Alumni center receives gift

By Mike Morig and Casey Toner

Fundraising for the new Alumni and Visitors Center recently received a boost when former NIU secretary Sally Stevens gave a “leadership gift” to the new project.

Stevens served as secretary to six NIU presidents over the span of 32 years before she retired in 1996.

A leadership gift is classified as a donation of more than $100,000. Stevens’ gift moves the alumni closer to the goal of raising $6.2 million.

Stevens said she is delighted to donate the money.

“I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and go to sleep with a smile on my face,” Stevens said. “It means a lot more to me to give it now rather than leave it when I’m gone.”

Stevens graduated from Lake Forest College and said she hasn’t ruled out a donation to it. But after working at NIU for more than three decades, she says she holds NIU just as near and dear to her heart.

Mike Malone, vice president of University Relations and Development, said Stevens’ gift was unexpected.

“This gift represents an immense act of faith in the university,” Malone said. “It demonstrates that she believes in the project and what it can do in the future.”

Stevens said she donated the money to this particular project because of the building’s versatility. NIU officials plan on using the building to recruit new students as part of the orientation program.

The main conference room at the new Alumni and Visitors Center will bear Stevens’ name in honor of her generous donation, something Malone said will allow her legacy to live on forever.