Vinyard, Shepelak Make Commitment to Support Students
George Vinyard '71 and Judy Shepelak
November 23, 2009
For more than 40 years, George Vinyard has experienced and witnessed the transforming
impact that private financial support makes in the lives of students at Illinois Wesleyan.
A recipient of scholarship aid and Student Senate officer who graduated in 1971, Vinyard
has since remained active with the University. He was first appointed to the Board
of Trustees in 1977, and now serves as the President of the Board.
"The people here — the faculty, staff, administration and succeeding generations
of students — have inspired me and made a profound difference in my life," said Vinyard,
who has served on multiple committees and volunteered countless hours for the University.
"I want to show my gratitude by doing all I can to sustain the University and make
sure that the opportunities that I have had are passed along to future generations."
Along with the time he has given, Vinyard and his wife, Judy Shepelak, have made another
commitment in support of Illinois Wesleyan's mission. The couple has pledged $500,000
to student scholarship support in the form of endowment and gifts to The Wesleyan
Fund as part of the Transforming Lives campaign. These funds will provide a portion of the more than $110 million that will
be given out to students in financial assistance over the next five years. "We want
to support students with financial aid that will allow them to pursue the interests
and vocations that they love best," said Vinyard, who understands that annual gifts
to The Wesleyan Fund help support a wide range of programs and activities, ranging
from student financial aid to campus life activities.
Giving students the opportunity to explore their interests is important to Judy Shepelak.
As an artist, she has worked with the Oak Park Art League, and it was her artwork
that graced the cover of the Illinois Wesleyan holiday card in 2008. She has also
studied horticulture and been a garden designer, and has been actively involved for
a number of years with the Friends of the Oak Park (Illinois) Conservatory, and with
the park district in which the Conservatory is located.
Graduating with a degree in English, Vinyard earned his law degree in 1977 from the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He is currently vice president and general counsel
of ExteNet Systems, Inc.
"Illinois Wesleyan has been part of our lives for so many years," said Vinyard. "The
University and the current students need support to maintain the excellence of the
institution and the opportunities it offers. We can all be part of that, especially