In 1979, after Barbara Rawlings transferred into Sangamon State University (now UIS), she received the first scholarship offered to an athlete on Sangamon State University’s new tennis team. (Read the announcement of her decision to join the team at right—Sangamon State University Journal, Volume 7, Number 19, April 6, 1979.)
Today, Barbara Rawlings Schwartz (BA ’80 EHS) is director of Illinois’ “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” program, where she helps locate resources, information, and support for children in Illinois who live with relatives other than their parents.
Her husband, Michael Schwartz (MA ’80 EHS), earned his master’s at SSU in educational administration. After serving in Illinois government under three governors, he is currently Chairman of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, which provides about $10 billion in benefits to approximately 550,000 retirees each year.
In a wonderful demonstration of support extending from generation to generation, Barbara and Michael have generously created a scholarship for UIS transfer students with financial need.
Each year, as they renew their current-use scholarship, they find it particularly fulfilling to be helping young people achieve their educational goals. “I would encourage anyone who asked me about how to give their money,” Michael says, “to do a scholarship because then you know specifically where your gift is going, and you get to see the face of the student you are helping.”
Barbara agrees. “The letters we have received (from recipients) have been heartwarming and inspirational. It’s a gift to hear their appreciation and to learn how the scholarship has affected their lives.”