NIU benefactors donate $1M to University Honors Program

By Meaghen Harms

Two longtime NIU benefactors donated $1 million to the NIU University Honors Program.

John and Nancy Castle, a local businessman and NIU professor of rehabilitative counseling (respectively), donated the money to help honors students to study overseas.

“The money is to be used by honors students for travel abroad, preferably as part of the NIU study abroad programs,” said Daniel Kempton, director of the University Honors Program. “It can also be used by faculty to create study abroad opportunities.”

NIU President John Peters announced the gift during remarks at the Honors Program’s 40th anniversary reception April 8, according to NIU Today.

Kempton said he was excited about this opportunity for honors students.

“The honors program is a jewel of NIU,” Kempton said. “This is particularly good for bright students of limited means.”

The money will be put in a charitable expendable trust.

“A charitable trust means that we will not get the money until Mr. Castle passes away,” Kempton said. “It is also an expendable trust, meaning that we can use the primary money and not just what is made off of it.”

The details are still being finalized by John Castle, Kempton said.

The reasons for donating the money are two-fold.

“John is committed to the idea of international experiences,” Nancy Castle said. “I also became familiar with what the honors program does when I was offered the opportunity to be interim director of the honors program.”

The Castles are longtime donors of NIU. In 2004, they donated $200,000 to construct a faculty library at the Barsema Alumni and Visitor Center.