Herb '77 and Susan '77 Getz
November 23, 2009
A $250,000 pledge from Herb and Susan Getz has established the Getz Scholarship Fund, allowing students to fulfill their dream of attending Illinois Wesleyan — students like Kenneth Woodard.
Woodard did not take the typical path to college. A good student who grew up in a troubled home, Woodard said he did not have an upbringing that supported a college education. He tried to take classes at a state school, but dropped out. “Very serious family issues meant that it was better for me to stay in Bloomington with no job, or money, or a secure place to live than to go back home,” he said.
Though he maintained his love of learning by taking classes at a community college, his economic situation was perilous. Woodard, a senior, found himself spending the summer at a homeless shelter. “I believe I had most of my dreams of coming to Wesleyan the summer I lived in the shelter,” said Woodard. His advisors at the community college put him in contact with the Multicultural Student Affairs Office at Illinois Wesleyan.
“With the encouragement of mentors at church and at school, I gathered the courage to apply to Wesleyan with literally no money,” said Woodard, who was accepted, and given a scholarship. “By the grace of God, I was accepted and, because of the liberality of donors, money has not been as much of a problem. I try to learn as much as I can while I am at Wesleyan because I know that I am living in the midst of some of the greatest opportunities I will have in life.”
It is students like Woodard who will find their dreams are not out of reach thanks to people like Herb and Susan Getz. “Both Susan and I received scholarships that allowed us to attend Illinois Wesleyan, an experience that truly changed our lives,” said Herb Getz. “We feel a strong sense of obligation to return the favor that was done for us years ago, and make an Illinois Wesleyan education available to others like us who might otherwise not be able to attend.”
Both alumni from the class of 1977, the couple continues to be active on the IWU campus. Herb Getz, who is the president of Aspen Creek Partners, Inc., in Naperville, Ill., is the second vice president on Illinois Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on IWU’s Campaign Steering Committee. Susan (Guenzler) Getz serves on the University’s Board of Visitors.