A small group of MacMurray College alumni and supporters have come together to form a non-profit organization to ensure the college’s legacy continues. The group has formally announced the creation of the MacMurray Foundation & Alumni Association.
The group was recently incorporated as a non-profit by the State of Illinois and is currently working on its 501(c)3 designation by the IRS. The governing board of the group has 11 members that consists of former trustees, lifetime trustees, alumni and at least one non-alumnus. The new foundation will focus on sponsoring ongoing alumni activities, providing student scholarships, and supporting Jacksonville museums and organizations that seek to provide public access to MacMurray College artifacts and archives.
1977 Graduate and former Jacksonville resident David Ekin is the foundation’s chair. Ekin says that the group will work to preserve the legacy of MacMurray’s future with respect to the past: “We hope and plan to keep the alumni engaged to hopefully support the new foundation. Part of that will be a matter of monthly email blasts – sort of Mac News, newsletters, and information. We also hope that the alumni of the college would continue to support us as we strive to put out scholarships for students to attend higher education, even though that would obviously not be for MacMurray College. We strongly like the idea of continuing the legacy by providing scholarships to MacMurray alumni descendants or to students who might be attending a college with a major was a highlight and a focus of MacMurray College like deaf education, nursing, social work, the arts and music – things that MacMurray was known for. “
Ekin calls the future scholarship recipients MacMurray scholars. He says that another way the foundation will work is through the college’s Founder’s Day celebration and homecoming as well as upcoming graduate class reunions: “One of our committees is an alumni engagement committee, and the purpose of that committee will be to obviously engage alums through a variety of means. One of which would be the continuation of Homecoming, alumni awards, things that we have done in the past. We had hoped to have a coming [this October] but with the COVID-19 situation, that’s been postponed to next June. Our plans [for the Homecoming] are to be an annual affair on an ongoing basis. Additionally, there may be in conjunction with that or perhaps at a separate time – a set of reunion class gatherings.”
Ekin says the reunions are important to continue sharing stories about the impact of the college not just locally but from around the country.
The last obligation of the foundation will be helping the Jacksonville Heritage and Cultural Museum to continue the preservation of the MacMurray College archive full of various artifacts, pictures, and mementos from the college’s lengthy history. The Jacksonville City Council will be voting on accepting the collection on Monday, September 14th. Ekin says the plan is for MacMurray to have it’s own wing of the museum: “The plan and proposal is with the city there would be a MacMurray wing within the museum, so that the memorabilia and the artifacts would be displayed – many on a rotating basis because we have such a breadth of history to offer. We’ve talked about bringing people in for some talks and different events. That’s sort of the goal of it. We continue to get items. As one example, we just received a scrapbook from a student who was at MacMurray from 1915 to 1919. Even though the college is closing down and the archives and historical memorabilia and documents are coming to us, we are also going to see that grow, which leads to the ability to rotate the displays.”
The foundation was the result of a recommendation of a special task force set up by the Board of Trustees during the process of the college’s closure. MacMurray’s Board of Trustees has formally transferred alumni lists, memorabilia, and select archives as it prepares to auction the 60-acre campus and the contents of its buildings within the next few months.
MacMurray alumni, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the newly launched website at MacAlumFoundation.org to volunteer or to make donations to the foundation’s scholarship program. MacMurray College did not provide any funds for the Foundation.Alumni Association-raised funds controlled by the Alumni Board were transferred to the Foundation by the College to partially support the formation. Some of those funds include the restricted Betsy Swigart Fund, for use by the Foundation’s Alumni Engagement Committee. The first scholarships from the foundation as well as the opening of the MacMurray Wing of the Jacksonville Heritage & Culture Museum are slated for next year.