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Red and Black Gala to raise funds for student scholarships

November 1, 2017

As the curtain opens at the 2017 Red and Black, guests will experience all the energy and excitement they’ve come to expect from the NIU Foundation’s signature gala. As always, the evening will feature the stories of the university’s talented, grateful students and the generous alumni and donors who stand behind them.

This year, the audience will also hear from three NIU faculty members, who will share their ground-breaking projects and research as part of the evening’s program. D. Scott Sibley, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, will describe his research on young adult decision-making regarding romantic relationships. Professor Barrie P. Bode, department chair of biological sciences, will discuss his cancer research, and Stacy Kelly, associate professor, special education, will share information about a new specialization in teaching children who are visually impaired.

The audience will enjoy performances from several members of the College of Visual and Performing Arts including theatrical performances from Stanton Davis, Head of BFA Performance and Shannon Coltrane, MFA (’18) as well as the students of the NIU Chamber Choir directed by Eric Johnson.

Also in the spotlight at the 2017 Red and Black will be the CME Group Foundation, this year’s recipient of the Northern Illinois University Foundation’s High Impact Philanthropy Award. CME was selected for the award for its CME Group Foundation Scholars program, funded by a $500,000 grant to NIU that provides scholarship support for two years to 13 Pell Grant-eligible undergraduate students. All students are from area community colleges, come from under-represented minorities and are interested in pursuing careers in the financial industry.

As CME Group Foundation scholars, the 13 students receive generous scholarships as well as research experiences, networking opportunities, leadership development, business etiquette instruction and personal branding workshops.

Longtime educator and philanthropist Marguerite Key will be honored with the NIU Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy. For 24 years, Key has provided consistent support to NIU, her alma mater, providing programs devoted to expanding the knowledge of educational leaders.

Proceeds from the evening will help meet an undeniable, campus-wide need: student scholarships.

Journalism major Eddie Garcia, who was presented a scholarship at last year’s gala, says the support was life-changing. “It was amazing to be surrounded by so much success,” he says. Garcia says the scholarship allowed him to trade his off-campus jobs in favor of jobs on campus related to his career goals in sports broadcast journalism.

The need for scholarships has never been greater. Last year, 84 percent of NIU students required some form of financial aid, and only 24 percent of them received scholarship support. Nationwide, 70 percent of students surveyed said financial aid is one of the most important considerations when choosing a college.

Once they come to NIU, scholarships keep students in school. In fact, nine out of 10 NIU Foundation scholarship recipients graduate.

The NIU Foundation Red and Black is Saturday, Nov. 18, at Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. To make a gift online or register to attend the Red and Black, visit