December 2019 - January 2020
In This Issue
  • Now Available: ACI's 2018-2019 Annual Report
  • ACI's Winter Work and Life Skills Boot Camp is Feb. 8 at Illinois Wesleyan University
  • ACI's Wealth Advisors Breakfast Jan. 16 Features Discussion of Building Client Relationships
  • ACI/150 Media Stream Digital Media Contest Entries Due Jan. 31
  • ACI Scholar: Ellie Anglin, Illinois College
  • ACI Peer Mentoring Program Participant: Rachel Abraham, North Park University
  • Aurora University Rejoins, Becomes 27th ACI Member
  • McKendree University Board Names Daniel C. Dobbins President 
  • ACI's Fall Conference Draws More Than 150 College Professionals for Learning, Networking
  • ACI Hosts Business and College Leaders for Discussions on Workplace Preparation
  • Bon Appetit Management Company Becomes ACI Corporate Partner
  • Please Save These Dates for Upcoming ACI Events!
  • ACI Welcomes Gifts to Support Students at Member Colleges and Universities
Now Available: ACI's 2018-2019 Annual Report 
This new report is filled with information about ACI, including ACI highlights, facts and figures, member colleges and universities, leadership, program descriptions, plus financial information, donors, and corporate partners and sponsors.
Highlighting our report are 13 student profiles featuring ACI scholarship recipients and Peer Mentoring Program leaders. Profiled are students from Concordia University Chicago, Dominican University, Elmhurst College, Eureka College, Illinois College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Lewis University, Monmouth College, North Central College, North Park University, Olivet Nazarene University, Quincy University and Saint Xavier University.
A limited number of printed copies are available. Please contact the ACI office at or 312-263-2391, ext. 0.
ACI's Winter Work and Life Skills Boot Camp is Feb. 8 at Illinois Wesleyan University
ACI's Winter Work and Life Skills Boot Camp is Feb. 8 at Illinois Wesleyan University.
ACI’s winter Work and Life Skills Boot Camp,"The Right Image, The Right Information," is set for Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois. The winter boot camp, the second of three planned for 2019-20, will focus on how students should apply for and "package" themselves for that critical first job, including interviewing skills and dressing for success. It will also include a financial literacy component.
ACI’s Work and Life Skills Boot Camps are funded through a First Opportunity Partners grant from the Council of Independent Colleges with support from the UPS Foundation, along with matching funds raised by ACI.
The boot camps are exclusive to ACI member colleges and universities and are targeted specifically to low-income, first-generation and students of color. The winter boot camp can accommodate up to 50 students. Registration is first-come, first-served and closes Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
Member campuses are asked to transport students to the boot camp in groups, and small transportation grants are available to defray expenses. For additional information, contact: Leslie Millenson, director, special projects, at
ACI's Wealth Advisors Breakfast Jan. 16 Features Discussion of Building Client Relationships
Rick Harig, Legacy Resources, LLC
ACI's third annual Wealth Advisors Breakfast Jan.16, features Rick Harig, right, certified financial planner and founder of Legacy Resources, LLC. The theme for Harig's remarks is "The Power of Questions for Securing Right-Fit Clients," focusing on enhancing financial relationships and engaging new clients.
Registration for this event is open through Jan. 13. Click here for details.
The complimentary breakfast is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St. Wealth advisors, financial analysts, business and community leaders should plan to attend. Introducing ACI and the program is Dr. Troy VanAken, president of ACI member Elmhurst College.
Harig served 12 years as a trusted resource for TIGER 21, a peer membership organization for high-net-worth entrepreneurs and investors. He has lived in Europe three times in his adult life. Today, he assists his clients in defining the destination and/or purpose for their wealth. 
ACI/150 Media Stream Digital Media Stream Contest Entries Due Jan. 31 
150 Media Stream, Chicago
The deadline to submit entries to the ACI/150 Media Stream Digital Media Stream Contest is Jan. 31. The contest, which opened in November 2019, aims to stimulate students' interest in digital media.
