Couple Begins Their Journey at NIU
Mark, B.A. ’78, and Sharon Adams, B.S. ’77, are using their will to ensure their connection to NIU lasts beyond their lifetimes.
As students at the same high school, Mark and Sharon Adams didn't have occasion to talk very often, but they had more in common than they realized.
Both Mark and Sharon had grown up in families with six children. Each of them chose to attend Northern Illinois University, and they both became familiar with the financial challenges families can face when paying for college.
"Mark and I worked hard to pay for college," Sharon explains. "We hope our bequest to NIU will make it a little bit easier for future students."
Their estate gift will establish the Mark and Sharon Adams Education Scholarship Endowment. The meritbased scholarship will be awarded to incoming freshmen majoring in education at NIU.
This Woodstock, Illinois, couple appreciates the solid education NIU provided.
"It was one of the best things I ever did," says Mark, B.A. '78, a political science major with an emphasis in secondary education. Today, Mark helps manage Deal Mold Polishing in McHenry.
Sharon, B.S. '77, an education major, recently retired after teaching 34 years in Rockford Diocese schools. She says NIU gave her a "good background to be a successful teacher and to feel comfortable going into any situation."
NIU did more, though, than start these graduates on their career paths-it also gave them the start to their love story.
Mark and Sharon knew of each other during their years at Marian Central Catholic High School, Woodstock, but had never really been acquainted. That changed the day they ran into each other in NIU's Watson Hall-Sharon coming out of her Spanish class and Mark going into his. "We talked a lot on the bench near the east ground floor door of Watson," Mark says.
"We got to know each other there, married in 1979, and are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year."
That deep connection to NIU is something the couple will be able to maintain through the gift in their will.
"Our lives began together at NIU and we continue to be involved at NIU in different capacities," Mark says. "It just seems natural that since NIU has always been a part of us, now we will always be a part of NIU."
"We feel good about the decision," Sharon adds. "It makes us feel good to help other students achieve their goals and dreams."