Lisle, Illinois ~ Ben Pounds, C84, is laying the groundwork for future generations of Benedictine students to take on challenges through his long-term support of his alma mater.
Pounds first heard the call to give back to Benedictine after he landed his first full-time job as an analyst with State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill., more than 30 years ago. He has been giving back ever since.
“My initial motivation for donating back to Benedictine came when I received that Phonathon call during my first year of employment,” Pounds said. “Even though my family was fortunate enough to be able to help pay for my education, I had several friends who would not have been able to attend college without assistance, and I have always wanted others to have the same opportunity as I did for a quality education.”
Pounds is now an information technology manager at State Farm, and his gifts over time have made a big difference in supporting Benedictine’s mission of educating values-based leaders.
And with a company match, his contributions stretch even further to help many BenU students, like Emily Nitti, who is considering a career in journalism as a Communication Arts major.
“Scholarships play a big role for me and my family,” Nitti said. “Without specific scholarships, I might not have been able to attend Benedictine and I would be missing out on some of the greatest experiences and opportunities of my life.”
Pounds chose Benedictine for its strong science curriculum and opted for a major in what was becoming a flourishing industry at the time — Computer Science.
“Benedictine was one of the strongest Computer Science schools due to the up-to-date equipment and course content,” Pounds said. “The added draw was the small class size, which really gave me a chance to get to know my fellow students and professors.
“In addition to my microcomputer architecture and digital electronics classes, the well-rounded selection of classes in religion, accounting, philosophy, economics and physics really helped provide a broad background to drive me to not only think in-depth, but to communicate better in both speech and writing.”
At State Farm, Pounds has worked on many different teams as a mainframe coder, systems designer, IT manager and project manager. He currently manages several infrastructure teams using small team techniques and Agile/SAFe frameworks to deliver security and middleware products.
“What I most enjoy about my job is working with dedicated people who are there to support each other to succeed, solve problems and develop professionally while having some fun along the way,” Pounds said.
Pounds enjoys staying in touch with the University and is amazed at how it has adapted and grown over the years.
“I hope to check out BenU at Mesa when I am in Arizona,” Pounds said. “I am proud to see the ongoing emphasis on small class sizes and a diverse student body. Benedictine has a clear mission of service and teaching with social responsibility and Benedictine values. I feel the University is a good steward of advancing these values and is deserving of support in its mission.”
Not everyone can make a large gift to the University, but alumni who follow Pounds’ lead can make just as much of an impact.
That’s because sources that rank the desirability of universities and colleges look at the percentage of alumni who provide financial support (not total dollars).
When alumni support the University in large numbers, it’s another way of showing Benedictine provides an education that makes a difference for its students.
It also invites additional funding opportunities for the University. Therefore, even the smallest contribution makes a big impact.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 9,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.