ACI member colleges and universities can each submit one entry. 150 Media Stream is a multi-faceted achievement in art, architecture and technology that explores the interplay of art, space and viewership in public and private contexts. At 150 N. Riverside, Chicago, 150 Media Stream is the only structure of its kind dedicated to showcasing local artists alongside renowned and emerging artists from around the world.
One winning team will be announced by Feb. 28. The winning ACI college or university team will earn a $3,000 scholarship from 150 Media Stream, have the opportunity to work with a world-known artist and display its work in a prestigious Chicago office lobby for two-to-four weeks. The winning entry will also be displayed on the 150 Media Stream and ACI websites, and it will be recognized at a fall 2020 reception when the work is displayed.
Entries should be submitted to Yuge Zhou, curator, 150 Media Stream, at yzhou@riversideid.comFor additional questions about participating, please contact Mick Weltman, ACI executive director at or 312-263-2391 ext. 1.
Ellie Anglin
Illinois College
Paccar Foundation Scholarship
Ellie Anglin, Illinois College
Ellie Anglin originally came to Illinois College in Jacksonville on a music scholarship. Now a junior, Anglin of Belleville, Illinois, eventually focused her studies on two personal interests: history and secondary education. "I have a lot of family members who are teachers," she says. "I look up to them." Anglin hopes to teach 7th and 8th grade students. As for history, Anglin says she likes documentaries, visiting museums and taking history classes.
Ideally, she'd like to teach history to secondary school students, and possibly move later into a different occupation. "I want to teach for a few years," Anglin says, "then I want to go get my master's and be a principal of a school." In fact, ACI member colleges and universities outpace the state's largest higher education institutions in the number of education majors who earn degrees.
Helping Anglin achieve her dreams is a Paccar Foundation Scholarship awarded to her through ACI. It happened after her father was hospitalized with pneumonia. Tests showed he was in kidney failure and unable to work, leaving Anglin's mother as the sole source of financial support for the family. 
The financial aid director at Illinois College, Becky Birdsell, contacted her about funding from ACI. "It kind of caught me by surprise because I hadn't really told anybody about the situation that I had, except for a couple of professors. So, when I got it, I was like, 'this is good. This is definitely going to help,'" Anglin says. "That's how I paid for tuition. So, it was a huge help. A huge help."
Anglin says she appreciates those who donate funds to make scholarships like hers possible. "You never know the students' situation. By donating you're going to help maybe one, two or three students stay in school, come out with a degree and go into the workforce," she says.
Rachel Abraham
North Park University
ACI Peer Mentoring Program
Rachel Abraham, North Park University
Rachel Abraham is in her second year of college at North Park University, Chicago. Abraham, from Skokie, Illinois, is the second in her family to attend college.
"I knew I wanted to be in a medical field," Abraham said, but she wasn't certain what profession to choose. After trying pharmacy classes and others, she eventually decided on a nursing major, one of the school's top majors. Abraham hopes to work as a pediatrics or obstetrics nurse, she says.
After attending the university's Compass program for first-year students, Abraham said she gained confidence, learning about the university and the college environment. She also became a mentee in ACI's Peer Mentoring Program at North Park.
"I had a really good connection with my mentor who graduated," she said. "We still have a good connection, we reach out to each other outside of school." Abraham says her mentor helped connect her with resources and people, and helped her resolve an issue in one of her classes.
Looking back on her first year, Abraham says the Peer Mentoring Program gave her "balance." "When you have a mentor, they have all the information for you, especially if you can relate with your major. It's a really good connection to make," she says. In addition, as a commuter, Abraham says the Compass program and the Peer Mentoring Program helped her to meet people at school, something she might not have done otherwise.
Abraham adds that she is grateful for donors who contribute to the Peer Mentoring Program because the support "can have a really big impact."
Aurora University Rejoins, Becomes 27th ACI Member
Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois
The ACI Board of Trustees approved Aurora University's application to rejoin ACI, effective Dec. 1, 2019. With the addition of Aurora, ACI's membership grew to 27 colleges and universities statewide. 
