Retired Faculty Member’s Gift to ECC
When Carolyn Kirk Likou was in high school, she had no aspirations of becoming a teacher. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned, but it can be so much better than you expected.
After high school graduation, Carolyn took some business courses but was soon married and did what many women did in those days; worked to help her husband get through college and started a family.
In her 30s, with three children and virtually a single parent while her husband was in Vietnam, she decided to move back to her hometown and return to college. Community colleges were relatively new and one was located close by so she enrolled. “Without the school being so close and affordable, I wouldn’t have had the chance to better myself and my life would have taken a very different turn,” said Carolyn.
Returning to school after being away for so long was daunting and Carolyn was nervous the first day she arrived on campus. But she forged ahead and did well her first semester. Carolyn was awarded a scholarship to assist her in attending school and always remembered how grateful she was, not only for the financial assistance but for the faith the donor had in her academic success.
She decided to pursue business education because she enjoyed her business classes and thought a teaching degree would fit well with her first job as parent to her children. After graduating from community college, Carolyn went on to receive bachelor and master’s degrees in Business Education, with high honors. She taught at the high school level until she was contacted about a position at Elgin Community College.
Carolyn served as a member of the faculty at ECC in the Office Administration and Technology program from 1979 to 1999. “I had a great career at ECC with my only goal was to be there for my students,” she said. Even fourteen years after retiring, Carolyn says she runs into former students regularly and is always happy to hear about their accomplishments.
In 2010, Carolyn created the Carolyn Kirk Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund through Elgin Community College Foundation to assist students enrolled in the Office of Administration and Technology program. In addition, she recently finalized paperwork to increase the principal of her scholarship through a legacy gift from an annuity to which she contributed during her tenure at ECC. A commitment through her estate is an important way to continue to support the students she cared so much about as a faculty member. “I want the students to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” she says, “and I hope my gift will have a chain reaction that will cause these students to give back one day as well.”
Because of Carolyn’s thoughtful gift to assist students for generations to come, she has joined the Spartan Legacy Society, a group established to recognize the generosity of those individuals who have included and notified the Foundation of their estate plans through such means as a gift annuity, bequest or life insurance policy.
Carolyn is still very active with ECC and the Foundation. She serves on several program advisory boards, is on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and chairs the Purses with Purpose steering committee.
If you have questions or want to learn more about gift planning strategies, please contact the Foundation office at (847) 214-7258.