Wesleyan Fund Gifts of All Sizes Can Make a Significant Impact

From the Fall 2009 Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine

Related story: Wesleyan Fund Giving Will Be Key to Campaign’s Success

Amanda Watson ’01 and Ross Straseske ’06 provide exemplary examples of the ways Illinois Wesleyan’s alumni can contribute to their alma mater.

Watson remembers her decision to attend Illinois Wesleyan  came down to one thing — finding the funds. As a top student in her high school in Normal, Ill., she was accepted to several elite schools, including the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Watson (left) spoke at a recent Eta chapter of Sigma Kappa event. “Giving helps you stay connected,” she says.

“I needed to make the right decision financially,” says Watson, who is now a lawyer in the Peoria, Ill., office of Ganan & Shapiro Law Firm. “I liked both the U of I and IWU, and it was Illinois Wesleyan that gave me the best financial aid package. They made it easier for me to go to college, and I feel indebted to them for that.”

Watson began to give back to Wesleyan’s annual fund when she was in law school. “I gave what I could, $50 or $100 a year, but I knew I wanted to give more when I could,” she says. Watson is now at the $1,000 mark, and encourages all alumni to give what they can. “When I started to give back, I found myself returning to campus, feeling part of the campus. Giving helps you stay connected.” 

Straseske is another young alumnus who has found that giving to The Wesleyan Fund is a satisfying way to help the University he loves while keeping within his current financial constraints.

An accounting major who is now a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, Straseske was inspired to give when his mother, Ruth, informed him that she had given a donation to the Parent Fund. “That set an example for me,” he says. Now Straseske gives a monthly gift to The Wesleyan Fund of $25, which is automatically billed to his credit card. “To be honest, it fits into my budget better while allowing me to do my part.”

Gifts of any and all amounts make a difference in the lives of Illinois Wesleyan students. The average gift size to The Wesleyan Fund is $253.