Longtime DeKalb residents Dorothy G. O’Brien and Genevieve A. O’Brien grew up on a farm south of DeKalb. The sisters were very grateful for their educational opportunities and life experiences and have left a legacy which reflects that. Genevieve O’Brien went on to marry Ed Vrba, and through a testamentary trust they established the O’Brien-Vrba Scholarship Trust which has been benefiting students for 30 years.
“Dorothy, Gen (’42 COE) and Gen’s husband, Ed, (’50 CLAS) would be proud that their scholarship is supporting students here at NIU in DeKalb where they chose to spend their entire lives,” Judy Schneider, associate director for Planned Giving at NIU and family friend, said. “It was important to them to enrich the lives of the young people they came in contact with. Now, through their generosity, they are able to continue helping so many others through this award.”
Approximately 30 scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each are available for the 2019-2020 academic year for undergraduate students in their junior or senior year or graduate-level students who are enrolled full time at an accredited four-year college or university. Students must be in good academic standing and have a grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
Any student who graduated from one of the nine DeKalb County high schools is eligible to apply for the O’Brien-Vrba Scholarship. Students who hail from a rural community – defined as population of less than 2,500 people – in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa or Wisconsin are also eligible to apply.
In addition, the annual adjusted gross income of a family must to be less than $100,000.
NIU alumnus, Ian Kidd, was a recipient of the O’Brien-Vrba Scholarship before graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2018. Kidd, of Sycamore, said he was appreciative of the scholarship that he earned for two years because it allowed him to limit the amount of loans he needed to finish his degree.
“The student loans are more manageable, and I am not stressing out,” Kidd said, who is working for an engineering firm in Warrenville. “I would suggest that students apply to any scholarship that they qualify for because it’s worth the effort.”
Students who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply by the Monday, April 15, deadline. The $3,000 O’Brien-Vrba Scholarship is renewable for a second year as long as the student is in good standing. Please note, the scholarship amount is subject to change.