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Teaching Writing with Super Heroes

College of Lake County


Contents FEATURES 3

Graphic Language English Professor Pat Gonder takes an unusual approach to teaching writing skills using the genre of comic books and graphic novels.


From Mao to Now Born in 1950 in China to communist party officials, Professor Li-hua Yu experienced China’s Cultural Revolution firsthand before coming to study in the U.S. By sharing her life experiences, she is helping students understand China’s culture and its growing importance as an economic powerhouse.


An Insider’s Look at Google, Inc. Author Steven Levy was given unparalleled access to the Silicone Valley giant for his new book, “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives.” In March he spoke on campus about what’s behind and ahead for the company.


To Our Readers: In this issue, we take you around campus, around the world and through cyberspace. On campus, we show you how one English professor is using comic books and graphic novels to teach writing skills. We follow a group of dental hygiene students to rural Tennessee to provide free care to the needy. And we go on a trek through the cyberspace world of Google with author Steven Levy. Then, we’re off across the globe, for a scholarship fundraiser involving a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and we also present some of the fascinating experiences of a faculty member who came of age in China during the Cultural Revolution. All in all, this issue is full of great adventures for summer beach reading. We hope you enjoy them, and don’t forget to visit us at Julie Shroka Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events

Brightening Smiles and Lives A group of students, faculty and staff journeyed to Knoxville, Tenn., to provide free dental care to rural residents without insurance.


Foundation Update: Peak Performers Dr. Richard Haney, vice president for educational affairs, turns an adventure of a lifetime into a fundraiser for scholarships.


Did Someone Help You Succeed? If you are grateful for support you received in getting your education, the Alumni Association’s mentoring program provides a way to repay the debt by helping current students.


Class Notes


News Roundup


Upcoming Events

AlumNews AlumNews is published three times a year by the College of Lake County’s Office of Alumni Relations and Special Events. Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events JULIE SHROKA Administrative Secretary DORAE BLOCK To submit story ideas, email Dave Fink, AlumNews editor, at or call him at (847) 543-2243.

Cover: Like a superhero, Dr. Patrick Gonder, a CLC English instructor, has a powerful tool in his arsenal. In his case, it’s a special-topics English composition course that uses comic books and graphic novels to teach writing.


Address change? Call (847) 543-2400. Share memories, ideas and comments at the CLC alumni website, at


Graphic Language Instructor uses comic books, graphic novels to teach English composition.


n a Wednesday morning in March, Dr. Patrick Gonder’s English composition class looks like any other, as students prepare to break into small groups to discuss literary works. But there’s one major difference: Instead of Shakespeare plays or Charles Dickens novels, they’re examining comic books and graphic novels sporting names like “Stuffed” and “Gotham City Sirens.” “Describe your graphic novel, tell your thesis statement and how you’re going to prove it,” Gonder said, announcing guidelines for the small groups that will discuss students’ ideas for their term papers. “Now, GO!” Students move their chairs into small circles and soon create a murmur, as discussions cover topics ranging from feminism and gender to psychoanalysis. Using comic books and graphic novels to teach English composition and literature may strike some as odd, but not to Gonder, a College of Lake County English professor. In his view, comic books and graphic novels have long been misunderstood and under-appreciated. Like Batman battling a villain, Gonder would like nothing better than to deliver a “Ka-POW!”-style knockout punch to notions that the genre is too shallow or too low-brow for a college English class. What’s more, he said, the genre is an effective way to teach writing and critical thinking to students in an increasingly pictorial age. “People often use the term ‘comic book’ as a pejorative term,” Gonder said. “My response is, ‘You must not be reading comic books.’” Indeed, comic strips and comic books never were intended to be read only by children, Gonder said. He rattled off a list of works aimed at adults, including EC Comics’ “Two-Fisted Tales,” a bimonthly, anthology war comic published in the early 1950s.

Pat Gonder, CLC English instructor, shows students the storytelling power of a graphic novel. In 2008, Gonder received the college’s Outstanding Full-time Faculty Member award. “Comic books and graphic novels are a multi-modal art,” he explained. “It’s the confluence or interaction of graphics, text and narrative. It’s the intersection of painting and storytelling. Will Eisner (an American comics writer) called it ‘sequential art.’” Citing an example, Gonder pulled from his office shelf a copy of “Flies on the Ceiling,” a comic book from the “Love and Rockets” series by Jaime Hernandez. “He writes with an amazingly complex panel structure,” Gonder said. “One part of the story has a nine-panel scene, with no speech balloons, profiling the struggle of a female author. There are the forces in her life crossing her out: the pressure to write,

the pressure of her broken marriage and more. A comic can convey this emotional strain in a way that a film or novel cannot do.”

