Amy and Rick Ridnour
It doesn't take long to see that Rick and Amy Ridnour have found an enviable balance in their relationship of 47 years.
Rick, who teaches marketing at NIU's College of Business and is the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Professor of Sales, gives Amy much credit for supporting him and helping raise their two boys—now with families of their own—while he earned his college degrees. And, Amy supports his passion for education still today. "His God-given talent is teaching. He really cares for the students," she says.
As Rick's closest confidante, Amy is not only a sounding board for his classroom accounts, but his advisor too. "He is as excited about starting his 24th year of teaching as he was the first year." That enthusiasm for education has led to an unrestricted gift in the couple's estate to NIU's marketing department. "I saw the passion other donors had for NIU at the first Cornerstone Society event. I was motivated and thought, This is the right thing to do," he says. Amy adds, "I knew how much Rick loved NIU." Rick concludes, "From our hearts, this is something we both believe in."
Rick and Amy have a track record of making some pretty good decisions from the heart. Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, the Ridnours met in junior high on a hayride and married in 1964. In the early years, things weren't so easy. "Rick worked long hours at a variety of jobs," Amy recalls. "It was at a time when you could still put yourself through school working."
While Amy operated an in-home day care business, Rick found rewarding work in banking. After earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in education with a business emphasis, Rick started a real estate company, which helped pay tuition so he could earn a doctorate in higher education. At the same time, he consulted for a multimillion dollar real estate development project for the Iowa State University Research Foundation and was responsible for managing all marketing and sales efforts. He later taught courses at
GREAT ROLE MODEL
It was a call more than 20 years ago from a former student that brought the Ridnours to DeKalb. Rick took a job as a national sales trainer and recruiter at IDEAL, a DeKalb manufacturing company, and began teaching classes at NIU. "I was really happiest when I was teaching," Rick says. "I can maximize who I am."
Students can maximize who they are with Rick's motivating and inspiring style of teaching, which makes for a creative and dynamic learning environment. "I get a lot of energy from the students knowing that they want to be successful and contribute to society," Rick says.
Rick's students not only have a great role model but supporter as well. "I let them know that I'm not only committed to them while they're here, but forever," he says. And that's how long the Ridnours' gift will impact NIU. "You can make a difference—that's what you hope for," Rick says.