Fike family establishes scholarship for students in IVCC’s Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity

Scholarship honors Fike’s advocacy for people with disabilities

Donald Fike and his family have established a scholarship fund for students served by the Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity. Fike, who is shown here with Illinois Valley Community College Foundation Executive Director Tracy Beattie, has been a leading advocate for people with disabilities in Illinois and the Illinois Valley.

The Fike family has established a $60,000 fund to provide scholarships to students participating in Illinois Valley Community College’s Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity.

The Donald Fike Family Scholarship honors Fike’s advocacy for people with disabilities. Fike was the first executive director of the Horizon House of Illinois Valley and later launched a business in Galesburg that developed housing for people with disabilities and senior citizens.

He remains a leading advocate for zoning laws regarding housing for people with disabilities, advocacy that led to the first federal test case regarding amendments to the Fair Housing Act.

During his nine years at Horizon House, Fike established a work activity center, a sheltered workshop, various residential programs and a summer program for kids. He also worked with La Salle-Peru High School to establish the first program in the state in which people identified as trainable mentally handicapped (a term used at the time) received regular high school diplomas.

“This scholarship will honor and continue Don’s lifetime work to improve the lives of people with disabilities. IVCC students who participate in the Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity will receive support for years to come,” said Tracy Beattie, executive director of the IVCC Foundation.

The scholarship will help strengthen ghe Center for Accessibility and Neurodiversity’s mission of empowering diverse learners.

“Awards that are dedicated to this group of students help them see that diversity is valued and difference is embraced,” coordinator Tina Hardy said. “Being awarded a scholarship is a vote of confidence that can help students see their possibilities, increase their motivation and encourage them to move more readily toward their dreams.”

Annually, between 150 and 200 students receive services – accommodations, coaching, strategy instruction, and resource referrals – that help them find support and encouragement for reaching their academic and personal goals. Students with physical, sensory, cognitive and mental health diagnoses that create barriers to the educational process are served through the office.

Fike is a native of Tonica and graduate of IVCC.

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