Aurora and its George Williams College campus were instrumental in the formation of ACI in 1952 and are both charter members.
Aurora University traces its origin to the 1893 founding of a seminary in Mendota, Illinois. Today, the university operates two primary campuses: a 37-acre campus in Aurora, Illinois and the 137-acre George Williams College on Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. Aurora offers more than 50 academic majors and enrolls 5,800 students, with a 17-1 student/faculty ratio. 
Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick has served as Aurora's president since 2000. She earned an undergraduate degree from ACI-member Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, and a doctorate from Northwestern University, Evanston.
McKendree University Board Names Daniel C. Dobbins President 
Interim presidents named at Blackburn College and Principia College
President Daniel C. Dobbins, McKendree University
Daniel C. Dobbins became the 33rd president of McKendree University, Lebanon, effective Jan. 1. He succeeded Dr. James M. Dennis, who announced his retirement as president earlier this year, leaving McKendree after 26 years of service.
Dobbins came to McKendree from Fiber Bond Corporation, Michigan City, Ind., where he was president since 2008. A 1981 graduate of McKendree University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Dobbins also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1985. In 1987, he became president of the McKendree University Alumni Association Board and joined the board of trustees. During his 32 years of service on the board, Dobbins was chair of the Resource Development Committee, chair of the Financial Affairs Committee and treasurer. He became vice chair of the board and in 2007, board chair, a position he held until 2015. In 1999, Dobbins received the Peter Akers Award, the most prestigious honor the McKendree Alumni Association bestows on an alumnus. McKendree University also conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Dobbins, a native of Pittsfield, Illinois. His wife, Michaelene (Mickey) is also a 1981 graduate of McKendree University and a donor, volunteer and former employee. They are the parents of one daughter.
In addition to President Dobbins' appointment at McKendree, two other ACI member colleges announced appointments of interim presidents:
  • Blackburn College, Carlinville, named Dr. John McClusky, provost, the school's  interim president. Dr. Julie Murray-Jensen resigned as president effective Dec. 19, 2019. 
  • Principia College, Elsah, named John W. Williams, J.D., professor of political science and Asian studies, Principia's interim president. Dr. Jolanda M. Westerhof resigned as president in October. Dr. Meggan Madden, provost, served briefly as acting president until Williams' appointment. 
ACI's Fall Conference Draws More Than 150 College Professionals for Learning, Networking
Among the speakers at ACI's Fall Conference was Andy Friedman, chief digital officer, WAI Investments.
Member college and university professional staff attending ACI's Fall Conference heard a strong case for broad-based liberal arts education, and learned helpful skills and ideas in a series of professional development sessions. The conference focused on staff working in advancement, finance, marketing and public relations, and student engagement roles.
Held Nov. 1, 2019, in Lisle, Illinois, the conference drew 152 attendees from 24 of ACI's member colleges and universities. A new round of professional development conferences is planned for June 2020.
In keynote remarks, Dr. S. Georgia Nugent, president of Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, and senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Washington, D.C., pointed out that liberal arts education has endured for centuries and will endure into the future.  She said that liberal arts has always included sciences, and she cited a number of studies that debunk suggestions that English, philosophy or psychology majors, for example, are unemployable. In fact, Nugent said, studies consistently show that over time, liberal arts majors do well and advance in their careers.
"Broad-based liberal arts learning seems to me more practical than ever, when we know that our graduates will not just change jobs, but change careers multiple times in their lives," Nugent said. "The marriage of rigorous liberal arts study with the possibility of professional training is the gold standard for future success."
ACI Hosts Business and College Leaders for Discussions on Workplace Preparation
At the ACI breakfast, education and business leaders discussed how they can work together to prepare students for successful careers.
Illinois business leaders, plus college and university leaders met Nov. 7, 2019, in Chicago for  discussions on how higher education institutions and employers can work together to prepare students for successful careers. About 30 attendees met at ACI's annual Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion Leaders Breakfast at the University Club of Chicago.