‘Most censored’ art form Because comics were not as widely read as other literature in the early 1900s, and were inexpensive to produce, they allowed for more radical expression than other media, Gonder explained. “During World War II, soldiers carried around comic books because they were light weight and disposable,” he said. “When they returned to the U.S., they wanted comic books continued on page 4


COVER STORY Graphic Language continued from page <None>

Pat Gonder confers with Evan Koppes about the student’s analysis of a graphic novel. Gonder will teach Comic Books (English 121-031) in fall 2012.

with more adult themes. As a result, publishers created works such as ‘Two-Fisted Tales.’” The adult themes provoked a strong reaction from many, Gonder said. “It (comics) is the most censored art form in American history,” he explained. “In the 1950s, the Comics Magazine Association of America created the Comics Code Authority. The power of the Comics Code Authority ended in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but censorship remains a problem today. There is an entire organization, known as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that is devoted to helping comic book creators and others in the industry fight censorship.”

Turning a personal interest into a teaching tool While growing up in rural Carrollton, Mo., Gonder became a “big superhero fan,” reading everything from “Batman” and “Superman” to “Spiderman” and the “Fantastic 4.” Attending the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., would only fuel Gonder’s passion. 4 | COLLEGE OF LAKE COUNTY

“I lived across the street from a comic store,” recalled Gonder, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Missouri and later earned a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “I branched from superheroes to underground comic books such as ‘Maus,’ a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman.” At CLC, where he has taught the special topics English 122 course for eight years, Gonder has relished the chance to use comics to teach skills in writing and critical thinking as well as a deeper appreciation of the genre. “Comics are something students love and know already, because it’s an art that engages word and image,” he said. “We are in an age of increasing emphasis on the visual, and comics are a natural bridge between text and visual.” But even in a visual age, students still need to learn to write clearly. Gonder believes that comics can be a good model for teaching writing. “Any themed English composition course can help students improve their writing in an economical and time-efficient way,” he

explained. “If students can write about a subject about which they are passionate, they will write better papers. I tell my students that they will have to write many essays during their college years on subjects that they may not find interesting. But if writing about comics, or any other subject, helps them become better writers, then the concept of the themed course works.” Students have appreciated the chance to explore the less-than-traditional approach. “This course is a breath of fresh air,” said Tim Kelly, a freshman business major from Waukegan. “I wasn’t a big fan of comics prior to enrolling in the course, but it has helped me improve my writing skills and analyze things more clearly and differently.” For his term paper, Kelly examined “Stuffed,” a graphic novel written by Glen Eichler, who writes for “The Daily Show.” The story explores the life of two brothers who inherited a junk museum from their deceased father, with whom they had strained relations. “In one part of the story, each frame shows the main character (Tim Johnston’s) face transforming into his father’s face,” said Kelly, whose term paper explored the conflict between the id, ego and superego. “It shows that he is trying to suppress his father’s personality. You can’t see that kind of transformation in a traditional novel of only words.” Gonder, who said that the CLC administration has “always been open” to his course, has a ready response to skeptics. “If I stop people on the street in Chicago and ask, ‘Who is Hamlet?,’ a good chunk will say ‘a character from Shakespeare,’ but not everyone will know. If I ask, ‘Who is Batman?,’ everybody knows. The character is so integral to our culture but yet we treat its popularity as a reason not to read or teach it. “Of course, every student should learn Shakespeare, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t teach other forms of art and literature that touch a lot of lives.”


From Mao to Now CLC professor’s life reflect’s the history of modern China.

Dr. Li-hua Yu grew up in Communist China and now helps build U.S.-China relations.


