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Marguerite F. Key Fellows Biography

Marguerite KeyMarguerite F. Key graduated from Northern Illinois State Teachers College in 1944 with a major in biology and a minor in music. She taught one year, and then earned her master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

During most of the next year, she worked in the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield as a health educator.

At that time, the Kellogg Foundation funded a program in Illinois to place a health educator on the staff of each state college and the University of Illinois. Marguerite was invited to Northern.

Most of her students were in workshops held in the summer session in northern Illinois communities. One-room schools were about to be closed, and these teachers had to be certified to teach in town schools where a college degree was required. At that time, rural teachers could teach all elementary grades in a one-room school with a certificate indicating two years of preparation.

Four years later, Marguerite married and moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. where her husband worked with the National Education Association. Marguerite worked in the Arlington County Schools for 40 years. She was director of guidance in a middle school and was active in professional organizations serving as president of the Virginia Personnel and Guidance Association.

After the loss of her husband to cancer, she returned to DeKalb in 1995 to be closer to her sister and brother-in-law, Robert and Gertrude Brigham. She was on the original committee to place a one-room school on campus. She served for 12 years on the Development Committee of the College of Education and has assisted 10 non-traditional women in the College of Education in obtaining scholarships through the P.E.O. organization.

She also has been a volunteer and board member of several DeKalb organizations.

In 2017 Marguerite was selected by the NIU Foundation as the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.