Donor & Alumni Impact
Educators were asked to go above and beyond this year. We are proud and grateful to our alumni and donors for their dedication to education and the University of Illinois. Our alumni and donors are committed to shaping the future of education. Thanks to their generosity, the next generation of education leaders can afford a world-class education at Illinois.
Jennifer Jones Alexander Scholarship Honors Legacy of Giving
In her too-short life, Jennifer Jones Alexander had a big impact on her high school students in Chicago Public Schools. Jennifer’s widower, University of Illinois graduate Jarvis Alexander (B.S. in Math, '05) set up a five-year pledge through the College of Education in honor of his late wife, who graduated from the College in 2005 and died in 2016 at age 33 of breast cancer.
“We met as freshmen at the University of Illinois,” Jarvis says. “She told me she wanted to be a high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She said ‘I’ve been to private schools all my life; I just want to give back. I want to teach kids who don’t have a lot of advantages or resources.’”
When Jennifer passed away, Jarvis recalls, there were a lot of former students at her funeral, including many from her first year of teaching. “They were coming up to me, telling me how she’d changed their lives,” he says.
The inner-city school she taught at was predominantly Hispanic and Black. I wanted the scholarship to be for somebody who could have been in her classroom and been accepted at the University of Illinois but didn’t know how to pay for it.”
“The College handles everything. The process was easy on my end,” he says. “The biggest parameter I had was to focus on kids who Jennifer would have taught."
The Jennifer Jones Alexander Scholarship was first awarded in 2018. Jarvis, who is a principal risk specialist for FINRA, a financial self-regulatory organization authorized by Congress, has had the pleasure of meeting the first two students who received the scholarship. “They give me hope for the future,” he says. “They are some of the smartest and most focused students I’ve met, and they were so thankful for the scholarship.”
Alexis Luz Martinez, Jennifer Jones Alexander Scholarship Recipient
Alexis is a sophomore majoring in History and minoring in Secondary Education, Political Science, and Spanish. In high school, Alexis volunteered as a Religious Education Teacher as well as at The Field Museum. She loves seeing the smile on a child’s face when they learn something new and helping them discover the world around them. Upon graduation, her goal is to teach American History at the high school level. She hopes to empower students to believe in themselves and help them connect with their own love of learning.
Investing in Education Scholars
For John and Judy Hathaway, the decision to set up a scholarship through the College of Education was an easy one.
“We both feel strongly about education,” says John, a 1967 University of Illinois graduate in political science, with minors in education and history. “My mom got two degrees at the U of I, including a master’s degree in education through the College of Education, and we set up the scholarship as a memorial to her.”
The Marian Van Gerpen Hathaway Scholarship goes to one Education student per academic year. “Education remains a core ingredient for a more peaceful and equitable society, and for more meaningful and prosperous lives,” he adds. “I’m sure we were helped here and there by people as we went along, so if we can give back, particularly with students at the University of Illinois, and help them continue toward their goals, that’s great.”
Morgan Gill, Marian Van Gerpen Hathaway Scholarship Recipient
Morgan has been a resident of Illinois her whole life and attending the University of Illinois has always been a dream of hers. She is a sophomore majoring in Special Education. In addition to her coursework, she is involved in Greek life and plans to volunteer with special needs children at a local gymnastics company. “Thank you for creating a lasting impact on college students like me through your financial support. It means so much to attend the College of Education at the University of Illinois.”
Paving the Way to Education at Illinois
James Gallaher and Eboni Zamani-Gallaher well know the value of a community college education. James, executive director of strategic initiatives, Illinois Human Resources, and a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, went through the Community College of the Air Force while serving in the military; Eboni, a professor in the College’s Education Policy, Organization & Leadership department, is director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership and executive director of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges.
“We both value how community colleges can create a pipeline to further education and greater mobility,” Eboni says. “When I dug into looking at the number of community college transfer students in the College, I knew we had to do something, given how few there were. Especially when there’s a need to have more diversity in our preservice teacher pool. Community colleges enroll a critical mass of first-generation students of color.”
The Gallahers created an endowed scholarship specifically for community college students transferring into the College of Education—the Gallaher Transfer Gateways Scholarship. They paid one-fourth of the total gift in a lump sum, with the rest made each year by monthly payroll deduction through 2024.
“It struck me that somebody who wasn’t a gazillionaire could still make room in their finances that helped me out while I was in school,” James says. “So, I thought we could do the same. Our scholarship is a way to give back to students who are coming into the College of Education.”
Keeping a Long-Held Promise
Pam Hove (MS, Human Resource Development, 2008) made a vow long ago that she has fulfilled with the help of the University of Illinois Foundation.
Pam Hove is a woman of her word. Her parents paid for her college education, and told her when she had children, she could do the same. She never had children, but still wanted to meet that commitment. Enter Lissa May Mudrick, who at the time (2010) was senior director of development for the University of Illinois Foundation. Lissa met with Pam in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Pam works and lives.
“Lissa and I have become great friends over the past 10 years,” Pam says. “I told her back then I’d love to give a gift to the University of Illinois... someday, when I had a lot of money.”
Lissa explained that you don’t need a lot of money to give, and helped Pam set up an estate gift in 2011. Pam also donated funds to the William Chandler Bagley Scholarship, named in honor of a former professor and director of the School of Education, and in 2012, when Pam increased her giving, the Foundation suggested a named gift.
Thus, the Thelma (Jamie) and Orin Hove Scholarship was born, named in honor of Pam’s parents, “because they gave me the love of learning,” she says. After Pam had the estate gift set up, she decided she wanted to give more, so she had the Foundation set up an annual “current use” gift, to be used at the College of Education’s discretion for a student in need. “I just leave it in the College’s capable hands,” she says. “They make it incredibly easy.”
An Affordable Way to Support Gifted Scholars
In 1988, the College of Education established the merit-based William Chandler Bagley Scholars Program to support students who demonstrate intellectual excellence and are committed to providing learning opportunities for an increasingly diverse student population. Sponsoring a Bagley Scholar requires a minimum gift of $1,000. William Chandler Bagley (1874–1946) came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1908 as a professor of Education and became director of the School of Education in 1909. In his nine years at Illinois, he developed the School of Education into one of the leading institutions of its kind.
Jennifer Rodriguez-Gomez, Elementary Education major
Jennifer plans on obtaining Bilingual and ESL endorsements. Her experiences in college, summer institutes with Golden Apple Scholars, co-teaching, and being a research assistant taught her that there are many skilled teachers who not only can teach a subject, but are able to take into context a student’s background and culture. She is thankful for the William Chandler Bagley Scholarship donors’ dedication to helping students accomplish their goals.
"I am beyond thankful for the William Chandler Bagley Scholarship. Because of your generous support, I am the first in my family to attend college. Thank you for enabling me to reach my fullest professional potential."
Krystal E. Andrews, Doctoral Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
Krystal is a third-year doctoral student and is a research assistant in the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. Her research interests include Black women college student experiences at HBCUs and women in executive leadership positions. A native of Newport News, Virginia, Krystal is a two-time graduate of Old Dominion University. As a current student, she serves as the secretary for the Higher Education Student Association and as a mentor with the Illinois Promise scholar program.
"Thank you for your financial support. The William Chandler Bagley Scholarship assists me in furthering my research interests and public scholarship at Illinois."