To memorialize Frances Hoene, who is the mother of Christy B. Elder.
“I chose EIU because I grew up bleeding blue. Both of my parents are previous or current faculty members on Eastern’s campus. My father worked in the Counseling Center and my mother is the Academic Director for Student-Athletes. I did not start my journey at EIU, but I intend to finish my journey wearing EIU colors. I always knew I would grow up and wear blue and grey every day one day. I started my college journey at Parkland College in Champaign playing soccer but deep down, I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was so sure that I wanted to be away from home and start the next chapter of my life away from Charleston. After being at Parkland for two years, I knew where I needed to be. And where I needed to be was at Eastern Illinois University. When I stepped onto EIU’s campus for my transfer orientation day, I said to myself “I’m home.” I knew that when I walked around campus and spoke to different faculty members that this was the place I belonged. I chose EIU because not only do the faculty members want me to succeed, everyone I met wanted to see me succeed. Whether it was ace an exam, get an on-campus job, or hanging out with some friends, everyone here is all in together. EIU is challenging me to get out of my comfort zone to find the best version of myself for the future. I really can’t express how comfortable and happy I have felt being here at EIU. Being a panther and being able to say “I am EIU” has honestly been a dream come true. Although some days can be long and filled with endless amounts of homework, working three jobs, and volunteering with the Mid-Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, I know that at the end of the day EIU is giving me the best opportunity to put myself ahead of the game before graduation. Growing up in Charleston with parents who were university employees, it has been a real honor to follow their footsteps and make my impact on Eastern’s campus.”
“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the committee that chose me as a recipient for this award. Words can’t describe how grateful and blessed I feel being able to receive this award. I feel that I am achieving everything I am striving for in the future and EIU is giving me the opportunity to make those goals a reality. I know the committee spends several hours debating and discussing which recipients should receive this award and I am honored to be a recipient that receives this award. I will do everything I can to exceed expectations for this award and make EIU proud. I am forever thankful for this committee choosing me for this award and seeing the potential in me to finish my degree.I would also like to thank my friends and family. My mom and dad have been a huge support system every step of the way in any decision I make. Ever since I was little and began travel soccer, I knew they would always be there for me and never doubt the person I would turn into. I want to thank my sister, who is also a student on this campus and is always there to listen when life gets tough even when she is struggling with her own problems. The last person I would like to thank is my fiancé, for always believing in my and never doubting for a second, I can do anything I set my mind to. He has pushed me and challenged me to be the person I am today. Without this support system, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am truly thankful for the committee that chose me and I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity you have given me to finish my education at EIU with little to no debt for my final year at EIU. Thank you.”