Fraternity and Sorority Life
Political Science Geographic & Atmospheric Sciences History
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES GRADUATE SCHOOL
Allied Health and Communicative Disorders Rehabilitation Counseling
ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND COMMUNICATIONS Undergraduate Admissions
University Marketing and Internal Communications
OFFICE OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
DIVISION OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS
ACADEMIC, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Center for Latino & Latin Studies Latino Resource Center
CAMPUS DINING SERVICES
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
DIVISION OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS JobsPLUS
International Student and Scholarship Services Study Abroad
NIU MARCHING BAND
NIU ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE CAMPUS PARTNERS
WHEREVER MISSION GOES, HUSKIES FOLLOW! WHEN IT COMES TO BEING AN AMBASSADOR FOR NIU, NO CREATURE, GREAT OR SMALL, DOES IT BETTER THAN OUR BELOVED FOUR-LEGGED MASCOT, MISSION. In FY21, we said a fond farewell to Mission I, our first live Huskie mascot, who turned 10 years old in December. With the elder Mission retiring to more quiet life as a private canine citizen, his apprentice was promoted to full-time Huskie mascot. It’s been an especially big year for Mission, formerly known as “Mini-Mish,” as he follows in the footprints of one of the greats. Mission II began his mascot term in June 2021, bringing youthful energy to the important role. The younger Mission is ready for the spotlight! He trained for his new role for two years, accompanying the original Mission and his trainer, Lisa Boland, to events and around campus to get the young one acquainted to mascot duties. Our mascot’s social media presence soars—with 2,800 followers on Facebook and 2,600 followers on Twitter— and his high profile on campus continues through “Mission Monday” visits. Huskies adore their furry friend, often posing with Mission for photos, following him on social media, and hiring him for private event appearances. “Each dog has their own very distinct personality,” Boland says. “The original Mission is a much more formal and dignified dog, extremely food-motivated, to the point of ignoring someone if they don’t have treats, and a calmer pup during events and outings. The new Mission was specifically selected for having a higher energy level, being more motivated by people and interactions, and is a constantly enthusiastic new mascot in the dynasty.”
231 N. Annie Glidden Rd. DeKalb, IL 60115 815-753-ALUM (2586) email@example.com | myniu.com
2020-21 GRADUATION STATISTICS
E P O UNDERGRADUATE RTOP T 10
, 2019 — June 30, 2020
249 189 185 177
INTERDISCIPLINARY HEALTH PROFESSIONS
152 138 128 125
TEACHER LICENSURE PSYCHOLOGY NURSING
ACCOUNTANCY COMPUTER SCIENCE MARKETING FAMILY, CONSUMER AND NUTRITION SCIENCES
Total Number of Graduates
(Undergraduate, Graduate and Law Combined):
2020-21 GRADUATION STATISTICS TOTAL (UNDERGRADUATE, GRADUATE AND LAW COMBINED) College of Business: 961 (21.8%) College of Education: 724 (16.4%)
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology: 393 (8.9%)
College of Visual and Performing Arts: 205 (4.7%)
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: 1,310 (29.8%) College of Health and Human Sciences: 737 (16.7%)
College of Law: 73 (1.7%)