NIU Black Alumni Council Member, Eric Lindsay, '80, Spearheads Change Through Fundraising and Engagement

By Lia Kizilbash Gillet

Eric Lindsay is the principal owner of Westside Insurance Agency, LLC. in Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the NIU Black Alumni Council.

NIU Black Alumni Council (BAC) member Eric Lindsay, ‘80, was first a member of the BAC in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s.

With the desire to assist students through alumni interaction and support—and to be a visible Black alumni supporter of his alma mater—he re-engaged ten years later and has been committed ever since.

Lindsay is focused on recruitment and retention, fundraising, CHANCE Program Support and alumni engagement through the Black Alumni Council Enrichment Proposal. He, along with other BAC members, provides feedback and suggestions to the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of the President, and the NIU Foundation on how to leverage Black alumni relationships to accomplish common goals.

In 2021, during fundraising for the Fanny Ruth Patterson Scholarship (promoting the educational benefits that derive from a diverse student body and providing scholarship support for deserving students that embody the spirit of Fanny Ruth Patterson), Lindsay developed a friendly competition with more than 20 Black organizations that alumni had been members of while they were undergraduates.

“I spearhead the campaign, and we have ambassadors who reach out to their specific organization,” he explained. “I post updates regularly, which ignites the competition and allows those who haven't donated a chance to do so.” 

For the last three years, competing to see who can raise the most donations, these organizations have raised over $67,000 in total. Lindsay says they have the potential to raise even more in the coming year. The campaign will run throughout the month of December, 2024.

“I want our students to know their Black alumni support them, and when they graduate, they should support our students,” he said. “Howard Hill, the founding member of the BAC, has initiated recruiting members to mentor Black students in the different colleges. I support his efforts and encourage participation from our membership.” 

Lindsay credits NIU as giving him a “CHANCE” to experience an environment in which he could grow educationally, socially and politically.

“Joining Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity enabled me to engage with other student organizations,” he said. “I was president of our chapter and vice president of the Black Student Union. I led our chapter in two volunteer initiatives: filling sandbags to assist with the flooding in DeKalb and collecting funds on campus to donate to Providence St. Mel when the Archdiocese of Chicago wanted the school closed. The school building was sold to the principal and remained open as an independent college preparatory school. Still thriving today, it serves Pre-K through high school students and their seniors are accepted in all tiers of colleges and universities.”

Lindsay's dedication towards NIU—both past and present—and the Black alumni community is a testament to his commitment to giving back and supporting future generations. He is proud to be an example of how alumni can make a significant impact, and his contributions will continue to support students and the Black alumni community for years to come. 

Contact Liz McKee ‘14 M.S.Ed., senior director of alumni engagement, at or 815-753-7400, to discuss volunteer opportunities with NIU.