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Urban Matters

Constance Mixon has brought new vibrancy to the urban studies program founded by storied professor Andrew K. Prinz, expanding its scope far beyond the city limits.

in this issue

02 14


Plus: Elmhurst’s historic enrollments, a renewed appreciation for Chicago Imagists, the Power of Many, and more.


Constance Mixon has brought new vibrancy to the urban studies program founded by storied professor Andrew K. Prinz, expanding its scope far beyond the city limits.












When Taylor Nirchi closes out her collegiate volleyball career, few will know how much she overcame just to get back in the game.


For many, achieving the American Dream begins with earning a college degree. But first-generation college students can face additional obstacles. Meet an Elmhurst “first-gen” who’s beating the odds, and then some.



Catch up on what’s new with your classmates, and share your news with us.


Whether leading an eclipse-viewing party or a class on quasars, physics professor Brian Wilhite brings the complexities of the universe down to earth.

Alumni Association President Tim O’Toole ’03 | Members of the Board Jeanne Burda ‘82, Karl Constant ’07, Jenn Duffield ’10, Mike Durnil ’71, Ed Earl ’86, Heather Forster Jensen ’08, Jacque (Kindahl) Hulslander ’72 and ’82, Elizabeth Mckee’11, Brian Pociask ’14, Lisa Rexroad ’94, Sabrina Ruff ’09, Bill Sir ’64, Dick Smith ’73, Rodney Stewart ’89, Ron Stone ’65, Frank Tuozzo ’72 | Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Valerie Day | Office of Alumni Relations (630) 617-3600, alumni@elmhurst.edu | Editors Desiree Chen, Margaret Currie | Contributors Lauren Altiery, Amanda Gannon ’13, Kevin Juday, Susan Keaton, Constance Mixon, Laura Ress, Andrew Santella, Barbara Sedlack | Photography Bob Coscarelli, Genevieve (True) Lee ’09, Yuma Nakada, Andrew Schones, Steve Woltmann | Art Direction and Design Yuma Nakada

Dear friends, If you’ve walked around our beautiful campus lately, you may have noticed a heightened energy about the place—more activity, more conversations, more people in our gathering spaces. There’s a great reason why. I’m pleased to report that Elmhurst College’s current enrollment stands at the highest point in our 146-year history! At 3,529, our overall enrollment includes members of the firstyear class, transfer students, new traditional part-time students, new graduate students and new students enrolled in the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA), as well as returning students. We’ve had positive news in other areas as well. We are enjoying a new period of financial stability, achieved through greater fiscal discipline and the resolution last spring of Illinois’ two-year budget impasse. We also continue to make gains on the fundraising front. Our total for fiscal year 2017 is $7.45 million, more than three times what was raised the previous year. And earlier this fall, we added another college rankings distinction to our already impressive collection: U.S. News & World Report ranked Elmhurst No. 3 in the Midwest for the strength of our undergraduate teaching. You can read about these successes and more in this issue of fyi, including a profile about Associate Professor Constance Mixon, director of our urban studies program and one of the reasons for that accolade from U.S. News. Our accomplishments in the last year have sparked a powerful momentum that we want to fuel, especially as we build toward our sesquicentennial. At the same time, we are developing a bold strategic plan that will channel this momentum into creating what we want Elmhurst College to be—not only in 2021 but for the next 150 years. We cannot do it without you. We need your insights, your energy, your commitment. Join us, and help to shape the future of Elmhurst College. Best,

Troy D. VanAken President, Elmhurst College


News on Campus

TOP COLLEGE And a Best Value, too.

Elmhurst continues to excel in national rankings and scores a new recognition this year from U.S. News & World Report, for the strength of its undergraduate teaching.



Best in the Midwest for Undergraduate Teaching



Best Regional Universities



Best Value Colleges in Illinois



Best Regional Universities for Veterans



Best Value Schools in Midwest


ELMHURST COLLEGE SEES HISTORIC ENROLLMENTS Elmhurst College is celebrating its highest enrollments in the College’s 146-year history, both for new students and for the overall population. At 3,529, the record-setting number includes members of the firstyear class, transfer students, new traditional part-time students, new graduate students and new students enrolled in the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA), along with returning students. The population includes 2,641 traditional full-time undergraduate students, 606 graduate students and 48 ELSA students. Fittingly, this population includes the Class of 2021, a historic group in its own right because its members will graduate during the College’s sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary year. The high enrollments come during a new period of financial stability for the College, achieved through greater fiscal discipline and the resolution last spring of the state’s two-year budget impasse. Like nearly every other college and university across the state, Elmhurst had a number of students who were promised grant monies from the Monetary Assistance Program, or MAP. During Illinois’ budget difficulties, Elmhurst College used institutional funds to cover its

MAP students. The restored state funding and fiscal initiatives contributed to an operating budget surplus this year of $5.4 million. “Our record enrollment success, combined with MAP funding, place Elmhurst in a very strong position for the future,” said Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken. “We have a tremendous opportunity to take some bold, innovative steps that will provide an even more vibrant environment for our current and future students.”