orn in 1950 in China to Communist Party officials, Li-hua Yu experienced a childhood of privilege. Her parents could afford a chauffeur, nannies and nice clothes for her and her four younger siblings. She was doing well in school and on track for high school and a university education. But in 1966, her comfortable life came to an end as her

family became caught up in China’s Cultural Revolution. “The Cultural Revolution was intended by Mao to wipe out any possibility of capitalism in China,” said Yu, who today is a professor of sociology at the College of Lake County. “Targets of the revolution were intellectuals and government officials who were suspicious of doing

anything that was capitalistic. My parents had no clue as to how their jobs as government officials could be viewed as sympathetic to capitalism. But they, and many thousands of others, were accused.” The Communist Party secretary of a factory, Yu’s mother became singled out for ridicule at mass employee rallies and meetings. Eventually, the criticism turned to violence. “My mother and other factory managers were beaten with steel whips,” recalled Yu, who witnessed the incident at age 16. “Mother’s leg was broken and she lost a huge amount of blood. I was able, with the help of a few sympathetic factory workers, to get her to the hospital.” Once out of the hospital, Yu’s mother was sent to a labor camp and then to work at another factory. Her father was demoted from the company president position to cleaning bathrooms for two years. Yu, herself, found her hopes of attending high school crushed as she was sent to work in a lathe factory, earning $10 a month. “The government wanted students to go to factories, countryside and the army to receive re-education from, in their words, ‘peasants, workers and soldiers,’” Yu explained. Though the factory where she worked was clean, comfortable and well-organized, the work continued on page 6

Sino-American Timeline Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China.

Man-made famine results in 30 million deaths.

China's break with the Soviet Union.

[The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution — 1966 to 1976]

1949 ’50-’53 ‘58-60 ‘61 ‘62 ‘64 ’65 The Korean War

1st US Cuban Civil astronaut Missile Rights in space Crisis Act

Vietnam combat begins”

‘69 ‘70

Mao Zedong dies

‘71 ‘72 ‘73 ‘74 ‘76

CLC US enters 18 yr. olds Nixon Vietnam Nixon Opened Cambodia gain vote visits war ends resigns __________ ____________ China Watergate Kent State hearings protest

Deng Xiaoping Pro-democracy launches demonstrators economic Tiananmen Square reform program. are crushed.

‘78 ‘79 ‘89


United States formally recognizes China

Cold War ends


COLLEGE FOCUS From Mao to Now continued from page 5

was monotonous, Yu said. “I decided that I did not want to be a factory worker for the rest of my life. So, I never stopped learning English nor let go of my dream to attend college.”

From factory floor to lecture hall As a young girl, Yu had never met an American nor listened to American music, let alone dreamt of traveling to America. However, as the Cultural Revolution began to weaken, she started on the path that would lead to her dream of a university education and, later, to the U.S.

The Chinese government eventually awarded high school diplomas to the students like her who had been drafted into factory work. But for Yu to continue on to college, she needed the support of her co-workers. “To be eligible for college, you not only had to apply, you had to be recommended by co-workers. When I found out I had been selected by my co-workers, I was very happy,” she said. “I thought this would be my ticket to a better future. I always had a dream of finishing college, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a college professor.”

In 1972, she enrolled at Xi’an International Studies University, graduating in 1975 with a degree in English. She stayed at the university, teaching English for another nine years. In these years, she married, had a son and later divorced. She also made friends with visiting American instructors and learned about graduate school opportunities in the United States. “Very few Chinese universities had graduate programs at the time,” she recalled. “In 1984, the university had started relations with Bowling Green State University (in Ohio) and two other American universities.” Yu applied to Bowling Green and was accepted.

Clockwise from top: Li-hua Yu, right, with her siblings; as a college student in 1978; and a family portrait (Li-hua Yu is in front, second from right.)



Li-hua Yu interns at a 1978 trade fair.

Dr. Yu visits the exhibit of 3rd century B.C. Terracotta Army sculptures in Xi’an, China as part of a 2006 CLC tour.

Coming to America

of one of my professors, I started to familiarize myself with American culture by watching popular TV shows such as ‘Dallas’ and ‘M*A*S*H*.’ I became hooked on ‘M*A*S*H*’ because of the humor, history and the sarcasm. The shows helped me gain insights into the people and culture of America. “There’s no country in the world like the United States. It’s a welcoming culture for all sorts of people. Whether you have lots of money or little money, lots of talent or little talent, you can find your niche here and be happy.” For Yu that niche was both personal and professional. She completed a doctoral thesis on the history of Chinese immigrants in Idaho and earned a Ph.D. in American studies. She was reunited with her son and also met David Smith, an American English professor, whom she later married. In 1991, she moved to Lake County, accepting CLC’s offer to teach sociology.

