October 17, 2017
DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees Chair Wheeler Coleman recently made a gift of $25,000 to support the university’s CHANCE program.
CHANCE identifies, recruits and assists students who show promise for succeeding in college despite limited preparation and resources. Coleman enrolled at NIU through the program and graduated in 1983 with a degree in computer science.
He went on to hold several senior executive-level positions within Blue Cross-Blue Shield, including serving as senior vice president and chief information officer for Blue-Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He currently serves as CEO of EC United, a Chicago-based executive consultant firm. His wife, the Hon. Sharon Coleman, who joined him in making the gift, is a United States District Judge. She graduated from NIU in 1981 with a degree in political science.
“CHANCE not only made a college education an attainable goal for me, it also prepared me for success,” Coleman told a crowd of more than 100 alumni gathered for an Oct. 12 event at Gallery Buichard, in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. “In addition to allowing me to learn my craft as a technologist, it also taught me how to be a better leader and a better man.”
Coleman acknowledged that his pathway to success was paved by previous generations of NIU students who worked, protested and sacrificed to help create the CHANCE program.
“I know that as an alumnus, and as a trustee, I don’t stand alone. I am standing on the shoulders and in the footprints of those who came before me; giants who opened doors and created opportunities for people they didn’t know,” Coleman said. “And it reminded me that we all have an obligation to give back.”