Transforming Lives logo

"Thank you for helping us
transform the lives of our students."

Presidential signature

Thanks to you, we made it happen!

$ 12878881

Through the generous support from our alumni and friends, Northeastern was able to make giant leaps to advance the University. We were able to surpass our initial goal of $10 million and our stretch goal of $12 million. We were able to accomplish several firsts and increase the number of scholarships by establishing several new ones.

Donor Type Breakdown

Donor type breakdown piechart

Firsts of Their Kind for Northeastern

First Student Veterans Scholarships
The Mueller Family, USMC, Veterans Memorial Scholarship

First Endowment for a Faculty Position
Bernard J. Brommel Endowment in Communication, Media and Theatre

First Biology Scholarship
The A. Michael Drachler, M.D. Biology Scholarship

First Faculty Research Scholarship
The Janet Lerner Faculty Research Scholarship

By the Numbers

Total Number of Donors


Number of New Donors


Number of Gifts


Number of New Scholarships


Endowment Increase


Committed Dollars Received


About the Campaign

Join us as we celebrate the success of Northeastern’s first-ever fundraising campaign, Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Northeastern Illinois University.

About Transforming Lives

Northeastern has come a long way since 1867.

Every year since then, our Golden Eagle alumni have found success in virtually every discipline. They are business leaders, scientists, educators, physicians and political leaders, professional artists and musicians, scholars, community builders and innovators. We are very proud of who they are and honored to have shaped who they’ve become.

As we conclude our first-ever fundraising campaign, we reflect on how this significant milestone will impact our current and future students thanks to you, our alumni and friends. It has been a meaningful journey and we could not have done it alone. Now our students have a stronger foundation of scholarship opportunities and access to exceptional learning environments. We thank you.

Extraordinary Scholarship Support

Scholarships support for our deserving undergraduate and graduate students is vitally important to help them access an excellent education, regardless of need, and to keep debt low as they complete their degrees.

Learn more about scholarships.

Exceptional Learning Environments

Thoughtfully developed Northeastern facilities foster achievement, enhance well being, aid growth, encourage community spirit and support transformation. Amenities and technology-rich improvements to our learning environments support research, scholarship and campus life for students, faculty and staff.

Learn more about learning environment resources.

Making an Impact

See and hear some of our greatest success stories!

Margo Odiko-Pim

B.A. ’18 Psychology

Margo Odiko-Pim graduated in December 2017, but her work with Northeastern Illinois University did not end there. As a Psychology major, Odiko-Pim conducted research on black children’s perceptions of who is fit to be a leader. That effort earned her a $1,000 Student Travel Award scholarship from the NEIU Foundation to present her research at the 48th Annual Conference of the Jean Piaget Society in Amsterdam in the summer of 2018. The experience was cultural, educational and unforgettable.

See more of Margo's story

Byron Terry

M.A. ’18 Inner City Studies

When Byron Terry earned a Class Gift Scholarship, the award came as a tremendous relief. The $450 scholarship helped to pay for books, supplies and fees. “It basically filled the gap that I wasn’t able to cover being a full-time student,” Terry said. Before accepting the scholarship, Terry happily agreed to participate in a new program that encourages Northeastern students to help fellow students. It’s called the Student Philanthropy Initiative, and it’s gaining traction at Northeastern.

See more of Byron's story


Wanda Nguyen

Biology student

Wanda has a brilliant smile, but she hasn’t always been quick show it. As a child, she was teased by her classmates for having crooked teeth. Now, after treatment, she is on the verge of earning her degree and pursuing a career as—what else?—an orthodontist.

See more of Wanda's story


Oscar Ramirez

Secondary Education student

Oscar never had a Latino teacher growing up, but that all changed when the son of Guatemalan immigrants enrolled at Northeastern. Now Oscar is closing in on his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and aspires to expand opportunities for Latino youth in culturally and linguistically responsive ways.

See more of Oscar's story


Alicia Mendoza

B.S. ’16 Marketing and current M.B.A. student

Alicia is a student leader and academic all-star whose hard work has paid off with critical scholarship money. Alicia has led or participated in at least a half-dozen student organizations, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2016. Now she is back in class to pursue her M.B.A.

See more of Alicia's Story


Chaelecia Cooper

B.A. ’05 Board of Governors and M.A. ’15 Inner City Studies

A single mother of four, Chaelecia struggled with the day-to-day responsibilities of work, school, life and motherhood. With the help of critical scholarship assistance, Chaelecia was able to relax, focus on her studies and earn a master’s degree. Chaelecia now is following her passion to support minority students.