As for many immigrants, coming to the U.S. meant both moving toward opportunity and leaving emotional ties behind, at least temporarily. Bowling Green offered the opportunity to earn a Ph.D., but enrolling there required the 34-year-old mother to leave her four-year-old son in her parents’ care. “For me, it was not an easy decision, even though my mother encouraged me to go and said that she and my father could take care of my son,” she recalled. “I was worried that I’d miss seeing him grow up, and on the day I left, I had tears in my eyes when I said goodbye to him. But there was no way that I could support him while attending graduate school at Bowling Green State.” Yu’s first six months in the United States would prove to be a difficult adjustment. “At first, I regretted it (my move) because everything was unfamiliar and different,” she recalled. “Everything that others knew—names, places, TV shows— I had no clue. I thought I was an idiot. But from the beginning, I learned to make connections with Americans. At the suggestion

Back to China—with students During her years at CLC, Yu has been eager to offer students the opportunity to learn firsthand about China through travel. In the 1990s,

she and English professor George Liu, who also attended Xi’an International Studies University, led overseas study trips to China. And in recent years, she helped write a successful grant application leading to the college obtaining U.S. Department of Education funding for a semester study program in China. Most recently, her efforts have helped CLC to be selected as the only community college to receive funding from the U.S. State Department to open an American cultural center at Xi’an International University in Xi’an, China, where CLC students spend a semester. (The other schools selected include major four-year universities like the University of Chicago.) These efforts are very important to Yu, who believes that students must learn more about China, given that country’s status as a growing economic powerhouse “The Chinese eagerness to make a profit is incredible. When I go back there, I can hardly recognize any place where I grew up or worked, as so many restaurants and retail stores have sprouted,” she said. “Sooner or later, Americans need to know China.” ALUMNEWS | 7


An Insider’s Look at Google, Inc. Brainy-but-fun culture, innovations should continue amid company’s growth, author says.


oogle, Inc. is like an adolescent— young, brash, unpredictable and growing rapidly. As the company continues to evolve, expect more bold, game-changing innovations as Google continues to revolutionize how the world uses the Web. That’s the word from Steven Levy, author of “In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives.” Levy, senior writer at Wired magazine and author of seven books, spoke at the College of Lake County’s Grayslake campus on March 3.

While writing “In The Plex,” Levy spent two years interviewing Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as other employees inside the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, known as the GooglePlex. Levy’s presentation, co-sponsored by the CLC Foundation, was open to the public and drew about 300 to the Mainstage Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts. AlumNews caught up with Levy during his visit.

Q. In terms of a life-changing invention, does Google compare to the printing press or TV? A. Absolutely; we’re living in a time probably similar to the printing press and these changes are coming much faster. When you get out to 50 years from now, I just don’t think you can (predict the future accurately). So much more will happen—not at a linear rate, but logarithmic. I think the movement Google’s part of is significant. Their mission is to give people

Technology author Steven Levy, left, prepares to autograph a copy of his book “In the Plex” at CLC’s Grayslake Campus.



access to all the world’s information, to organize it and make it accessible. If you think about human history, one of the big steps has to be the ability to record things, using language. Set (information) down so other generations could read it. But, it wasn’t instantly accessible. You had to get the physical copy. Now, you get (a document) in less than a second. That is a giant change which changes our thinking. A lot of people think that, “Wow, we’re going to lose a lot because people won’t memorize dates and things like that.” Well, what if you don’t have to? What if it’s always there, at your fingertips? Maybe you should concentrate now on the thoughts or the ideas behind things. And you’re able to get information to enhance your discussions about those ideas. Q. What do you see as “the next big thing” in the next five to 10 years? A. I think it’s a combination of a couple of things. One is the huge amounts of data that we’re generating ourselves—and other people are collecting. And it’s getting to be set down in a formal order so computers can analyze it very effectively. It’s a combination of big data and smart learning algorithms that learn how to mine that data and find things that humans couldn’t figure out before. Q. What’s the latest on Google’s efforts to develop revolutionary new products such as the self-driving car? A. The only thing we know that they’re doing—and they’re being very secretive about it—is the project they have with selfdriving cars. I’ve been in one of these cars; they didn’t take me on the road. We were in the top floor of a parking garage. The car is heading straight to the edge at 45 miles per hour, then screeches (the tires) and goes left. The whole course was like that. One screech after another. I couldn’t tolerate a human

Expect more “disruptive” new Google products, says author Levy.

being driving like that. Yet, somehow, intellectually, I was OK with the idea of a car driving itself. With my aging parents, I often wonder if it’s OK for them to drive. It won’t be a question of whether we’ll have self-driving cars. It will be a question of which self-driving car should we give ol’ Dad. So, this kind of ambition, to me, is probably where Google’s next big business will come from. That’s why I’m bullish on Google for the long term. Q. What are the ramifications of Google buying Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (a Libertyville-based company)? A. We could be at a point where more people search on mobile devices than on desktops. If Google didn’t have a presence (in the mobile device market) in a way that made sure their search was prominent in the mobile world, they’d really be up against it there. In buying Motorola, they didn’t just get a patent portfolio (to compete in the ultracompetitive smart phone market), they got a lot more money because they got a big company. It’s almost going to double their size.