For more campus news, go to elmhurst.edu/news


since 1999. The program prepares the College’s students for education careers by matching them with teachers in partner school districts for mentor workshops, training sessions and other field experiences. Inland sponsors the After-School Science Program with two local highneed school districts, and also has Elmhurst College awarded its 2017 been a key sponsor of the College’s Founders Medal, in recognition annual Governmental Forum. of outstanding contributions to Lucks has practiced law for 40 the College’s mission, to Daniel L. years, forming her own firm in the Goodwin and the Inland Group of 1990s. She joined the Elmhurst Real Estate Companies; Barbara J. College Board of Trustees in 1991 and Lucks ’73; and Martha and David served as chair of the Development Sampsell. Committee and vice chair before Established in 1978, the Founders becoming the board’s first woman Medal is one of the College’s most chair in 2012. She has made the prestigious honors. This year’s College her No. 1 philanthropic recipients were celebrated at a priority, focusing on unrestricted ceremony on October 20. support and scholarships. She has Goodwin is the founder, CEO and been generous with her time as well, chairman of the Inland Group, which hosting alumni events at her home, has provided primary funding for the moderating an alumni lawyers’ Satellite Field Experience Network symposium, hosting a symposium program for education students for the Faculty Women’s Caucus,


Pictured (from left): David and Martha Sampsell, Barbara J. Lucks ’73 and Daniel L. Goodwin

and participating in numerous commencement ceremonies over the years. The Sampsells are passionate supporters of the Elmhurst College Honors Program. During her 20 years as an Elmhurst professor, Martha Sampsell served on the Honors Program committee as the scholarship and fellowship application coordinator, and initiated the Center for Business and Economics Mentoring Program at Elmhurst. The Sampsells are the single largest donors to the Honors Program. They have also made challenge gifts to spur giving by others.

Elmhurst College launched a redesigned website in late October, featuring a mobile-first approach to provide a seamless user experience across all devices. “Research indicates that today’s students spend more time than ever on their phones—not only communicating with each other, but also learning about colleges,” said Jonathan Shearer, senior director of online marketing. “By designing our new site with mobile devices in mind, we’re meeting students on their own terms.” The new site tells the story of the College in fresh and engaging ways by highlighting student experiences and showcasing the beauty of the campus. New features include: • Vibrant new photography and increased use of video • A streamlined structure that makes it easier for visitors to find the information they need

The October launch included more than 400 top-level pages, with all remaining pages moving into the new template in the coming months. The site will continue to evolve during that time, including the addition of an innovative “Program Finder” feature that gives students an easy way to learn more about specific majors or graduate programs. The redesign process began in March 2017 and incorporated substantial input from administrative leaders and others across the campus. This is the first comprehensive redesign of elmhurst.edu in almost a decade. Check out the alumni section at elmhurst.edu/alumni


News on Campus

RENEWED APPRECIATION FOR CHICAGO IMAGISTS Works from College’s Collection on Exhibition in Milan

The Chicago Imagists—whose fanciful, surreal and dreamlike works make up the core of the Elmhurst College Art Collection—are receiving new recognition at home and abroad.


WEIGAND CENTER CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered on September 29 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Russell G. Weigand Center for Professional Excellence. Launched in 1997 under the leadership of then-President Bryant Cureton, the Weigand Center (or CPE, as it was known at the time) set out to change the way Elmhurst students thought about professional life. Combining traditional career resources with programs like international education and the Honors Program, the new Center encouraged students to think broadly about their life’s work in the world—not just about their first full-time job. Today, the Weigand Center serves hundreds of students at every stage of the college journey, opening the door to internships, study-abroad experiences, service-learning and mentoring opportunities, and much more.

“When we started this program 20 years ago, President Cureton talked about enriching what we did well— integrating professional preparation with liberal learning, and preparing young people for the world of work,” Larry Carroll, executive director of the Weigand Center, said at the celebration. “Looking back, I know that thanks to hard work and effort by a lot of folks, we’ve taken this to another level.” Last year, the Center was renamed the Russell G. Weigand Center for Professional Excellence in honor of a $2.25 million gift pledge from Elmhurst College Trustee Russell Weigand ’64 and his wife, Joyce Slone Weigand. “Over the years, with very careful direction and management, this center has emerged as one of the most important and distinctive parts of the College,” Russell Weigand said at the anniversary celebration. “We’re thankful for 20 years, and may there be many, many more!”

Chicago Imagists in Milan An exhibit at Fondazione Prada in Milan, “Famous Artists from Chicago, 1965–1975,” features works by Suellen Rocca, curator and director of exhibits at the College, and eight other artists. For the show, which runs through January 15, 2018, Elmhurst College loaned the museum three of its most important works: Cobmaster by Ed Paschke (1975), Glimpsed by Christina Ramberg (1975) and See Seven Cities by Roger Brown (1971). Symposium Planned for December Suellen Rocca learned in June that she would be awarded an $18,445 grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to support

Roger Brown, See Seven Cities, 1971

For more campus news, go to elmhurst.edu/news

“The Figure, Humor and the Chicago Imagists,” a full-day symposium planned for December 16, 2018, at the College. The program, part of the Terra Foundation’s 2018 Art Design Chicago initiative, will explore how the Chicago Imagists used humor in depicting the human figure. The day will include a presentation by New York art critic and editor Dan Nadel, and a tour of the collection at the A.C. Buehler Library. Hairy Who at the Art Institute Also as part of Art Design Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago is planning a special exhibit on the Hairy Who, a group of six Imagists, including Rocca, whose works in

