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The Zuber family has a long history and robust family legacy with rural education in this region. Zuber siblings Judy, Mary and Alan and Alan’s wife, Andrea, have an equally rich history with Eastern Illinois University.

That relationship has resulted in the creation of a new scholarship opportunity for EIU students and serves as an appreciative nod to the Zubers’ own parents for instilling in them a love for education and lifelong learning.

These four pooled their resources with a gift of more than $150,000 to create the Alberta and Raymond Zuber Future Teachers Scholarship — an endowed scholarship named after the siblings’ parents intended to assist current EIU students and future rural teachers in their educational pursuits. In creating the scholarship, the Zuber family siblings hope their parents’ hard work and determination will supplement their own commitment to teaching in rural communities, citing the importance of quality teachers in a rural setting.

“Mom and Dad accomplished so much in their life, while only receiving an eighth-grade education,” Alan said. “They both put a considerable emphasis on constant learning: reading, playing Scrabble, and doing crossword puzzles throughout their lives.”

Judy, Mary and Alan are all retired elementary and middle school educators who grew up in a small, rural Illinois town in Richland County near Olney called Claremont. Andrea’s background also includes helping children with a 20-plus-year career with the Department of Children and Family Services. Their backgrounds have fueled the Zubers to spend most of their adult lives as advocates for rural educators. Alan says they are happy to support EIU students and rural educators because “it’s an area very close to our hearts.”

The oldest of the siblings, Judy, graduated from Eastern with a bachelor’s degree in 1965. She was one of the first women in her Stringtown community to attend and to graduate from college. Judy then continued her education, earning her master’s degree from EIU in 1969. She spent her career teaching mathematics in Jasper County.

Serving to inspire her younger siblings, the other Zuber children quickly followed in Judy’s footsteps. Mary became the second in the family to attend Eastern, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1970. She joined Judy as a teacher in Jasper County and earned her master’s degree in 1974.

Alan also attended EIU, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1978 and master’s degree in 1983. He taught social studies at North Clay and Shiloh and served as the principal at Crestwood School in Paris. His love for EIU led him to serve as a member of the EIU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors since 2014.

After such promising and rewarding careers in education, the siblings always knew they wanted to give back somehow. They eventually decided a scholarship was the best way to accomplish that goal. When asked why, Mary said, “education has just offered us all so, so much…wonderful careers in professions we believe in… and in the small, rural communities we love.”

The inaugural recipients of the Alberta and Raymond Zuber Future Teacher Scholarship are Keah Hartman and Delaney Shryock. Hartman is a senior Elementary Education major who attended Flora High School. She is currently student teaching third grade and hopes to teach second or fifth grade one day. Hartman said she enjoys interacting with all the students and was “overcome with joy” upon receiving the inaugural scholarship.

The other 2021 recipient, Shryock, is a junior Elementary Education major who graduated from Richland County High School and will begin student teaching next year. Shryock offered her gratitude to the Zubers by thanking them “for believing in educators and the local community.”

Students eligible for the Alberta and Raymond Zuber Future Teachers Scholarship – including those who intend to transfer to EIU from a local community college – must meet the following criteria and can apply for the award on the university’s website:

  • Must be an Elementary Education or Middle Level Education major intending to teach
  • Must be either a junior or senior to apply
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above at the time of selection
  • Must submit an essay explaining how he/she/they will benefit from the award and indicate whether he/she/they has worked to pay for college expenses.
  • Must be from Clay, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence or Richland counties, while priority will be given to those from Clay, Edgar, Jasper or Richland counties.

On the whole, the Zuber family feels blessed to be able to offer a scholarship in their parents’ names to deserving students. With educational careers of their own, they are very aware that student teachers need money for travel, food and clothing, as well as for other day-to-day college expenses.

In a recent interview about the scholarship opportunity their family is providing, they shared that they all look forward to helping various education students who are from the same counties they once worked in as educators.

For more information on creating a scholarship for EIU students contact the University Advancement office at 217-581-3313.



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