Image of Business Instructional Facility

Oct 12, 2020 Accountancy Alumni Finance

Shebik​ gift to boost Gies south campus profile

Steve and Megan Shebik have long thought the south end of the University of Illinois campus could better showcase the treasures found there and the enterprising future of business-related higher education. “We see an opportunity to create more interaction and collaboration, which reflects how business works today and into tomorrow,” said Steve (’78 ACCY, FIN). He and his wife, economics major Megan (‘80 LAS), have pledged $2.5 million to Gies College of Business to construct a shared instructional facility. 

“One of the things that struck us both is how Gies College of Business and the University Library already bring people together, and we wanted to strongly support further development of that,” said Megan, who along with Steve, noted the dynamic, open environment of the Business Instructional Facility (BIF), which was completed in 2008.

The new business building will house larger classrooms, expanded facilities for Gies’ eLearning team and the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning, more offices for the College’s growing faculty, and additional production studios for its world-class online learning offerings. In addition, the Shebiks have pledged $2.5 million to help launch a project that will ultimately transform portions of the Undergraduate Library and Stacks in the Main Library to create a more holistic learning environment. 

“Steve and Megan Shebik have been great partners for Gies College of Business for many years, and we’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to make this investment in the future of our College,” said Dean Jeffrey R. Brown. “We’re leading the world in leveraging technology to democratize education, and this new south campus facility will enable us to stay ahead of the growing demand and continue to develop new, powerful ways to deliver a life-changing business education.”

Steve and Megan’s love for and connections to the University of Illinois run wide and deep. The first Illini in the family was Steve’s mother, the late Phyllis Shebik (’38 LAS). Now, their three children are alumni too: Brian (’16 BUS, LAS); Matthew (’18 LAS), and Sarah (’19 LAS). The family’s fields of study include accounting, economics, English, finance, psychology, and statistics.

Megan said her independent streak led her to attend Illinois while her parents, many relatives and their children attended different universities in Chicago. “I loved the wide open, beautiful campus of Illinois. My parents were concerned when first moving me in, but before they left we ran into someone from my hometown on the Quad and we all knew I would be fine,” said Megan. “I started out pre-law but changed to economics having enjoyed the subject in high school. I will never forget my teacher’s explanation of an economic concept he related to McDonalds’ Big Macs.” 

Since 2009, Steve and Megan have funded need-based scholarships for those pursuing careers in finance, economics, and risk management. Their giving then expanded to support faculty research. With input from their children, they increased their scholarship support and contributed funding to improve technology in the psychology department.

Shortly after the Shebiks married, they recalled, one of their first conversations was about philanthropy. “Thankfully, we were already on the same page, wanting to focus on volunteer projects and giving back when we were financially able,” said Megan. “Without a high-quality education we would not have had the careers we have had and the opportunities to be philanthropic.” said Steve, a Bronze Tablet recipient. 

Steve began his career at Arthur Andersen in auditing, served seven years at Sears in financial reporting and finance, and recently retired as vice chair of The Allstate Corporation and The Allstate Insurance Company. He serves on the Dean’s Business Council and has been recognized for his outstanding service to the College. Megan worked in underwriting management at Kemper National Insurance Company before devoting the past 25 years to volunteering and raising their children. She is a vice chair of the University Library Board of Advocates and a trustee of the DuPage Foundation, among other charitable pursuits.

Both Megan and Steve encourage recent grads to never underestimate the importance of continuous learning, especially in the first years out of college, while also following their path to help others and give back. “I love that the world and our experiences continue to evolve,” said Steve. “I started out my first week at Arthur Andersen copying papers and ended up with Allstate running multibillion-dollar businesses, executing mergers and acquisitions, and working with Silicon Valley companies of all sizes whose businesses didn’t exist five or 10 years ago. Megan and I have followed a path to support causes focused on the basic human needs of food, shelter and safety, education, music, and history. Education at Illinois prepares you to be open minded to evolve as the world changes. It teaches you how to be agile and change with it.”