Ed Paschke, Cobmaster, 1975

the 1960s challenged prevailing social mores and concepts of gender and sexuality. The Art Institute hopes to procure 100 artworks for the exhibit, which will run between September 1, 2018, and January 6, 2019. “This is major recognition and very exciting,” Rocca said. “And I get to be involved, both as an artist and curator.” Elmhurst College’s “The Figure, Humor and the Chicago Imagists” symposium and the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit are part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

ELMHURST COLLEGE AND KINDERWORLD EDUCATION GROUP BECOME OFFICIAL PARTNERS Elmhurst College and the Singapore-based KinderWorld Education Group have signed two partnership agreements that will smooth the path for students enrolled in KinderWorld schools, in southeast Asia, to attend Elmhurst College. KinderWorld Education Group provides educational services for children in grades K-12, as well as higher and continuing education, in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. During a signing ceremony on the Elmhurst College campus on Thursday, October 12, Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken and KinderWorld Chairman Ricky Tan signed two formal agreements: • A Student Recruitment Collaboration Agreement, which engages KinderWorld as Elmhurst College’s exclusive student recruitment partner in Vietnam. • A Guaranteed Admission Agreement between Elmhurst College and Pegasus International College, a KinderWorld partner school that provides higher education courses to Vietnamese students in such areas as hospitality, tourism and business. The agreement offers Pegasus International College students guaranteed admission to Elmhurst College to complete the Elmhurst Management Program.

The guaranteed admission agreement is an international version of similar transfer agreements Elmhurst signed recently with College of DuPage, Triton College and Moraine Valley Community College. “We’ve signed a number of these kinds of agreements with community colleges and have seen them bear fruit,” President VanAken said. “It’s part of why we’ve seen record enrollments here, and it’s part of why some really good things are going to happen for our people and the institution.” President VanAken looked forward to the opportunities the agreements would create, noting that the College’s strengthened relationship with KinderWorld “really opened my eyes to the way the world can work in an interconnected way.” Chairman Tan agreed. “For all of our high school and other students who come to America, we want their first choice to be Elmhurst College,” he said. “I look forward to a very long, fruitful relationship with Elmhurst. I believe this partnership will allow for our students to have the best education America has to offer.”


Alumni Impact


That’s the amount Elmhurst College raised in Fiscal Year 2017. It’s more than three times what was raised the previous year. Here’s a look at the donors who made it happen.

2,009 1,400+ 6


support the College with three or more consecutive years of giving

donors include Elmhurst College in their will

396 Donors represented

donors supported the Elmhurst College Scholarship Fund last year

gave their first gift last year to support scholarships at the College



Our oldest donor is


Join the thousands who’ve made a lasting impact—

make your gift and make it count. Visit give.elmhurst.edu

For more campus news, go to elmhurst.edu/news

Fellow Alumni, Greetings from beautiful Elmhurst College, where we recently celebrated one of our most successful Homecoming weekends ever. Under clear blue skies, more than 900 of our fellow alumni came together to cheer on the Bluejays, reconnect with old friends, and re-engage in the life of the College. From the football game to class reunions to the Fifty-Year Club dinner, the weekend featured many opportunities to celebrate and reconnect. The next few pages feature some of the highlights of Homecoming, giving you the chance to reminisce or catch up on what you missed. I hope to see many of you at some of the terrific events we have planned over the next few months. And as always, I look forward to continuing the great work of the Alumni Association in involving our alumni in the life of the College today. Sincerely, Tim O’Toole ’03 President, Elmhurst College Alumni Association Board




From a bonfire and pep rally on the Mall to Bluejay Pride on the field—with joyous reunions along the way—a roaring good time was had by all! Watch the highlights video at elmhurst.life/HomecomingVideo2017.

Alumni Impact society and to the College. This year’s honorees were: • Zubair Ali Ahmed ’06, a neurologist, scholar and teacher, received the Young Alumni Award. • Katherine M. Lenz ’09, an optometrist who also received the Young Alumni Award, embodies the College’s core value of social responsibility through her tireless work in treating underserved patients. • Susan Frick ’85, who received the Distinguished Service to Society Award, has dedicated her career to supporting individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. • Herbert K. Washington Jr. ’97, vice president of Aspire Kids, received the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award for his dedication to giving back to the College and its students.


Pictured (from left): Jim Brusveen ’72, Rev. Dr. Joseph John Richardson, Sr. ’89, Henry L. Ellis ’81, Zach Hofer ’12 and Mark Corsello ’12

ALUMNI HONORED FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COLLEGE AND SOCIETY During Homecoming Weekend, Elmhurst College celebrated the accomplishments of a number of alumni, both for their achievements as students and after establishing themselves in the world. At the All Athletics Reunion Dinner Andrew Warsen ’17 on Friday, September 29, five alumni were inducted into the Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame, including: Jim Brusveen ’72, who excelled on the football, basketball and baseball teams; Mark Corsello ’12, a three-time All-American in wrestling; Henry L. Ellis ’81, a three-time all-conference basketball player; Zach Hofer ’12, one of the best baseball players in Elmhurst history; and, as a special recognition inductee, the Rev. Dr. Joseph John Richardson Sr. ’89, better known as “Rev. Joe.” The Langhorst Legacy Award was given to football player Andrew Warsen ’17, considered a student athlete who embodies work ethic, determination and a team-first attitude. The Alumni Awards breakfast, held on Saturday, September 30, was another highlight of the weekend. Alumni and Faculty Merit Awards are given to alumni and faculty who have made exemplary contributions to

The College also presented the Dr. Andrew K. Prinz Faculty/Staff Merit Award to Frank Mittermeyer, a retired biology professor and founding director of the Center for the Health Professions.