Larry Page (the CEO) is very ambitious, and he’s very disruptive. With Motorola Mobility, I think Google is going to come up with a disruptive business model, and maybe come up with a disruptive new product. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give away phones. That’s certainly keeping with the model they have. They give away Android, right? Q. As a veteran observer of Google and the Internet age, what impressed you the most about Google in your two years of research there? A. I think it was the high standard they took in hiring people. I think they are going to be challenged on this as they get bigger and bigger. They really try to make sure that every employee is, in a different room, the smartest person in the room. And also, they optimize the company so employees can be more productive. You can see it in the simple things. Every Google conference room has a table equipped with several types of cords so that any kind of laptop can be plugged into it. It’s so simple, but other places don’t do that.



Dental hygiene students, Wendi Parker, left, and Brittany Losey, right, clean a patient’s teeth at a temporary work station set up inside a Knoxville, Tenn.-area armory.

Brightening Smiles and Lives CLC dental hygiene volunteers help staff rural clinic


n parts of rural Tennessee, where many low-income mothers feed their babies sugary soda pop instead of milk, it’s not hard to see why dental care and proper dental hygiene are sorely needed “Sugary pop is like water to many people in the rural South, and it’s cheaper than milk,” said Mary Jacobs, CLC assistant professor of dental hygiene. Jacobs and a team of 25 other CLC dental hygiene students and instructors saw the results of such a diet first-hand in February when they volunteered to be part of a project to bring dental services to rural communities near Knoxville, Tenn. 10 | COLLEGE OF LAKE COUNTY

Scores of the needy Tennessee residents who lack dental insurance are now smiling much more brightly, thanks to the CLC team, who joined more than 300 other volunteers from around the country as part of a project organized by the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps (RAM), a medical charity based in Knoxville. The organization brings free health care, dental care, veterinary services and education to people in remote areas of the United States and around the world. RAM volunteers worked in temporary dental stations at an armory, providing treatment for about 1,000 residents over a weekend. CLC students performed 125 cleanings and assisted

with many extractions and filling procedures. Lessons in oral hygiene were also provided. Many of the residents had never learned proper dental care, and as a result had badly decayed teeth, Jacobs said. One patient had to have 12 teeth removed, and other patients had health problems such as “meth mouth,” a blackening and deterioration of the teeth resulting from methamphetamine drug abuse. The CLC volunteers rose at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday and Sunday morning, so they could be at the make-shift clinic by 6 a.m. “When the doors opened, many patients were already in line, having slept overnight in their cars,” explained Sue Nierstheimer, dental


hygiene department chair. “Our group worked until mid-or late afternoon on both days.” Besides Jacobs and Nierstheimer, the CLC team included three other CLC instructors— Karen Siebert, Vicki Molitor and Lisa Lanis—and the program’s clinical dentist, Dr. Tom Allegretti; the CLC clinic’s receptionist, Joni Gruber, and its clinical coordinator, Danielle Tesch. Sixteen dental hygiene students also participated, having raised $6,200 to cover the cost of the trip by selling baked goods and fundraising.

A focus on service The project marked the third year that Jacobs has led a CLC group to a RAM project in Tennessee. She initially shadowed a group from Parkland College in Southern Illinois in 2009, and then began spearheading CLC’s involvement in 2010. According to Jacobs, CLC’s involvement has been part of an increasing emphasis on community service and public health in the dental hygiene curriculum. “Traditionally, there hasn’t been a focus to prepare students for working in public health settings,” she explained. “Colleges, including CLC, are looking at their dental hygiene curriculum to see how we can help minimize the disparity in oral health care in the U.S.” Ultimately, however, the project was a lesson in how health care should focus on caring. Nierstheimer considered the trip a “defining moment” for her, both personally and professionally. “It was exhausting, but worth it,” she said. “Watching the members of our dental hygiene program exhibit such compassion and diligence in helping others gave me great insight into the power of humanity. And the courage of the patients to put their well-being into our hands was very humbling.” The students were deeply moved, too. “Picture this: People sitting in their cars for two days and nights just to have a chance to lie

