Awardee Name


image preview

Award Date


Award Description

Betty Stoutenborough Ritchie-Birrer ’47 credits her mother for recognizing the changes she saw in her during the early months at Illinois Wesleyan stating, “you are becoming the young lady I hoped you would become” on Betty’s first break home in November 1943. The validation of IWU’s impact continued as Betty flourished as a dedicated member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Home Economics Club, and the Women's Sports Association. During these years, Betty fell in love with Charles Ritchie ’47, to whom she was married for nearly 50 years before his death. In the 70 years since her first step on campus, Betty proudly watched her eldest grandson, Jonathan, graduate in the Class of 2000. She married Ivan J. Birrer, Ph.D., and they have enjoyed traveling the world together. In planning gifts to her beloved University, she established an endowed student scholarship, the first Study Abroad Endowment Fund, a gift to help build State Farm Hall, and, with Ivan, an endowed professorship fund. Betty and Ivan have visited Illinois Wesleyan to meet with both student scholarship and professorship funds recipients. Betty served for many years in leadership and volunteering with Alpha Gamma Delta, Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Women’s Association of the Capital City Chapter of Professional Engineers, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Sigma Phi Epsilon Literary Society at Illinois College, and the TIKI Condominium Homeowners Association at South Padre Island, Texas.