Pictured (from left): Zubair Ali Ahmed ’06, Katherine M. Lenz ’09, Frank Mittermeyer, Susan Frick ’85 and Herbert K. Washington Jr. ’97

For more campus news, go to elmhurst.edu/news


In honor of its 50th Reunion, the Class of 1967 has made a commitment to current students through the power of student scholarships. The campaign launched earlier this year with a goal of $67,000. To date, more than $52,080 has been raised in gifts and pledges. Not only is the Class of 1967 establishing these important scholarships, but they also are sustaining them for the next two years. This fall nine scholarships were awarded to the following students on behalf of the Class of 1967: • • • • •

Matthew Gafron ’19 Sara Grabenhofer ’18 Scott Helton ’18 Daniel Jimenez ’18 Jessica Kennel ’18

• • • •

Citlali Martinez ’19 George Nelson ’19 Eric Rinehart ’19 Jessica Stewart ’18

Other reunion classes also raised money for scholarships and student aid: • The Class of 1957 raised $21,525 in gifts and pledges. • The Class of 1972 raised $30,736 in gifts and pledges ($29,611 in scholarships; and $1,125 for the Angel Book Fund, which helps students to purchase textbooks). If you have not had a chance to make a gift, please join your classmates and make a commitment today. It’s the power of many that makes a difference in the lives of our students.


New Books by Elmhurst College Alumni The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux (Basic Books, September 2017) By Cathy N. Davidson ’70

US Hard Power in the Arab World: Resistance, the Syrian Uprising, and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2016) By Layla Saleh ’04

In The New Education, Cathy Davidson argues that American higher education is out of date, and outlines how we can revolutionize it to prepare students to succeed in an age of disruptions. In profiles of innovative educators who are remaking their classrooms, she shows how students can be taught not just how to think, but how to learn—and how to thrive in the face of challenges to come. Davidson is founding director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The author of more than 20 books, she served on the National Council of the Humanities as an appointee of President Barack Obama.

US Hard Power in the Arab World examines the role of the United States in the Arab Middle East from 2001 through the Arab Spring protests in 2011. Drawing on many primary sources, including interviews with Syrian activists and opposition figures, the book argues that the blurring of “soft” and “hard” American power has tarnished the credibility of United States policies in the Arab world. Layla Saleh is assistant professor of International Affairs at Qatar University. She is also a contributing blogger to The Conversation.


Alumni Impact


THE POWER OF MANY Is the Power to Change Lives

Elmhurst College classrooms are filled with students who could not be here without scholarships. The collective effort of many donors translates into young people learning and gaining the experience to help them achieve their dreams and shape the world. Who are the students whose lives have been changed because they are able to attend Elmhurst College, and who are the “dream-makers� who make it happen? Meet some of them.

For more campus news, go to elmhurst.edu/news

“My Elmhurst studies and service have crystallized my purpose and shaped my path. I’m set to graduate this spring with a biology degree. My goal is to complete medical school and pursue a career in pediatric oncology.” –Dian Ivanov



Jaime Ruiz, Sophomore, Music Business and Jazz Studies

Dian Ivanov, Senior, Biology

As a young boy, Ruiz picked up his cousin’s discarded trumpet and never set it down. Practice brought mastery, and today Ruiz’s talent is a source of great pride, as is his academic success. The first in his family to attend college, he is deeply grateful to be at Elmhurst College. “My parents were immigrants. They made tremendous sacrifices so we could have easier lives with more opportunity,” he says with admiration. “Now it’s up to me to set an example for my younger siblings and everyone who comes after me. I want to demonstrate they have so many choices—that they, too, can achieve their dreams.”

Dian (Dido) Ivanov’s human physiology professor may have changed his life and the lives of others without even knowing it. “I was interested in medicine, but didn’t think I had what it took,” he recalls. “My professor said I was going to cure cancer one day. In that moment, I decided to change my major to biology.” Ivanov’s experiences volunteering with children battling cancer—one day he dressed as Batman, to the delight of the pint-sized patients—provided him with new insight into what they were going through. After graduation this spring, Ivanov plans to attend medical school with a specialty in pediatric oncology.


Patricia Denman ’93, Business

Janisa Hicks, Junior, History/Political Science Some fortunate souls are born knowing precisely what they want to do, and have the means to do it. The way wasn’t always that smooth for Janisa Hicks. She changed majors four times before identifying and following her true passion to become a lawyer. Paying for college was another hurdle. “My parents worked so hard to send the four of us to college, but it was difficult. Freshman year, I worked three jobs in addition to my full academic schedule,” she explains. “Next semester was never guaranteed.” Scholarships changed that. Hicks now has one job—and freedom from the constant worry about how she will afford tuition.

