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Rick Ingram, '78: A Legacy of Opportunity

Rick Ingram, '78: A Legacy of Opportunity

By Stephen L. Kull

On April 13, 2012 we held our Annual Legacy Celebration on campus. Legacy Celebration recognizes our donors, philanthropy award winners and those in our giving societies. Rick Ingram '78 was recognized and pinned as a new member of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation Heritage Society.

The Heritage Society honors individuals who made the commitment to support the university, its students and its programs through planned gifts such as trusts, bequests from their estates and life insurance policies. In planning his estate, Rick decided to include EIU in his will by providing a bequest to fund a scholarship for LGBT students and allies.

Born & Raised in Charleston, Rick considers himself a proud "townie." Rick received his degree in political science in 1978. After EIU, Rick pursued a law degree from the University of Tennessee, where he received his J.D. in 1981. After working for a major law firm and a large national investment company, Rick became a partner in the law firm of Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. His areas of expertise include complex commercial real estate and governmental relations matters.

I asked Rick why he decided to leave his legacy to EIU in such a profound way.

Q. How would you describe your Eastern experience?

A. Eye-opening. Great friends made in student government and throughout the university. My mother, Ann, worked at the Student Union for many years and was known by nearly everyone on campus, so I had to behave—somewhat. Excellent faculty in the political science department gave me a great foundation for law school. Administrators were very supportive at the time of innovation and student involvement, which is a commitment President William Perry continues to this day.

Q. Who or what inspired you to make a gift to EIU through your estate plans?

A. My mother accepted everyone just as she found them, including me. Many LGBT kids don't have that kind of family support. Many more have been the target of bullying and discrimination in high school. Those kids need to know that it does get better and that there are people out there who support them and who want to help them succeed in the world. I am inspired by my late mother's example and the courage I see in young LGBT people who have the strength to be who they are born to be in a sometimes hostile world. These are the kids that will make things better for the next generation. I hope the LGBT scholarship fund will just be a little helping hand along the way.

Q. Was it difficult to make this gift?

A. Not really. The process is relatively painless and simple. It fit very well into my overall estate planning. The folks in the EIU philanthropy office are a pleasure to work with.

Q. What would you tell others who might be considering this type of gift?

A. Life is short. We have only a few opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others in a significant way. Those of us who have been blessed with those opportunities are obliged to act on them for the good of future generations. Do it today!

Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?

A. For many students, EIU represents a whole new world of learning and challenges and opportunities. They may be the first in their family to go to college. Students have their own dreams and aspirations, and many carry the dreams and aspirations of their family as well. I can't think of a better place than EIU for them to begin to realize those dreams and start down the path on becoming all that they can be. Go, EIU!

Every panther needs a legacy! Anyone can do this, regardless of the size of the gift. To learn more about how you can leave your legacy through a bequest to the Eastern Illinois University Foundation, feel free to send me an email at slkull@eiu.edu or call Stephen L. Kull. We look forward to hearing from you.

To read more about different ways to support our mission, click here.