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Michael Chron '86

Michael Chron '86

I retired in May, 2008 from Eastern. I miss Eastern and the students I came to know during my 20-year career in the Communication Studies Department. I don't, however, miss the tons of grading papers, exams and all of the other work which comes with the job. I have remained active with EIU, working with the athletic department during home football games, men's and women's basketball and the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) boy's and girl's track meets held in May each year. After retirement, I must admit I did feel somewhat "detached" from my hometown university, and felt the need to do something for Eastern since this grand university has given me so much. In my "previous" career I had worked as a sports writer/editor for several papers in the Midwest, covering events from high school sports to the Big Ten and Rose Bowl. I also covered girls' sports on the high school scene and women's sports at various colleges. I have always thought women's sports were sub-par and many times on the short end of financial decisions in comparison to men's, and, with the assistance of EIU Foundation Vice President Karla Watson, I established the Michael Chron Women's Basketball Scholarship, through my will. Until my will takes effect, I annually donate to this scholarship which helps with tuition assistance for a Lady Panther.

My experiences at Eastern have been the best years of my life; not just in the classroom but also as a motivated member of the Panther Club and involvement with EIU athletics. I never dreamed I would be a teacher at Eastern, but when the opportunity arose, I immediately accepted the offer by then Chairman Doug Bock. He helped me in so many ways, both inside and outside the classroom. Additionally, I believe Eastern affords students a great education at an affordable price. In these uncertain economic times, I fully realize that students are stressed to the maximum, and if I can assist just one student-athlete, then I know I have contributed positively to my university.

Again, I must thank Karla (Evans) Watson for directing me in making out my will and the resulting scholarship. I knew I wanted to do something for Eastern, but I didn't know exactly what. She provided the necessary paper-work and who I needed to contact in order to make scholarship a reality. Also, EIU Athletic Director Barbara Burke played an instrumental role in the establishment of this scholarship.

Making this gift was not difficult. Granted, living on a pension after my teaching career, I sometimes find my financial status somewhat stressed. But if a person wants to do something bad enough (financially), it can be obtained through careful planning with what resources I have. In fact, I wish I could do more for the athletic department. If one wants to do something bad enough, a way can be found.

I would encourage others considering this to do it. The reason I wanted to name this scholarship is because maybe a former student or colleague might run across it and see whom it is named after, and they too might contribute financially to the Panther Club or the EIU Foundation. I've often heard that one person can't make a difference, but I don't agree with this assertion one bit. A 10,000 mile journey begins with a single step, and through planned giving, one individual can most certainly make that difference. And just knowing you have helped someone is indeed a great feeling.

My years at Eastern, both in undergrad and graduate years, along with being a faculty member, has provided me more impetus to help my university in any way I can. My association with Eastern and its positive effect on me is something I'll cherish forever. And one last thing: GO BLUE!


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