Distance Learning

Distance Learning and Outreach - Donor Spotlight

Jim ‘94, ‘95 and Eva Ann ‘85 Elmer of Burlington, Iowa, have generously established scholarships for students pursuing degrees in WIU’s Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree program and elementary or math education. The scholarships were conceptualized with a $100,000 planned gift made in 2001, but recently the Elmers decided to fund the scholarships on an annual basis so students can benefit in the present.

“We believe completely in the ‘Law of Echo’ . . . as you give, so shall you receive” Jim and Eva Ann said. “We achieved one of our life goals by receiving master’s degrees at WIU. We want to help make it possible for others to be able to move beyond themselves and achieve their goals as well. This is our way of giving back.”

Jim and Eva Ann met and married in Burlington in the early 1960s. Eva Ann moved there for her first teaching job – junior high math – and Jim arrived after serving as an electronics technician aboard Navy submarines to a job in quality control. Their connection with WIU began in the ‘80s when Eva Ann chose to further her education. She graduated from Western with a master of science degree in mathematics in 1985. Jim began making the commute from Burlington to Macomb in the early ‘90s and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the BOT program in 1994. He then received his master of business administration degree from WIU’s College of Business and Technology in 1995.

Eva Ann has retired after teaching at the high school level and at Southeastern Community College as a developmental education instructor working with all math and science students. Jim continues to work with his own company, JDE Management Consultants, defining and achieving strategic and tactical and/or operational goals for food and non-food manufacturers. Both are extremely involved in their community and church and have been recognized for outstanding community service.

“When you visit with Jim and Eva Ann you come away knowing they have a love for life and all that it has to offer. They are committed to each other, their family, their church and community, and now to WIU” said WIU’s Director of Planned & Major Giving Brad Bainter. “They are great role models in many ways and specifically in that they understand and promote the importance of an education. Their endowment will support scholarships for students in WIU’s Board of Trustees and math programs and will assist nontraditional students in their efforts to achieve their goals and dreams by pursuing their degrees from WIU,” Bainter added.