Alumni Stories

Alumni from across the country have submitted their reflections and memories of their Aurora College and Aurora University experiences through the Storytellers website. Read their thoughts below.

Susan (Towne) Richardson, AC '79

What brought you to AU?


Having been educated in a very conservative, sheltered boarding school as a missionary kid in the Philippines, I hungered for a learning environment that encouraged and honored true intellectual freedom. As a "third culture" kid, I also needed safe entry to the States and adulthood. I had no idea what I wanted, really, in a college experience when I applied, but I knew what I didn't want, which was anything that resembled high school. Serendipitously, my parents were alumni of AU. This is where I landed.

What was a memorable experience at AU?

What wasn't? When everything is memorable and just a bit shocking, one's eyes glaze over quite quickly. I fondly recall, however, how excited I was to study with the likes of Dr. Moses Crouse and Dr. Kenneth Mull, whose wise guidance and generosity nurtured what has been for me a lifelong habit of questioning, exploring and learning. My experience of faith was enriched immeasurably, as was my embrace of the story of our relationship with God.

What do you hope for the future of AU?

A college education is so much more than career preparation. It is the rarest of opportunities to enlarge one's life experience. AU nurtures a flame that is precious. My hope is that business models for success never extinguish this.


Dona Mac Murdy, AC '61 


What brought you to AU?
I grew up in a Advent Christian family. Two of my uncles, Rolly Chambers and Weldon Chambers, were Advent Christian ministers. Several of my extended family members attended Aurora College. When I arrived in 1957, my Aunt Mae Chambers, Rolly's widow, was my dorm mother. My sister, Virginia Nolan Claypool, attended ahead of me and remained in Aurora.


What was a memorable experience at AU?
As a music minor, I joined the college choir and toured with them. I also was a member of gospel teams sent by the college to visit the churches around the country to promote the college. I have many good memories from those trips.


What do you hope for the future of AU?
I would like to see Aurora University continue to promote a high moral standard as well as academic excellence.


Frank Friedman, AU '04


What brought you to AU?
Simply put, I came to Aurora University because it offered favorable class sizes. The class sizes in 2000-2004 were great if you were a student who needed interaction with your professor, which I routinely found myself doing before, during and even after classes, and they were always available to answer my questions. On top of receiving a personalized education where professors truly cared about their jobs, Aurora University provides a great venue for highly competitive athletes to take part in NCAA athletics at an extremely high level.


What was a memorable experience at AU?
Playing baseball and football for Aurora University was an unforgettable experience. The relationships built amongst professors and my fellow students and teammates are still going strong today.


What do you hope for the future of AU?
I hope that Aurora University will stay true to their mission, 'An inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning' and will progress like any other successful entity. By building, creating and maintaining great relationships within the community, prospective students, current students and, of course, alumni, Aurora University will ensure their success for many decades to come!


Karl Klein, AC '62

After I graduated from high school, I left my home in Aurora and went to California to study photography at one of the most famous schools in that field in our country (Brooks Institute). It took me about a year to realize that photography was not my field. Since this was a very specialized school,  switching to some other related-major was not realistic. I came back home and enrolled in Aurora College (the name at that time), deciding to pursue a liberal arts education with no particular direction in mind.

My dad was a common man, a tradesman, working as a pressman for a rather large printing company in the Aurora area. The summer after my return his company hired Professor Mark Trumbo as a summer assistant, and assigned him to my dad. Of course, during the course of the summer they got to know one another quite well, and out rolled the stories of family and connections. My dad told Mr. Trumbo all about me, and that I was a student at AC. Finally toward the end of the summer, my parents had Trumbo and his wife over for dinner, and we had a chance to meet face-to-face.  Instantly I felt a “common bond” with Mark Trumbo. He asked me questions and did not tell me what I should or should not do. He listened and provided me an overview of the business world and possible directions for my future.

When the fall came and school started again, I often “popped in” to his office and we would talk at length about careers and business, or the latest economic trends. One day he said, “Karl, you have lots of talent and natural insights into business principles. I think you would make a great teacher or consultant for a large consulting organization.” His interest and support resulted in me working extra hard on my academics. I won the Wall Street Journal student achievement award in my senior year, and enrolled at the University of Illinois in the master’s program for my MBA. With Mark Trumbo’s support and guidance I won a full scholarship to U. of I. and finished my master’s program in two years. My first serious career job was with Standard Oil Company (Indiana) in downtown Chicago. My wife and I lived in Aurora and Mark asked me to begin teaching economics at AC in the evening program. I did that for several years before moving out of the area for a promotion to a position in the Standard Oil Refinery in Whiting, Indiana. 

As the years passed, and my career blossomed, Mark Trumbo and I kept in touch and we visited when I was in the Aurora area. I became a Senior Vice President for a large Fortune 500 company in California, but in later years we kind of lost touch. I will never forget Mark Trumbo’s kindness and support. He was a special man, with the kind of attitude that few leaders exhibit. I was a kid from a lower middle-class home, with very limited resources. He made me feel like I was his protégée, and he my mentor. Aurora University is larger now, and perhaps the intimacy of our relationship would be difficult to duplicate in today’s world. Still, I would not trade my AC (Aurora University) degree for two from Harvard. Special people are all over, but I was fortunate to engage one that could not be found in many places.  I am forever thankful.

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