Alumni News

In parts of rural Tennessee, where many low-income mothers feed their babies sugary soda pop instead of milk, it’s not hard to see why dental care and proper dental hygiene are sorely needed. in my chair for a cleaning,” said Jen Parsons (’12). “It was mind boggling. I was amazed to see them smile and feel better about themselves. They were so grateful. Every dental hygiene student should do this (trip) before getting licensure. It’s definitely a confidence booster.” Said Wendi Parker (’12): “The trip was, hands down, the best learning experience I’ve ever had. It was a ‘We Are the World’ moment. None of us wanted to take a break because there were so many people, and they were so grateful.” Jordan Farnham (’12), an admitted “homebody” from Winthrop Harbor, also found the trip to be enriching. “When I first heard about it, my reaction was: ‘I’m not going!’” she said. “But when I saw the people, I couldn’t wait to help them. I feel blessed for the opportunity to be there.” Participating in the project has also led to career opportunities. “Going to RAM showed me a whole different perspective on how dental hygienists can reach out to people,” said Gina Lieberman (’10), who participated in the effort in a previous year. She said the experience led her to accept her current job with Smiles Illinois, a network of mobile dentists that provides service to needy children. “I understood how important it was to be able to get to the children who otherwise may not have any preventive treatment,” she said. “It’s not glamorous, but I love my job.”

Carol Noel (’76) is the owner of Daycare by Carol, a licensed daycare provider in Beach Park, Ill. Rob Standard (’85) is a vice president of chemical technology at Gainesville, Ga.-based Tower Sealants, Inc. Richard Schurz (’90) is a self-employed auctioneer and appraiser in Colorado. In January, he was elected president of the Colorado Auctioneers Association. Val Munchez-van der Wagt (’05) is a chief underwriter and project manager at Allstate Financial, Inc. in Vernon Hills, Ill. Francisco “Frankie” Bataz, Jr. (’06) is a student support services specialist at the College of Lake County. Suzanne Slade, who took a writing class at CLC 15 years ago, is a Libertyville, Ill.-based author who has published 88 non-fiction children’s books. Kirk Nickerson (’77) is a financial representative for Country Financial for 21 years in South Holland, Ill.

In Memoriam Lynn Curtis passed away on May 8, 2012. Lynne began teaching English in 1970, the college’s second year of operation, and continued to inspire and influence students and colleagues for 37 years. Frank Nickels passed away on February 12, 2012. Frank began his career as a CLC counselor June 14, 1971 and retired on December 17, 2011. He was beloved by staff and students and was an inspiration to all.

What have you been doing lately? Let your fellow alumni know! Post your submissions online at


Dr. Richard Haney and his wife, Amy, take a break at the summit of Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro.



Foundation Update: Peak Performers Editor’s Note: In March, Dr. Richard Haney, CLC vice president for Educational Affairs, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his wife, Amy, and four friends. Though the Haneys’ expedition had been long in the planning as a personal adventure, the couple also saw it as an opportunity to raise funds for the CLC Foundation’s scholarship campaign, Changing Lives. The couple asked their friends and colleagues to encourage them on their climb by donating to the scholarship campaign through a website established by the college. Their effort raised $6,500 for scholarships. Here are Dr. Haney’s personal recollections of the climb.

After a 16-hour, twostop flight from O’Hare to Kilimanjaro, followed by a day of rest, we meet our two guides and the 23 porters who will accompany us. Amy, our four friends and I wear backpacks containing rain gear, coldweather gear and water canteens. The porters carry our food, cooking supplies and tents. It rains for the first two hours as we climb through the rain forest and into the heather zone. The higher elevation brings increasing winds, decreasing rainfall, rocky trails, wild grasses and dark green, shrub-like heather. Here, the daytime temperature can soar above 85 degrees, and drop below freezing at night. After we hike about five miles, we reach the 4,000 foot elevation camp at 5 p.m. Our spirits are up.

