Skip to main content

A Legacy for Education

A Legacy for Education
Bill and Mary

It was in Professor Nell Oppitiz's sociology class that Bill Dike '54 met Mary Hurt '54 on the campus of McKendree College. Bill was a commuter student and Mary lived in Clark Hall.

After a courtship that included peanuts and Coca-Cola at the school canteen and numerous trips to the O'Fallon Dairy for ice cream, Bill and Mary were married on May 23, 1952, and their marriage was blessed with two daughters and a son. After working odd jobs and serving churches in Beaver Creek, Hopewell and Mt. Carmel, Bill felt a further calling to the ministry. They decided to make their first of many moves so he could attend Drew Theological School in New Jersey.

Many questioned Bill and Mary on how they would be able to make things work when he shared his calling to the ministry and his intention to attend seminary. Bill's response was, "If that is what God wants, a way shall be provided." The way that was provided would take him all over the world and give the couple the opportunity to touch countless lives.

Upon completing his Master of Divinity degree, Bill became an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. He served churches in New York and New Jersey until 1968 when he went on active duty in the United States Navy serving as a chaplain until his retirement in 1991.

No matter where the Methodist Church or the Navy took Bill and Mary, they never forgot about their alma mater. "McKendree provided me with a wife and education that has kept me in good stead for many years," said Bill when asked why he and Mary support McKendree. "My history is not unique, but as others have supported me in many ways, I consider it a privilege to have been so blessed that I can help pass the torch forward through McKendree University to succeeding generations."

Bill and Mary have helped support future generations of McKendreans through their support of the McKendree University Annual Fund for over 50 years. In 2008, Bill and Mary established their first gift annuity with McKendree providing them both a tax dedication and supplemental income.

In the years since their first annuity, Bill and Mary began discussing their wishes to fund a scholarship to help students receive a McKendree education for which these two alumni hold so dear. They chose to establish another charitable gift annuity to make this dream a reality. With their gift, the Dike's receive a charitable tax deduction, reliable payments, and the reward of knowing they will make a difference at their alma mater. Additionally, at the end of their lives, McKendree University will benefit when the balance of the annuity is used to establish the scholarship. Bill and Mary did indeed find their "true calling" and McKendree helped make it possible.