Attendees proposed forming an alliance of business and college leaders in Illinois to work on student career preparation, similar to an alliance in Maryland and Virginia of college and tech industry leaders. "Our shared goal is to better prepare students for the workplace," said Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner, who is spearheading the initiative. Thuswaldner is dean of arts and sciences and professor of humanities at North Park University, Chicago.
Breakfast participants engaged in table discussions, above, led by Renee Tucker Martinez, career education specialist at North Park. Among ideas that emerged for further consideration were an emphasis on communication and interviewing skills, being agile and responding to change, problem solving and lifelong learning. It was also suggested that faculty reach out to business leaders for ongoing conversation and invite businesses and colleges to form partnerships to develop curriculum.
In her remarks, President Mary K. Surridge of North Park University told the attendees that despite challenges in higher education – such as declining student populations, questions about the value of a college degree and affordability – ACI members can depend on each other. She also said college is both a temporary and significant time period for students. "Our job is to prepare them to leave us in a way that is strong, in a way that is deepened and experienced, but also inspired – inspired to step out into their communities and into their work lives and professions, and contribute," Surridge said. 
Bon Appétit Management Company Becomes ACI Corporate Partner
Bon Appetit Management CompanyACI welcomed Bon Appétit Management Company as our seventh corporate partner. Corporate partners provide significant funding for ACI's professional development conferences, and they offer products and services relevant to higher education. 
Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, California, the company operates more than 1,000 cafés in 33 states for dozens of marquee clients.
In addition to Bon Appétit, ACI's corporate partners include Baker Tilly, Michael Best, Paycor, PNC, RBO PrintLogistix and Sikich.
Please Save These Dates for Upcoming ACI Events!
  • Thursday, Jan. 16: Wealth Advisors Breakfast, University Club of Chicago 
  • Friday, April 17: ACI Presidents Forum, University Club of Chicago 
  • Friday, April 17: ACI Board of Trustees Annual Meeting, University Club of Chicago 
  • Friday, April 17: ACI Benefit Reception, University Club of Chicago 
  • Monday, June 8: ACI Spring Conference for member staff in advancement, finance and student engagement, Eureka College, Eureka, Illinois 
  • Sunday, June 14 to Tuesday, June 16: Midwest Roundtable on Talent, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
ACI Welcomes Gifts to Support Students at Member Colleges and Universities
ACI accepts gifts of cash, credit card donations and stock
We welcome financial gifts to support our mission and to make a difference for many underserved college students attending ACI-affiliated institutions across Illinois. To learn more, watch these students tell their stories, including how ACI scholarships make a difference in their lives.
ACI is a charitable organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to ACI are tax-deductible, as described in the Code. ACI welcomes cash gifts, online giving by credit card and gifts of stock. Stock gifts can be particularly beneficial because if the stock has increased in value from the time it was purchased, the owner can avoid paying capital gains tax by donating the stock – and the fair market value at the time of the contribution is deductible, subject to certain limits described in the Internal Revenue Code. Be sure to consult your tax advisor/preparer for definitive guidance before engaging in any transaction.
You may designate your gift for scholarships for first-generation, low-income college students, or for support of the ACI Peer Mentoring Program, which helps first-generation students through the critical first year in college on the way to earning a degree. You can also provide ACI Named Scholarships to deserving students in honor of individuals, businesses or organizations, or designate gifts for other ACI programs.
For more information about giving to ACI, contact Mick Weltman, ACI executive director, at 312-263-2391, ext. 1, or write to
ACI Member Colleges and Universities 
Augustana College - Aurora University - Benedictine University - Blackburn College
 Concordia University Chicago - Dominican University - Elmhurst College - Eureka College - Illinois College
 Illinois Wesleyan University - Judson University - Knox College - Lewis University - McKendree University
 Millikin University - Monmouth College - North Central College - North Park University
 Olivet Nazarene University - Principia College - Quincy University - Rockford University
St. Augustine College - Saint Xavier University - Trinity Christian College - University of St. Francis
Wheaton College

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