Personal Giving Stories
On a dresser in her home, Jeanne Meeks has a photograph of her large family, sitting outside under a tree. Her mother and father stand in the back row, and all around them, in two long rows, are Jeanne’s 14 older siblings along with two cousins her parents adopted. To the far left side sits a small girl—Jeanne herself, the youngest in the family.
“There was a lot of love,” Jeanne says of her family. “A lot of ‘do this’ and ‘do that’ and instructions on how a young lady should act—especially from my older sisters—but always with a lot of love.”
Jeanne attended Eastern Illinois University and finished courses from Springfield College and Brown’s Business School. Meanwhile, she worked as an apprentice pharmacist.
Her first permanent employment was with the State Office of Public Instruction in the Special Education Division. Several years later, when legislation was enacted to revamp the Illinois Judicial System, Jeanne was asked to establish and develop the accounting division for the Administration Office of Illinois Courts. This division oversees the expenditures of all operational costs for the judicial systems of the state.
According to Jeanne, it was a real challenge setting up this program because she was not a trained accountant. One of her proudest accomplishments is the consistently high marks her office received on its annual reports. “No recommendations for improvements or changes in the accounting system,” was the usual assessment by the State Auditor General. What an accomplishment!
Jeanne, who has traveled extensively, sees parallel advantages between travel and education. “Both broaden a person’s interests, awaken intellectual curiosity and contribute to a healthier and happier life,” she observes.
The little girl in the photograph grew up to live a full, productive life. Jeanne has given back to her community by increasing opportunities for needy students through UIS scholarships. “I am pleased to offer assistance to those students in need who are interested in furthering their education,” she concludes.
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