DREAM-MAKER Several years into her insurance career, Pat Denman realized she needed a college degree to rise through the ranks. But it would take too long as a part-time student. Elmhurst College’s accelerated management program solved her problem, and then some. While earning her business credits, she happened upon an urban studies class led by Elmhurst’s beloved professor Andrew Prinz. “A new world opened to me and spurred me to travel to places I never imagined.” She completed her business degree with a minor in urban studies, and immediately earned a promotion. Denman has remained deeply connected to Elmhurst College, as a mentor and Light of Knowledge Scholarship donor.

Invest in our students. Make your commitment today to the Elmhurst College Scholarship Fund. Watch the Power to Change Lives video at elmhurst.life/PowerToChangeLives.



Urban Matters Constance Mixon has brought new vibrancy to the urban studies program founded by storied professor Andrew K. Prinz, expanding its scope far beyond the city limits. By Andrew Santella Photography by Bob Coscarelli & Steve Woltmann



Constance Mixon had a tough act to follow. When Mixon came to Elmhurst College in 2010 to head its urban studies program, she became just the second director in its history, following the late Andrew K. Prinz, who launched the program in 1969 and was a beloved figure on campus for decades. “I never had the chance to meet Andy, but it was obvious to see how much his former students loved him,” Mixon explained. “So I was aware what an awesome challenge it would be to follow a true campus legend.” Prinz had been such a dynamic promoter of urban studies for so long that his death in 2009, after a long illness, devastated the program. Mixon, though, has revitalized urban studies at Elmhurst, building on the tradition established by her predecessor while also putting her distinctive stamp on the program. Under Mixon’s leadership, interest in urban studies has revived. Nearly two dozen students majored in urban studies in 2017. She has helped to organize campus-wide discussions of issues ranging from immigration to college funding to institutional racism, and encourages her students to translate their interest in these issues into practical community involvement. Her students are regular attendees at Elmhurst College lectures given by such political heavyweights as Illinois governors Jim Edgar and James Thompson, Illinois house speaker Michael J. Madigan, and presidential speechwriter Jon Favreau. And Mixon herself has become a regular presence in the Chicago media, offering commentary on urban affairs and local, state and national politics—raising the College’s profile in the process. “What Connie has done to revitalize urban studies at Elmhurst has benefitted not just the program, but the College as a whole,” said her colleague, Associate Professor Mary Walsh. “She is helping her students and all of us think about urban affairs in a broader, more global context.” Mixon shares her predecessor’s belief in street-level, firsthand learning. For Mixon, as for Prinz, the urban studies classroom expands to encompass the entire metropolitan area and beyond. On any given day, you might find her students sitting in on suburban city council meetings, interviewing executives at area social-service agencies, or working as volunteers on political campaigns. “I want my students to get out of the classroom and into the messiness of urban life,” Mixon says. “The coursework, the readings, the class discussions are all important. But

even the little interactions they have outside the classroom help them make sense of what they’re reading about in the textbook.” For some of Mixon’s students, class assignments provide the first real encounters with big-city life and big-city problems. But those encounters often inspire Mixon’s students. After visiting a Chicago food bank to research a class project, one student became a regular volunteer there. Another student, having learned about the workings of her hometown’s government, felt empowered to launch a campaign for the introduction of bicycle lanes on busy roads there. “It makes a difference when a student is able to get beyond the world they are familiar with,” Mixon says. “They make connections with people they might never have encountered otherwise. And for some, those connections stick. They start to recognize and live up to their responsibilities as citizens.” A self-described “city kid,” Mixon grew up on Chicago’s North Side, listening to her family talk local politics. Her grandfather and an uncle were Chicago precinct captains during the tenure of Mayor Richard J. Daley, responsible for turning out votes for Daley’s Democratic machine candidates. Her independent-minded mother, on the other hand, often worked to elect reform-minded, antimachine candidates. “Debates were frequent and passionate” at family gatherings, Mixon remembers. After graduating from Cornell College in tiny Mt. Vernon, Iowa, she returned home to pursue graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she would earn master’s and doctoral degrees. It was at UIC where she had her first experiences as a classroom teacher, working as a teaching assistant for one of her professors, former Chicago alderman Dick Simpson. “She has always been extraordinarily dedicated to her students and to teaching,” Simpson recalled. Mixon quickly won recognition for her teaching. In 2002, while an associate professor at Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, Mixon was named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2004 she became dean of instruction at Daley College. Mixon was not looking to change jobs when Elmhurst contacted her about taking on its urban studies program in 2010. She had earned tenure at City Colleges, and appreciated the diverse mix of students she taught there, many of them the first in the family to attend college. But Elmhurst’s offer proved “difficult to pass up.” “I saw it as a unique opportunity,” Mixon said. “Here was a program with a long and distinctive history.”

“I want my students to get out of the classroom and into the messiness of urban life.”


