John and Margaret M. Christiano
John and Margaret M. Christiano established a scholarship to help nontraditional students return to graduate school. Initially established with a cash gift, the scholarship is continually funded from a charitable gift annuity.
They know they made a good decision. "NIU gave us the opportunity to develop our academic careers, and we are very grateful," John says.
John came to the United States from Italy when he was just 10 years old. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a faculty member for 20 years. In 1959, he came to NIU as a professor of mathematics and helped establish a strong program. NIU had recently gone from a teachers' college to a university. John says, "I knew there was a future here and a lot of work to be done. I like to think I helped move the university forward."
Margaret, who was born in Iowa, followed her dream to become a nurse. Early in her career she was a maternity unit supervisor, instructor and a nurse anesthetist. She received a certificate of advanced graduate studies in nursing from Boston University. In 1968, she came to NIU and helped develop a graduate program that targeted those who couldn't attend school full time.
John and Margaret met at NIU after John's wife, Mary, died in 1978. He and his three children were members at Newman Catholic Student Center, as was Margaret.
The Christianos retired in 1982, but their ties to NIU remain strong. "We are proud of Northern and of the job it is doing to educate students like Nadine."
In 2000, the couple established an irrevocable charitable remainder trust that will, upon their deaths, support an endowed scholarship for gifted undergraduate students in mathematics and the sciences.
Northern Illinois University has designated the NIU Foundation as the charitable organization to receive and manage all gifts on its behalf.
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