Dorothea Bilder obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with a major in Art, emphasizing painting and printmaking, from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois in 1962. Afterwards she attended Southern Illinois University (SIU), in Carbondale, Illinois to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in painting, with a minor in printmaking. While at SIU she received a two-year graduate teaching assistantship to drawing, earning her MFA in 1964. Following her MFA, Dorothea taught in the Chicago area and did postgraduate work at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and further study at both the University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy and La Romita School of Art in Terni, Italy. Dorothea joined the faculty in the then Art Department of Northern Illinois University in 1968 as an Assistant Professor of Art, teaching foundation drawing, life drawing classes, and art appreciation. In 1972 she received tenure and was promoted to full professor. In 1996, Dorothea was elected chair of the Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, and Illustration Division when it merged with the 3 dimensional studio disciplines of sculpture, fibers, metals, and ceramics now known as the Fine Arts Studio Division. She served as the leader of that division for a total of six years. Throughout her career Dorothea served in numerous School, College, and University committees. She attributes her 35-year tenure and her professional development in teaching to a personal love of art, a commitment to teaching, and her desire and positive attitude to work with both faculty and students toward assisting in the learning of the visual arts. She worked especially hard keeping printmaking at Northern a vital discipline through the 1990s. Following the spring semester of 2003, at the time of her retirement from full-time teaching, Dorothea reflected on her special memories of teaching. An experience that ranges from the large art appreciation courses she taught in the auditorium in the early years, to the following years of teaching beginning drawing and life drawing, and her later concentration on teaching relief printing and serigraphy. She decided to establish this scholarship as a way of continuing to contribute to the education of others in the visual arts.