Few people may recall a time in Chicago history when girls were not allowed to participate in organized interscholastic sports. Sue Doody remembers it well.
As a young girl growing up on the city's South Side in the 1940s, Sue was interested in a variety of sports, ranging from volleyball to basketball. While her gender prohibited her from playing on school-based teams, it never hindered her from taking part in sports. Eager to hone her skills on the courts and fields, she participated in park district sports and joined a number of faith-based teams (the only available competition for girls), nurturing her natural talent among Baptists, Catholics, and Methodists alike.
Her path to NIU was paved in high school where her favorite physical education teacher was an NIU alumna. "NIU was always my top choice," Sue says. She had decided on her career early and, true to form, declared physical education as her major. When deciding what organization would be named beneficiary of a commercial annuity, NIU was her top choice again.
Sue has fond memories of her time at NIU. Despite the 9 p.m. curfews and 11 p.m. "lights out," she says the strict guidelines set the scene for a vibrant learning community and fostered friendships that she still cherishes today.
Sue graduated in 1962 and earned advanced degrees in PE at UW-Madison and the University of Southern California. While she values the different perspectives and philosophies gained from other institutions, her heart has always held a special affection for the Huskies. "NIU is an outstanding teacher education school," she says proudly. "I knew when I left there I was ready to go into the classroom."
Following her studies, she settled at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where she taught for more than 20 years before retiring in 2000. Known for her extensive knowledge of physical education and her passion for the field, Sue served as adviser and mentor to scores of students, including one who became Iowa Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
Although she gives annually to NIU, Sue yearned to do something even more lasting to reflect the deep sense of gratitude she had for the institution that launched her illustrious academic career. The annuity proved a uniquely beneficial choice for all, as it provides her with a stream of steady payments during her lifetime and will ultimately ensure opportunities for Huskies yet to come. "I appreciate the education I received at NIU," she explains. "It set the stage for everything that followed."
As she looks forward to NIU's future, Sue holds high hopes for the home of the Huskies as it charges forward with what she sees as its threefold mission of teaching, research, and service. With the support of exceptional alumni like Sue, her alma mater's future is bright indeed.