Judy Schneider, a gift planning officer in the NIU Foundation since 2012, is joining the College of Education as director of Advancement.
Schneider begins her new role April 17 as she continues her mission to find the “hope” delivered through donor-funded scholarships and dollars that fuel innovative programs.
“I am excited to work in the College of Education for a variety of reasons,” Schneider says.
“For one, I have met such great alumni and friends from the college over the past 10-plus years. Their work is critical as educators, administrators, counselors and more in improving so many issues this country faces,” she says. “And I really think I can help connect these alumni and friends with the needs of the college and their personal philanthropic goals.”
Coming to the College of Education also will allow her to “narrow my focus a bit” as she collaborates with “a great group of people for a common goal,” she adds.
Meanwhile, the move to Graham Hall 316 surrounds the mother of four – three of her children are enrolled in Illinois public universities, including NIU – with bright, talented and eager students.
“There is nothing more motivating than hearing a young person’s dream for a better life, and helping make that possible. It is their stories that fire me up to do what I do,” she says. “A saying I really like is, ‘By Giving We Find Hope.’ Scholarships, and funds for programs, create that hope. It is what keeps me on task.”
Anthony D’Andrea, senior director of College-Based Advancement for the NIU Foundation, is proud of his colleague’s new role at the university. Schneider joined the Foundation in 2007 as a development associate and then assistant to the director of Gift Planning.
“Judy is a ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ in our division who rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done no matter the obstacle,” D’Andrea wrote in an email to his staff. “While she will be missed in her formal planned giving role, she will continue to help advance this very important part of our Advancement fundraising model.”
Born and raised in DeKalb, Schneider earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before following her father, Bob Brown, into journalism. She worked from 1986 to 2000 at WCIA-TV in Champaign as a news reporter and community/public affairs producer and host.
“I grew up following my father, a 50-year broadcasting veteran at local radio WLBK, as he interviewed people around the county. I learned that I, too, enjoyed hearing people’s stories, which led me to a broadcasting career,” she says.
“My work today is much the same,” she adds. “I meet some of the most interesting people, learn about their passions and desires and connect them to those areas at NIU.”
Schneider is eager to pair names with faces in the college: “I welcome the opportunity to meet for a cup of coffee to hear your stories,” she says, “and how NIU has made a difference in your life.”