Learning On Tap By Constance A. Mixon


Some of my students at Elmhurst College recently gave me a new nickname: The Beer Professor. Before you get the wrong idea, let me explain. I didn’t earn this name by consuming the stuff, but because I give talks to students, alumni and other academics about beer’s place in American urban history. I owe my interest in this heady topic to Miranda Huber ’15. During her senior year, Miranda asked me to work with her on an independent research project. She wanted to investigate gentrification in urban neighborhoods, but needed a novel approach to that well-explored topic. Over many hours of conversation, we settled on a plan: Miranda would explore how the rise of brewpubs and microbreweries has influenced gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods. . Gathering neighborhood economic data and using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills mastered in her Elmhurst classes, Miranda found that breweries tend to establish themselves in relatively affordable spaces on the periphery of emerging “hot” neighborhoods. The presence of these breweries, Miranda found, spurs gentrification. I was so impressed with Miranda’s work that I arranged for her to join me in leading a tour of Chicago breweries for professors at the 2015 meeting of the American Association of Geographers. I outlined the history of Chicago breweries and discussed how Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has used Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and relaxed zoning regulations to create a “beer-friendly” economic climate. Miranda told the visiting academics about her research, and gained valuable experience in a professional setting. Miranda has since moved on to law school. As for me, I will continue to tap into this fertile research topic. Cheers!

Elmhurst’s urban studies major was at the leading edge of a wave of such programs founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when America’s cities were experiencing acute social problems. From the beginning, Elmhurst’s program was focused not just on cities, but on metropolitan areas as a whole. And as Mixon weighed Elmhurst’s offer, she came to feel an affinity with the philosophy that Prinz had brought to the job. “It helped that our vision of the importance of urban studies was similar,” she said. Mixon’s office in Old Main has become a favorite destination for students—not just urban studies majors but others, too—in need of a few minutes of time, maybe to solve a class-scheduling problem or to kick around an idea for a research project or to seek help landing an internship. Her door tends to be open, and students don’t hesitate to walk in. “They flock to her,” Walsh said. “Connie has a such a welcoming demeanor and students seek her out for advice. There is always someone in that office.” Miranda Huber, a 2015 graduate now studying at IIT ChicagoKent College of Law, was a regular visitor to Mixon’s office. “I spent a good chunk of my senior year in there, just talking with her and learning from her,” Huber recalled. “She’s really invested in her students as human beings.” As a senior, Huber stopped by Mixon’s office to talk about her senior research project. Huber wanted to write about gentrification, but Mixon advised her to narrow her focus, to come up with a novel angle on that already well-covered topic. Together, they hit upon an idea. Both had noticed the proliferation of craft breweries and brewpubs in some of Chicago’s trendier neighborhoods. But did microbreweries play a role in economic development? Mixon was so impressed with Huber’s work on the project that

she arranged for the student to present an informal summary of her analysis at the American Association of Geographers meeting in Chicago. “Connie took my ideas seriously,” Huber said. “To have a professor talk to an undergraduate student like a peer is so gratifying.” Mixon is helping to shape urban studies beyond Elmhurst as well. She teamed with Simpson to edit 21st Century Chicago, a collection of essays on challenges facing the city. The book has become required reading in many urban affairs and politics courses in Chicago-area colleges. And for a 2017 American Political Science Association volume called Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines, Mixon contributed a chapter on teaching urban studies to suburban students. Mixon is herself a model of civic engagement. She is a founding board member of One Million Degrees, an organization that supports low-income community college students. Mixon helped the group forge a partnership with Elmhurst to provide scholarships to high-performing community college students. She is also a member of the board of the Citizen Advocacy Center, a group that promotes government transparency and civic engagement. Earlier in the fall, Mixon helped to organize Elmhurst’s first teach-in, called “Dare to Disagree.” The teach-in explored issues of free speech, inclusivity and democracy in an era where diversity of thought can lead to violence. Mixon said her students appreciate that she practices what she preaches. “It’s good for them to see me doing practical things, modeling some of the responsibilities of citizenship,” she said. “They see why what we’re studying matters. It is so much more than just words in a textbook.”



t r u o C l l a b y e l l o V e Returns to th By Kevin Juday When Elmhurst senior Taylor Nirchi closes out her collegiate volleyball career later this season, her fans will have no idea of the challenges she’s overcome just to get back in the game. With demanding workloads and late-night socializing, most college students experience an occasional bout of fatigue. But two years ago, Nirchi felt tired to a degree that she knew was not normal. After playing in 17 matches during her freshman season of 2014, Nirchi was sidelined over the summer by a bout of mono. The mono cleared up, but the debilitating fatigue did not. She was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, given medication and told she’d be fine. Nirchi returned to the volleyball team sophomore year, but her health failed to improve—in fact, it got worse. She left the squad after a few weeks to focus on recuperating and returned during her junior year to serve as the squad’s manager. In the spring of 2017, Nirchi felt good enough to begin to work out with the team during spring practice sessions. But early in the summer, Nirchi suffered a flare-up of fatigue and joint pain that sent her back to the doctor. Finally, after some additional testing, the doctor diagnosed her with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects as many as 4 million Americans. Sjogren’s syndrome is often misdiagnosed because its most prominent symptoms—dry mouth, fatigue and joint pain—are also associated with many other conditions. On average, it takes nearly three years to receive a diagnosis of Sjogren’s. For Nirchi, the diagnosis came as a relief. “The doctors believe that Sjogren’s was the underlying cause of all the problems I was having,” she said. “It was a relief to finally know that I wasn’t crazy and that something really was wrong.” Armed with a diagnosis and medication to control her symptoms, Nirchi returned to the court in September and played her first match in nearly three years. After thinking her playing days were behind her, she said it was a thrill to be back on the court, playing the sport she loves.