See more of Chaelecia's story


Max Caviness

Political Science student

Max is about to earn a bachelor’s degree with the help of a Chuck Kane Scholarship, but his educational journey is far from over. Max grew up in the state’s capital city with a burning desire to make a difference. He plans to pursue a law degree before entering Illinois politics.

See more of Max's story


Maureen Gillette and Kim Zinman

Former Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education Dean Maureen Gillette and her sister, Kim Zinman, wanted to memorialize Kim’s husband after his passing from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In less than a year, they raised enough money to endow the Mark Zinman Scholarship for Special Education.

See more of Maureen's and Kim's story

Anthony Smith

Biology student

Anthony is studying the use of nanomedicine to detect and treat cancer at the cellular level. Nobody is more surprised by his career path than Anthony, who discovered Biology while earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology.

See more of Anthony's story

"Today we measure the success of this challenge in dollars and cents. In time, we will measure it in the number of lives transformed."

Daniel L. Goodwin, B.A. Elementary Education - Psychology

Thank You from Our Campaign Co-Chairs

We would like to thank the Golden Eagle family and friends that have come together to support Northeastern. Thank you for transforming the lives of our students.

Dear Friends of Northeastern,

Transforming Lives, Northeastern Illinois University’s inaugural fundraising campaign, is successfully completed. Thank you for your support and that of nearly 6,000 donors who made this possible.  

These past few years, we have witnessed the generosity of Northeastern’s community. All told, Northeastern raised $12.87 million in support of students, faculty, and programs, exceeding the $10 million goal in an astonishing way. You all helped accomplish this. Through challenging times with the two-year state budget impasse and through celebratory times, Golden Eagles were unrelenting pioneers.

In the time-frame of the campaign, the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation endowment has grown 74% from $6.6 million to $11.5 million. This is an extraordinary accomplishment.

For the three of us, our lives are inextricably linked with Northeastern. We deeply appreciate the stories of others whose lives have also been touched by NEIU and who have demonstrated their dedication through philanthropy. Here are a few examples from the campaign:

  • A generous couple gave $150,000 in honor of the University’s 150th anniversary.  
  • A gentleman gave $50,000 in memory of his wife, a professor emerita, to support faculty research in special education.
  • A graduate of the Biology Department, who recently retired from his 40-year career as an OB/GYN, began the first endowed scholarship for Biology students with his gift of $20,000.
  • A dedicated volunteer surprised us with a $50,000 gift to support a scholarship for undocumented students and an endowment for El Centro.
  • A proud alumna, expressing her deep appreciation of her alma mater, made a gift of $25,000 to establish a scholarship in education.
  • A young couple, one of whom was on staff, began a $20,000 endowed scholarship for student veterans.
  • More than 488 students made gifts to support fellow students and made donations to the student food pantry.
  • A beloved professor emeritus created the first endowed faculty position in family communication.
  • Our new president began a new scholarship in memory of her parents.
  • Finally, the Goodwin Gift Challenge to raise $500,000 in matching dollars in 2016, 2017, and 2018, was achieved earlier each year.

There are many more stories and many more firsts that collectively made Transforming Lives possible. What is equally important is the impact their giving has had and will continue to have on the future of the University.

At every commencement ceremony, at every alumni event, through every opportunity and in every way, we have seen the power of Northeastern’s mission in student access and success. With the conclusion of this campaign, we have achieved a base of support that makes the future even brighter for the work we do and the students we serve.


We are a stronger NEIU, and this is because of you.

Sharon Hahs

Sharon K. Hahs

President Emerita Sharon K. Hahs has always been deeply committed to ensuring that students are well-prepared for leadership and service in a global society. During her tenure, she bolstered the national profile of the University, earning distinctions like Newsweek's 6th best investment, U.S. News and World Report's Least Debt Upon Graduation, and top rankings for graduation of ethnically diverse students. She is also a member of the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation Board.

2007 – 2016

Salme Harju Steinberg

Salme Harju Steinberg

President Emerita Salme Harju Steinberg is known for her commitment to diversity in the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students, and integrating the fine arts and international education into the university experience. As President Emerita, she continues her work to support quality education opportunities for first-generation students. She serves on various non-profit boards that support the arts and education. She is also a member of the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation Board.

1995 – 2007

Daniel L. Goodwin

Daniel L. Goodwin

Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Daniel L. Goodwin is a graduate of Northeastern. He is also the first person to have a Northeastern college named in his honor, the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education. Mr. Goodwin is Chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, a national commercial real estate organization headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois.

B.A. 1966, Psychology and Education
Chairman, NEIU Board of Trustees, 1996 - 2006

Northeastern is ready, it is worthy, and the time is now.
Let us continue to work together to transform lives.

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