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Radosh Sociology Endowed Scholarship Established

July 16, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – As first generation students, Western Illinois University Sociology Professor Emeritus and WIU Board of Trustees Chair Polly Radosh and Jeff Radosh struggled financially as they completed their college education. To help other first generation students and those with financial need, the Radoshes have established the Radosh Sociology Endowed Scholarship at WIU.

Polly, who is the retired chair of Western's former Department of Women's Studies, began her teaching career at WIU in 1984 in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. During her 24-year tenure, she taught sociology courses and cross-listed sociology and women's studies courses. Jeff, who worked for the University of Illinois Extension and then as a teacher at Bushnell-Prairie City Elementary School, received his degree from Western in elementary education.

"We know from experience that students with financial need often work more jobs or put in long work hours to maintain their enrollment. Academic achievement is important, of course, but we recognize that sometimes achievement is inhibited by the economic circumstances of students," the Radoshes explained. "Additionally, economic difficulties sometimes develop, and our goal is to help students who might have a pressing economic need that could impact their ability to complete their degree. We are at a place in our lives where we have the resources to give back and the needs of our students are greater now than ever before."

The Radoshes decided that their new scholarship would benefit a WIU sociology major with financial need due to sociology being Polly's "home" discipline, and because of the support she received from her department when she arrived in 1984.

"My sociology colleagues here were very supportive of me when I joined the department as a young professor," she said. "They were generous with their time in mentoring me when I was very young, and I have never forgotten what a welcoming, collegial place the department was when I first joined."

According to WIU Foundation Executive Director Brad Bainter, each year, the WIU Foundation awards more than $2 million in scholarships to Western students.

"We offer our deepest appreciation to Polly and Jeff for their generosity," Bainter added. "Like the Radoshes, our donors make a difference in the lives of our students. They make college accessible to students who may not otherwise have had the opportunity due to economic circumstances. Western Illinois University exists to serve students, and our donors, many of whom are WIU graduates themselves, want others to have that same great experience as a Western Illinois University student as they had."

The Radosh Sociology Endowed Scholarship will be awarded Fall 2024.

"WIU is a unique place. We have always had an outstanding faculty who maintain a rigorous curriculum and many of our faculty are among the best in their fields, but they are student-centered and very supportive of one another," Polly added. "I thoroughly enjoyed my years at WIU and I'm very grateful for all that WIU did for me over the course of my career."

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