“Originally I didn’t think about playing again after I quit,” she said. “Once I started playing again in my junior year, I wanted to make a comeback. I didn’t want to let this disease define me and keep me from doing things I wanted to do. I’ve been playing since fourth grade. I missed it a lot and wasn’t ready to give it up when I did. So knowing that I have this last season to just play and be done after is pretty nice.” Elmhurst Head Volleyball Coach Julie Hall welcomed Nirchi back on the team. “We love the spirit that she brings to the team,” said Hall. “I respect and admire that she wants one last shot to play so much that she’s willing to take a chance while battling through an illness that would keep many other players on the sideline.” As Nirchi continues to manage the symptoms of her disease, she admits that getting back on the court hasn’t been easy. “It’s been quite the battle,” she admitted. “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel like I can do anything in the world, and other days I wake up and feel like I got hit by a bus. It’s been tough to come back this year and not be able to do everything that I used to be able to do.” Nirchi said she’s grateful for the support she’s received from her teammates and the Elmhurst coaching staff. “Everyone’s been really supportive,” she said. “Coach Hall told me that they wanted me back and that anything I was capable of doing they would take. If that meant coming into a match to just serve, or just coming to practice to help out our younger setters, they’ve made it clear they want me to be part of the team. My teammates are all my best friends, so they’ve been very supportive and are here for me when I’m struggling.” Hall admires the way Nirchi has approached her battle with Sjogren’s. “There are times that I know she’s frustrated because there are certain things that she physically can’t do anymore,” Hall said. “That’s incredibly hard for any 20-yearold to come to grips with, but not once has Taylor ever used her illness for an excuse. She’s working as hard as she possibly can to still be successful. And when she isn’t on the court, she’s team oriented and helps her teammates as often as she can. As a coach, you can’t ask for much more than that.”



Rosalie Navarrete ’18 For many, achieving the American Dream begins with earning a college degree. It’s especially so for first-generation college students, even in the face of additional obstacles. Meet an Elmhurst “first-gen” who’s cleared those hurdles, and then some.

“As first-generation college students, our lives have been transformed by the educational opportunities and support we received in college.” —President Troy D. VanAken, about himself and Dr. Annette VanAken

Finance major Rosalie Navarrete ’18 juggles a lot of commitments along the way to earning an Elmhurst degree. In addition to taking a full course load, she works part time at a bank in Schaumburg. She also commutes to campus every day from her family’s home in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, where she spends her afternoons helping her mother baby-sit. And that’s not all—by doubling down on her coursework, Rosalie is on track to graduate in just three years. The daughter of a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Rosalie has extra motivation driving her efforts: As a first-generation college student, she’s determined to beat the odds and make her parents proud. “First-gens,” who account for some 30 percent of college students in the United States, tend to face extra challenges in earning a college degree. They’re more likely to have financial pressures, for instance, and their parents may not know enough about higher education to help them get to college—and persist once they’re there. One recent study found that only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation students nationwide had earned bachelor’s degrees six years after enrolling in college, compared with 55 percent of their peers.

“First-gens may not have family members who can help navigate the admissions and financial aid process, and they may not have sufficient support systems at their high school,” explains Michelle DeLuca, assistant dean of students. “A lot of times, they’re also working full time to pay for college, so they miss out on some of the out-of-classroom learning that’s such an important part of the college experience.” They also may worry about fitting in to an environment where everyone seems to know the rules except them. “I come from a lower-income community, so I was worried about being judged when I came to Elmhurst,” Rosalie says. “But as soon as I got here, I realized that everyone is friendly and supportive. They want to see you succeed.” Removing the Barriers Elmhurst has a specific commitment to welcoming and supporting first-generation students. Since 2013, the percentage of first-gens in the entering first-year class has risen from less than 23 percent to more than 31 percent. Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken and Dr. Annette VanAken both can attest to the enormous value of a college education, especially for first-generation students. “As first-generation college students, our lives have been transformed by the educational opportunities and support we received in college,” President VanAken said. “So much so that we have dedicated our professional lives to working with young people during this amazing period in their life journey.” On campus, a peer mentoring program connects incoming first-gens and students of color with current students of similar backgrounds to ensure that their transition is successful both academically and socially. Through one-on-one interactions and group activities, the program fosters a culture of community and support. “Coming in, a lot of our students think they’re the only ones who are the first in their families to go to college,” says DeFranco. “When their mentors and other student leaders share their own stories, they realize they’re not alone.” The College also provides scholarship support to firstgeneration students. The American Dream Grant offers $2,000 in gift aid to students who are the first in their families to attend college, easing the financial burdens that can put an education out of reach. Many first-gen students also receive donor-funded scholarships in recognition of academic achievement or talent. For Rosalie, who received a Light of Knowledge scholarship, that support was critical to her success at Elmhurst. “My scholarship meant my father didn’t have to work so hard to put me through school, and that has allowed us to spend more time together as a family,” she said. “My parents work 24/7 to give us opportunities they never had,” she adds. “I’m determined to give back to them one day. That’s why I’m here. I have a lot of motivation to make my family proud.”

