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Honors Program benefits from alumni gift

November 8, 2011
Cindi and Earl Rachwicz

Cindi and Earl Rachowicz

As more students express an interest in participating in the Northern Illinois University Honors Program a recent announcement of a substantial financial gift to the program by two NIU alumni should help foster future opportunities for students engaged in honors studies.

Earl and Cindi Rachowicz of Evanston have designated the University Honors Program as the recipient of a $50,000 matching gift.

The Rachowicz Giving Challenge involves a pledge from Mr. and Mrs. Rachowicz to match any new or increased financial gift to the Honors Program up to $10,000 per year for a period of five years. The gift was announced Oct. 12 at an event held for Honors alumni and prospective students at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Approximately 200 people attended the October event.

“Both Cindi and I have very fond memories of the Honors Program from our time as students at Northern,” said Earl Rachowicz, who graduated from NIU in 1973 with a degree in accountancy. “We’ve contributed to the accountancy program and the music program over the years, and we feel it’s the right time to do something significant for Honors.”

The University Honors Program has grown by 19 percent over the last year and now stands at 1,063 students.

Christopher Jones, associate vice provost for University Honors, believes the Rachowicz gift will not only help facilitate planned expansion of the program but will also encourage additional financial support from NIU alumni and supporters of the university’s honors initiatives.

“NIU is committed to improving special programming and academic opportunities for our honors students,” Jones said. “The Rachowiczes’ generous gift will help to perpetuate the mission of the University Honors Program and hopefully will inspire others to consider contributing their support to providing the best possible academic opportunities to students here at NIU.”

The Honors Program, along with the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, announced in October that its living-learning community, the Honors House, will move from Douglas Hall to the new residential complex when the building opens for occupancy in August, 2012.

Earl Rachowicz acknowledges that exciting things are happening for the NIU Honors Program, and he hopes it gets more people involved in supporting honors students. “Whether it’s small dollars or big dollars we just want to get people motivated to help outstanding students at NIU.”

Jones said that the university will reach out to alumni and friends of the NIU Honors Program starting this month, and the program will extend its outreach throughout the academic year.