Pat Grogg joined the faculty of the College of Business in 1976 as an interim assistant professor in business education. Grogg, who specialized in business writing, immediately took on the task of teaching Business Report Writing. The course was the first step on a journey with Illinois State that would span decades.
"What I really liked about professing was the interactions with the students," Grogg said. "If there is anything everybody is going to do in their career, they're going to write. It is a presentation of your future self that an employer sees on a resume, and current employers see as a part of your skill and time management."
Grogg quickly established herself as a versatile faculty member and mentor to students in the college, rising through the ranks to become a full tenured professor in seven years. Though Grogg retired in 1998 after 23 years in the classroom, her relationship with the University did not end. In addition to being a patron of the arts and facilitating the meetings of the Internationalization Strategic Plan, Grogg established a legacy as the founding donor of Wisdom's Torch.
Wisdom's Torch, named after the lyric in the University Hymn, is funded by retired faculty and staff, or those who wish to honor retired faculty and staff, of the Illinois State University College of Business. Fund donors wish to continue the strong tradition of excellence that has infused the college since its founding.
"I always thought that often in teaching the difference between a good class and a great class can be having those little extras," Grogg said. "Wisdom's Torch is about having the extras available so that students can attend a conference, a professor could receive fairly sophisticated software, or even to buy something as simple as a train ticket to Chicago. Not every one of our students have those experiences as a part of growing up, whether they are from the suburbs or the farm."
The fund is administered by the College of Business Leadership Team and is dedicated to enhancing projects that support teaching and learning of faculty and students. Grogg has already made several outright cash gifts to the fund, and has also included a bequest in her estate plan to support the fund.
"The nice thing about a planned gift is that you can put a number in now, and then you can adapt what might be possible as life goes on," Grogg said.
Thanks to Grogg and the many other supporters of Widsom's Torch, students will continue to have a unique learning experience at the University.
"Wisdom's Torch is about the core of what the College of Business will always be about-and that's teaching and learning. You can't tell exactly what new technologies, techniques, and ideas will come along, but the college should always be about teaching and learning and enriching that experience for our students."