Day 1-2:

Our guide service, the Kiliwarriors, is treating us well, and before we leave camp this morning we videotape their traditional climbing song. We climb up to 13,000 feet, seeing some amazing views. Then we descend back a few hundred feet to sleep at Shira Camp because climbing high and sleeping low helps with acclimatization. Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

Day 3:

A strong storm moves in with high winds, rain and lightning. When we leave our tent at 8 a.m.,

Day 4:

we find Mt. Kilimanjaro covered in snow, and we start our trek to over 15,000 feet. At high altitudes, even little things like getting in and out of a tent can cause shortness of breath. Unfortunately, our friend Rob (a marathon runner, no less) is not feeling well and is sent back down to the hotel for the rest of the week. We climb all day and arrive at Baranco Camp around 5:30 p.m. Everyone else in our group is doing well, despite a few little aches and pains. Our morning starts with climbing the Baranco Wall. The steep, 1,000-foot long trail, strewn with craggy rocks and boulders, is the most technically demanding part of the entire climb, and I am happy that we all make it without any problems. We arrive at Karanga Camp safely around 1 p.m. and we spend the rest of the day resting, hydrating, eating and preparing for the final push. At higher altitudes, you burn more calories, so the guides make you eat a lot. Breakfast consists of coffee or tea, scrambled eggs, breads and porridge. We also have fruits such as melons, pineapples and breads. Lunch and dinner include a soup, sandwich and one or two Tanzanian dishes of different vegetables. Almost every meal has coconut rice and pasta, to load us up with carbohydrates. During the hikes, the guides strongly encourage us to eat snacks such as trail mix

Day 5:

and protein bars. You get so sick of eating. And to stay hydrated, I drink an average of three to five liters of water a day.) We leave camp at 9 a.m. About mid-morning, our guide suggests that we bypass the scheduled Barafu Camp and head to a private camp at 16,100 feet. Our guides have to “pay” the local Rangers to allow us to pass and to stay at the private camp, which will cut an hour or more off of our midnight summit. We arrive at the camp around 1:30 p.m. and spend the rest of the day eating, drinking, resting and getting ready for the long trek to the summit. We leave camp around midnight. Everyone in our group is feeling well and can’t wait to reach the summit.

Day 6:

The 30-50-mile per hour winds cause the tent to shake, so I don’t sleep very well. We get up at 11 p.m. to hike under the light of a full moon and reach the summit at sunrise. The wind chills are below zero, causing our water jugs to freeze solid. Even though I have on several layers of clothing, the core of my body is cold. We can’t move very fast because of the altitude. But, finally, the sun rises at about 6:30 a.m. and we reach the summit! Even though this climb has not required oxygen masks or rappelling ropes, the trek has been much more difficult than any of us had imagined. Reaching every summit is emotional, but this one is greater than most because it has been such a long journey. We are surrounded by glaciers all around us. I can’t describe the view!

Day 7:

For more information on the Changing Lives scholarship campaign, visit



Did Someone Help You Succeed? Repay it forward as a mentor

Teresa Williams, left, and mentor Julie Shroka


hen Teresa Williams (’10) earned her associate degree from the College of Lake County in 2001, the then 48-year-old had been through a lot—drug addiction and six years of living homeless. Now, a global project manager at a Chicago-area manufacturer, and working toward a bachelor’s degree, she has learned that you can turn your life around, especially if a few people are willing to extend a helping hand along the way. Besides her husband, Kenny, Williams credits several people with making a difference in her life. Karen Cox, a now retired Lake County substance abuse counselor, helped her overcome drug abuse. A supervisor from a former job got her thinking about getting more education by offering to help pay her tuition if she enrolled at 14 | COLLEGE OF LAKE COUNTY

CLC. Later, Tom Reed, a CLC technical writing instructor, encouraged her to believe she could master business writing. And Julie Shroka, director of alumni relations and special events at CLC, offered moral support when Williams felt overwhelmed at juggling school, work and family responsibilities and assisted her in obtaining scholarships. Now, well on her way toward her goals, Williams is attending North Park University, working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Eventually, she would like to repay the help she received by working at a non-profit assisting disadvantaged women. “I know that my firsthand experiences would prove to be useful to others,” she said. Williams was lucky to find the help she needed at crucial times. Others aren’t always as fortunate in finding people who can provide the right advice and encouragement. That’s why the college’s Office of Alumni Relations and Special Events is developing an expanded mentoring program that will match aspiring students with alumni mentors. “Volunteering to be a mentor is a way for alumni to make a difference in the lives of students and young alumni,” said Julie Shroka. The program will team the resources of the Office of Alumni Relations and Special Events with the college’s Career and Placement Services Center. “Career and Placement Services participates in the College Central website that matches potential employees with employers,” Shroka said. “That website (at clcillinois) has added a section that assists in matching mentors and students.” The site provides an easy way for interested alumni to offer their services and students to seek out mentors, Shroka said.

