News & Updates

Family ties

Bradley University gave so much to Barbara Brown – two degrees, lifelong friends, a job as Bradley Hilltopics editor and then in the development office, and the sisterhood of Chi Omega sorority.

It was only natural that she and her family give back to Bradley, says Brown, a resident of nearby Morton.

“My family places a very high value on education and we understand that not everyone can go to Bradley without a scholarship,” Brown says. “And we like kids and education.”

Support from Brown, her family and her friends provides Bradley students with two annual scholarships, the Kenneth Black scholarship and the Edith Black scholarship, both in honor of her parents who graduated from Bradley in the mid-1930s.

Upon her mother’s death, Brown and her family gave memorial money contributed by friends to Bradley University. Kenneth Black provided the funds to create an endowed scholarship. Over time, friends of the Black family continued to support the general scholarship, which is not restricted by major or year in school.

During his life, Kenneth Black set up a planned gift to Bradley University, which funded the general scholarship upon his death.

As a representative of her family and the generous donors who contributed to the fund, Barb Brown met the two scholarship recipients this year at Bradley’s annual scholarship luncheon. The event connects donors to the students they support.

“It just is fun for us to see the school and to see how we are helping some really outstanding students who excel in both academics and extracurricular activities,” Brown says.

The recipients of the Black scholarships this year are roommates and nursing majors. Tiffany Williams, a junior from Evergreen Park, Ill., credits the scholarship for helping her afford her education.

“Coming from a single parent home, any opportunity for support is amazing and I am really grateful for all the alumni who support students,” she says. “It was nice to meet and get to know the donors and thank them personally.”

Gloria Hui, a senior from Chicago, has received the Kenneth Black scholarship for three years. Prior to receiving the assistance, she worked part-time to afford her education.

“With this scholarship, I have more time to study and do what I want to do,” she says. “And it’s really good to see Barbara Brown again. She knows what’s going on in my life and asks about my future and my plans. It’s encouraging.”

Brown also has contributed to the annual Chi Omega scholarship, which was set up in 1997 for the 50th anniversary of the current Chi Omega chapter’s beginning on campus. Brown, her mother and her daughter all belonged to Chi Omega during their time at Bradley.

“I didn’t realize as an undergraduate that the sorority truly is a lifelong affiliation,” Brown says. “I had a very wonderful experience as an undergraduate and alumna.”

Helen Campbell founded the Chi Omega scholarship with four other women, including Marilyn Burton of Peoria, who attended the scholarship luncheon. Burton says the women, who also included Marion Hardin, Edith Anderson and Gloria Long, wanted to continue the strong tradition of Chi Omega on campus and support its current members.

“Bradley is unique,” she says. “The old alums are so loyal.”

When the Chi Omega award first began, recipients received a couple of hundred dollars. Today, they receive about $3,000 annually.

Roxy Geier, a senior elementary education math major from Pekin, is this year’s recipient.

”I’ve been able to afford an education at a private school,” she says. “That means a lot. I love meeting alumni and hearing them share their stories.”

The attitude of giving has inspired the current crop of students to consider giving back once they become alumni.

Says Hui:  “I hope I can give a scholarship in the future.”