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NIU Honors Program receives major gift

April 15, 2011

NIU faculty and students engaged in honors now have enhanced opportunities to study abroad thanks to a substantial financial gift to the NIU Honors Program.

John and Nancy Castle of DeKalb have designated the university’s Honors Program as the recipient of $1 million through a charitable remainder unitary trust. NIU President John Peters announced the gift Friday, April 8, during remarks at the Honors Program’s 40th anniversary reception at Maggiano’s restaurant in Oak Brook.

While Northern is committed to improving programming for honors students, Peters said he believes that external funding and support are also vital to the continued success of the university’s Honors Program.

“My Vision 2020 effort has highlighted the importance of encouraging the pursuit of international studies as a way to prepare world citizens. The Castle gift furthers this directive,” Peters said.

John Castle hopes the additional financial support encourages students and faculty to seek further engagement in the international community.

“The Honors Program gives students who are very bright, very curious, who have a lot of imagination the opportunity to grow and flourish,” Castle said. “If they can grow and flourish in an international environment, I think it’s even better.”

President Peters also acknowledged Honors Program director Daniel Kempton for his efforts to emphasize the importance of real-world learning and global educational experiences, while also focusing on increasing alumni engagement.

“Dr. Kempton’s efforts have dovetailed with my Vision 2020 for the university’s future, which calls for Northern’s continued development into the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest,” Peters said. “It is a vision integral to NIU’s future, and one that can be realized when we gather around a cause as worthy as the Honors Program.”