And because everyone is busy these days, the program has been designed with no set rules for how or how frequently mentors and students should meet. Options include everything from in-person meetings to email or phone contact, conducted on whatever schedule works for both the mentor and student. Volunteers can even choose to mentor a student organization, such as the Engineering Club, in an area of their professional expertise. Three optional mentor training sessions are also being offered for those mentors who want a bit of guidance on working with students, Shroka said. “We want to be flexible and let the mentor and student build their comfort level naturally,” she said. If you are interested in participating in the mentor program, call Shroka at (847) 543-2847. To sign up online as a mentor, visit and click Alumni, then Mentor tab.

To become a mentor, follow these steps: 1. Log on to 2. Click on the Alumni icon 3. Select the Mentoring Network link 4. Click the Join Our Mentoring Network link 5. Enter the following password: cps 6. Click on Add My Mentoring Profile


Alumni welcome 1,826 graduates in Class of ‘12 The class of 2012, consisting of 1,826 graduates, who earned a total of 2,213 degrees and certificates, was recognized at the College of Lake County’s 43rd commencement ceremony, held May 12 in Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre. The commencement speaker, Walter Leise (’94 and ’95), is chief executive officer of Sarasota, Fla.-based Sarasota Medical Products, Inc. The Army veteran earned two associate degrees from CLC—one in chemical technology and the other in biochemical technology. A former research scientist at Abbott Laboratories, Inc., Leise holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Chicago, an M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Pulitzer Prize winner awarded 2012 statewide Distinguished Alumni Award Deborah Nelson (’73) received in June the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. Holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University, Nelson earned two Pulitzer Prizes in her 31-year newspaper career and currently teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.

College launches new associate degrees in sales and sustainable agriculture Beginning in fall 2012, CLC will launch two new Associate in Applied Science degree programs. The sales degree focuses on the organizational, interpersonal and communication skills that are critical to successful selling. The sustainable agriculture degree prepares students to manage or work in smaller farms that grow organic food for local consumers. For details on the sales program,contact Lori Oriatti at For information on the sustainable agriculture degree, contact Rory Klick at

Joan Legat Memorial Golf Outing The annual Joan Legat Memorial Golf Outing, held May 18 at Glen Flora Country Club in Waukegan, raised more than $30,000 for the Foundation’s scholarship fund, according to Bill Devore, executive director of the CLC Foundation.

Alumni Association website now has videos, back issues of AlumNews The Alumni Association’s website has several upgrades, including the ability to link your news story comments directly to your Facebook page. Stay informed and connected to CLC by visiting and becoming part of our online community.



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Cubs vs. Brewers at Miller Park Monday, Aug. 20 Catch up with fellow alumni and friends as the border battle continues in Milwaukee’s Miller Park. The bus will depart from the Grayslake campus at 5 p.m. and the game begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $35 per ticket and $15 for bus transportation. To reserve tickets, visit or call the Alumni Center at (847) 543-2400.

Saturday, September 29 SAVE THE DATE! Enjoy a dinner, auction, dancing and more at the “Black & White Ball,” the CLC Foundation’s 2012 Scholarship Gala, to be held at the storied Lehmann Mansion in Lake Vila, Ill. For details, call (847) 543-2400 or visit

Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps November 8 at 7:30 p.m. Mainstage Theatre One of Broadway’s longest-running comedy thrillers, “The 39 Steps” is packed with laughs and thrills and unique characters. The cast of four portrays between 100 and 150 roles, including actors doubling parts within the same scene. The play received two Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and earned London’s Oliver Award for Best New Comedy. To order tickets call (847) 543-2300 or visit Subscriptions to Professional Series events go on sale July 5. Single tickets will be for sale online and at the box office beginning Aug. 20.

Katie Armiger Trio Friday, November 2 8 p.m. Mainstage Theatre Katie Armiger was voted Country Weekly’s #1 Hottest Bachelorette in Country Music in May. Her latest video, “Best Song Ever,” was voted #1 on “Great American Country’s” Top 20 Countdown for four weeks. You’ll enjoy Katie’s powerful vocals and skillful songwriting in this inspiring music performance. Her determination and passion simply shine through her music.

AlumNews Summer 2012  

Summer 2012 AlumNews Magazine

AlumNews Summer 2012  

Summer 2012 AlumNews Magazine