The Western Illinois University School of Agriculture recently received a gift to establish an endowed scholarship from Leatherneck alumni couple Taylor and Lorraine Steinberg.
The Steinberg’s met in 1962 at WIU, pursuing degrees in Agriculture (‘67) and Communication (‘66).
The Steinberg Endowment Scholarship will support the WIU Agriculture undergraduate students, with a preference for female students.
“We have been blessed in our marriage and careers,” said Lorraine. “Now that we are retired, we wanted to give back to organizations with which we have been involved over the years.”
Lorraine was born in Brooklyn, NY, but grew up in the Midwest. Before having children, Lorraine taught high school English, speech and creative writing at various Illinois high schools. After beginning their family in 1969, Lorraine stayed home for a few years to be a full-time mother. During this time, she opened a dance studio and taught classes for 10 years, and eventually returned to the classroom.
“Computers were being introduced into schools in the 1980s, and I realized what an advantage it would be if my students were able to use them for their compositions. This interest led me to acquire a master’s in Educational Technology, which I earned from Nova Southeastern University. At that time it was only the second institution in the country to offer a graduate degree using online classes,” said Lorraine.
Lorraine eventually retired after spending 20 years in the classroom, followed by 10 years working with the Regional Office of Education in West Central Illinois, where she assisted 22 school districts, teaching educators to write grants, incorporate computers into the classrooms and develop tech corps.
Taylor was born and raised on the family farm near Belleview, IL. From the time he was old enough to assist with farm chores and labor intensive activities, he did.
“Every day was a learning opportunity challenged with new responsibilities at an early age – driving the hay truck at age six, signing checks for the farm at age 11 and borrowing money from the local bank, co-signed by my father, to purchase a new hay baler at the age of 13,” said Taylor.
Taylor has worked in Ag Mechanics at Steinberg Farms (since 1865) and will continue to raise future generations of farmers with his daughter, son and grandchildren in line to take over.
“Helping others was always the standard growing up,” said Taylor. “I wanted to help future generations by assisting friends, neighbors, relatives and others in need. Helping others at an early age instilled this as a core value and continues through our 56 years of marriage and beyond. The joy received from helping others succeed will continue as long as we are able.”
After graduating from WIU, Taylor joined International Harvester Company in sales and marketing, and continued in his dealership, Pikeland International in Pittsfield, IL. The early 1980s agriculture market pressures and high inflation interest rates required a new career path in late 1985. Taylor joined the Knapheide Manufacturing Company and retired after 36 years.
“WIU prepared me for a life of opportunities by teaching me how much I really didn’t know,” said Taylor. “There was a bright new world out there with tons of opportunities on which to build a successful career.”
The Steinberg’s enjoy traveling the world and experiencing items on their bucket list. They are active in their church and share a continued desire to volunteer. Lorraine shares her computer expertise by visiting retirement and veterans homes and the Senior Center, helping them navigate different technology.
“When you are able – volunteer, ” said Lorraine. “The world needs your skills and contributions beyond whatever company might employ you. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people who are not required to earn a grade or pay for your services. When you can – give back.”
When asked for a piece of advice they would give a WIU student, the Steinberg’s both advised continuing their education.
“Become a lifelong learner by studying constantly, make good decisions, have fun and never do anything in life that you will regret in the future,” said Taylor. “Having grown up with tons of hard work that became the norm, I’ve always been happy to help others succeed.”
“Don’t expect your education to be completed when you graduate from Western,” said Lorraine. “Take every opportunity to continue learning: the world that exists when you graduate will change radically during your years of employment. Be a lifelong learner.”
For more information on WIU’s School of Agriculture, visit wiu.edu/ag.