Getz Scholarship Makes College Dreams a Reality

Dec. 8, 2017

Getz Scholarship
Tristan Fox ’18 and Heather (Prasse) Calkins ’16 stand with Herb Getz ’77 on the Illinois Wesleyan quad.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Striving to become the first in her family to earn a college degree, Freeport, Illinois native Heather (Prasse) Calkins ’16 visited, applied and was accepted to attend Illinois Wesleyan University.

Calkins loved the campus and could envision herself succeeding at IWU. However, she feared that attending Illinois Wesleyan was beyond her financial means.

“I really wanted to go to Illinois Wesleyan,” Calkins said. “It was my number one pick. But, I didn’t know if I could do it.”

Similarly, out of the eight schools that Lena, Illinois native Tristan Fox ’18 visited, Illinois Wesleyan was undoubtedly the best fit. However, Fox – who will also become the first in his family to earn a four-year degree – was unsure about his ability to pay for a college education.

“I didn’t think I could go to Illinois Wesleyan with what I had,” Fox said. “Illinois Wesleyan looked really appealing, but I just didn’t think I would be able to do it financially.”

Fortunately for Fox and Calkins, IWU class of 1977 alumni Herb and Susan Getz – both from families with deep roots in Carroll County – created a scholarship to help students afford the educational investment. After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan, Herb went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, and since 2001, he has served as president of Aspen Creek Partners, a residential design-build firm in Naperville, Illinois.

“Susan and I are both kids of working class parents,” said Getz, who serves as a vice chair on the IWU Board of Trustees. “We both absolutely needed scholarship help to attend Illinois Wesleyan. We’ve been very fortunate – largely because of our Illinois Wesleyan education – to have the resources to give back.”

The $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to an Illinois Wesleyan student who performs well in the classroom, shows demonstrated need, and lives in northwestern Illinois, preferably from Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside or Stephenson counties.

Fox – who earned the Getz Scholarship in each of his four years at IWU and hopes to pursue a career in ministry – will graduate with a psychology degree this spring.

“I wouldn’t have been able to be here without the scholarship,” Fox said. “Illinois Wesleyan gives me the opportunity to be successful. It gives me a step up.”

With significant financial help from the Getz Scholarship, Calkins thrived at Illinois Wesleyan where she graduated in 2016 with a psychology degree. Calkins is now working toward a doctorate degree with the goal of becoming a school psychologist.

“To be able to pursue my dream and try to get myself to my full potential means a lot to me,” Calkins said.

Students are invited to apply for the 2018-19 Getz Scholarship. For award consideration, students must have applied for admission to Illinois Wesleyan and received their financial aid proposal. Students should indicate their interest in the Getz Scholarship by no later than Feb. 1.

For more information and to apply for the Getz Scholarship, students are encouraged to contact Illinois Wesleyan Director of Financial Aid Scott Seibring by emailing: or by calling: (309) 556-3393.

By John Twork