The NIU Connection
Contributor: Cassandra Young

My best friend went to the same university as her father and her seven siblings. For my friend, it was a no-brainer; she had to attend the university. It was her legacy.

It's not always so clear cut for the rest of us. NIU graduates from the 1980s who now have children entering college may not be feeling the need to encourage an NIU legacy. Why is this happening? After all, NIU is a great school and always has been. NIU is a viable option for many types of students, with varying areas of interest from across the globe. While our legacy tradition could be stronger, we do have an education that is clearly well worth its investment.

The NIU College of Business ranks in the top third (No. 45) of Businessweek's list of "Top Undergraduate B-Schools for ROI" with a return-on-investment of $4.74 in salary earned per annual tuition dollar spent. The rankings measure the cost of tuition versus the lifetime salary earnings and our program is ranked as one of the best return on investments when compared to other business schools in the state of Illinois.

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Read profiles below of some parents and children who attended NIU and find out how they encouraged legacy.

View other "bests" for NIU College of Business

Find out about NIU Legacy Scholarships

The NIU Legacy:
Two Fathers Talk and Find Out their Children ARE Listening
Contributor: Lia Gillet

Parents of teenagers often ask themselves, "Is my kid listening? Is anything I am saying having an impact?" 1981 NIU College of Business graduates and fathers Marty Oosterbaan and Ralph Strozza believe so. They've been sharing their NIU triumphs, failures, and some "good old college days" stories with their kids, who on their own, decided to attend NIU.

Ralph Strozza explains, "Sharing personal experiences, both positive and negative, is a critical responsibility for every parent. Sharing the legacy helps children to understand what made us who we are and guides them in their own journey as they receive diplomas and embark upon their own life experiences." Both Ralph's son and daughter are graduates of NIU, and since they both majored and minored in the same disciplines as he, Ralph's stories were especially relevant and allowed his children a different perspective on their academic experiences. And when his son was assigned the dorm room next to the one he had studied and slept in, the stories became even more real.

Marty Oosterbaan was pleased that his daughter and two of his three sons came to NIU. "For me, NIU is where the possibilities in this world come into focus, and I want my children to take maximum advantage of that so they can go forward in their lives with confidence." Marty believes sharing his legacy helps to provide his children with perspective "about what's really important and how the passage of time changes one's priorities." He feels it can also help to "take some of the stress off, keep things in balance, and encourage fun along the way."

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Then vs. Now at NIU

Best Dorm

Then: Douglas and Stevenson
Now:  Gilbert and New Residence Hall

Best Restaurant

Then: Hannigan's Pizza
Now:  Fatty's

Best Hot Spot

Then: McCabe's, Red Lion, The Uprising
Now:  Fatty's and Molly's

Do you have a legacy story to share? Email us at

Distinguished Donor Profile - Dr. Geoff Gordon

Dr. Geoff Gordon, NIU College of Business Marketing Department Chair, is seen as a leader among faculty, students and alumni. Many have found a mentor, friend, and coach in Dr. Gordon. He has always been someone to go above and beyond to help—sharing his time, talent, resources, and dollars. A President's Circle Member, Dr. Gordon is enthusiastic about alumni and faculty giving. “NIU has provided me with a lot of benefits—a great job, good working environment, good friends, and an opportunity to teach great students. It is my belief you need to lead by example and by giving, I hope to encourage others to do also.”

As department chair, Dr. Gordon directs time to increase alumni support and involvement. “Currently, less than 10% of College of Business alumni donate back to the department and college. We can improve that. If each graduate could donate $50 their first year after graduating and then $100 or more annually thereafter, the college and varied departments would be able to provide so much more support for student travel, student activities, building enhancements, scholarships, faculty activities, and technology.” Dr. Gordon believes that graduates should take the time to step back and recognize the opportunities and benefits provided to them during their time at the College of Business; and if more did just that, there may be greater donations back to the college.

Giving seems to be ingrained in Dr. Gordon. Upon learning that an active and contributing member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) was taking 15 hours of classes and working a full-time job to support their way through college, Dr. Gordon followed up with the student and discovered that the student's father had recently lost his job and could no longer help pay tuition. Dr. Gordon did not want to see the student fall behind in the classroom by working too many hours. He then did something remarkable; He helped. Dr. Gordon regularly supports ongoing needs as they arise in order to help students succeed in academics and life.

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Vol. 2, Issue 10            October   2013

Upcoming Events

October 12, 2013
NIU Football Homecoming
DeKalb, IL - Photos Here

October 18, 2013
OM&IS Alumni Event
Rockit Bar & Grill - Chicago
See Photos

October 29, 2013
MBA Colloquium
Naperville, IL

November 6, 2013
Distinguished Donor Event
Rich Harvest Farms
Sugar Grove, IL

November 21, 2013
NIU Rockford
BOE Speaker Series
Fostering an Ethical Work Environment
NIU Rockford Campus

December 3, 2013
MBA Economic Outlook Luncheon

December 5, 2013
Finance Networking Event
Wintrust Financial
Rosemont, IL

For details or to Register

Donors are key to our success. You help provide day-to-day essentials in the classroom, scholarship awards for hard-working students, and program and faculty support. You impact every facet of the university, and the entire NIU community is grateful for your generosity as one of our distinguished donors.

Dean's Circle Members are recognized by giving $1,000 - $4,999 annually.

President's Circle Members are recognized by giving $5,000 and above annually.

Founders Forum Members are cumulative lifetime donors of $50,000 and above.

View College of Business
Dean's Circle Members

(a/o 8/31/13)

View College of Business President's Circle Members
(a/o 8/31/13)

Thank you for your support.

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