A Typical Day In

ROSALIE’S LIFE 6:45 a.m. Leave home for the daily commute to the suburbs. Twice a week, I head to Schaumburg for my job with Byline Bank—a great opportunity that I got through Holly Coffin in the CPE. Other days, I go straight to campus for class. I’m graduating a year early to save on tuition costs, so I have a lot of work to do this year. 8:00 a.m. Twice a week, I have Environmental Biology. Besides learning about science, we talk about environmental racism. For me it’s a good connection back to the social justice high school I went to, where I worked on issues like shutting down coal-powered plants in my community. 9:45 a.m. Sculpture class! I’m not really a creative type—I’m more of a numbers person—but I wanted to do something different, and sculpture is a great getaway from my other courses. 11:30 a.m. During Protected Hour, I usually eat lunch and meet with my friend from biology class to work on online labs together. 12:50 p.m. Twice a week I have Excel class—my favorite. Excel is such a powerful tool, and I love learning more about how to use it effectively. Other days, I have Introduction to Biblical Studies. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, so it’s interesting to hear their different interpretations of what we’re learning. 3:00 p.m. Time to head home to help my mom baby-sit. I have five nieces and nephews, and my mom takes care of them after school.


From First-Gen to


Elmhurst Launches



Committed to helping its students achieve the American Dream, Elmhurst College has created the American Dream Fellowship Competition, a scholarship contest that celebrates and supports first-generation college students. The first-place winner will receive a four-year, fulltuition scholarship. The second-place winner will receive a stipend to cover four years’ room and board. All students who enter the competition will receive a $1,000 annual American Dream Grant, which can be added to previously awarded merit scholarships and/or grant aid. For the first round of the competition, participants will be asked to submit a video by January 19, 2018, on the topic: As a first-generation student, what would graduating from college mean to you and your family? The second round will take place on campus on President’s Day 2018 (Monday, February 19, 2018). The entrants, their family and friends will be invited to the event, which will include an interview with each entrant, an opportunity to hear from a first-generation featured speaker, a student panel of current Elmhurst College first-generation students, and a panel for parents. The afternoon concludes with an awards ceremony hosted by President Troy D. VanAken, a first-generation college student himself. The American Dream competition and grant are two ways in which the College has sought to support the enrollment of first-generation college students. “The grant has been so great for our students,” said Rachel Georgakis, college and career counselor at Fenton High School, in Bensenville, Ill. “Seventy percent of Fenton students are first-generation, so this has really helped our students feel valued versus marginalized as part of that demographic.” For more information, call the Elmhurst College Office of Admission, at (630) 617-3400.

For Tony Burke ’02, the transition to Elmhurst College from small-town Mendota, Illinois, was a bit of an adjustment. “I grew up on a farm,” he said. “So coming to the suburbs, where you have more than just one neighbor, was kind of a culture shock.” The son of a lifelong farmer, Burke was the first in his family to attend a four-year college. Many first-generation students struggle to find their place in college, but as an incoming football player, Burke knew he’d found his new home even before classes started. “Coach [Paul] Krohn made me feel welcome from the very beginning,” he said. “He made my family feel comfortable, too. He even drove out to Mendota to have dinner at our house.” After graduating with a degree in accounting, Burke joined a public accounting firm and rose quickly through the ranks to a high-level position. Today, he’s a partner at Miller Cooper & Co. Looking back, he credits Elmhurst with helping him achieve success. “Elmhurst taught me how to juggle,” he said. “I worked part time all through college, while playing football and going to school full time. Making the transition to a full-time work environment was easier for me because I was accustomed to a rigorous schedule.” Burke maintains his connection with his alma mater, attending football games and serving as a mentor to current students. He also stays in touch with Krohn and other Elmhurst mentors—and so does his mom. “All these years later, my mom still reaches out to Paul on occasion,” Burke said. “It’s that kind of connection that made my Elmhurst experience so powerful.”

A Half Century of Bluejay Pride Ernst and Mary Jo Jolas

It may have been over steaming chafing dishes of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches— delicacies Ernst Jolas ’66 had never tried before coming to Elmhurst— that his shared destiny with his wife was forged. Ernst worked the cafeteria line, and as he handed Mary Jo Schmitt ’67 her lunch tray, he knew he wanted to get to know her better. Fifty-five years, two children, three grandchildren and two rewarding careers later, the Jolases remain close to the College that brought them together. For his 50th reunion last year, Ernst was integral in raising more than $60,000 to support the Elmhurst College Scholarship Fund—10 scholarships a year for three years. Mary Jo celebrated her 50th reunion this fall, and was actively involved in planning the event. Both consistently have supported the College. “We could only make small contributions when we first started out,” Ernst explains. “But, as our resources grew, so did our commitment.” Adds Mary Jo, “Elmhurst College has a special place in our hearts—we met here, became engaged on the front steps of the Chapel. We made dear, lifelong friends. Elmhurst College feels like family and it seemed only natural to include the College in our will, so we can ensure our involvement continues.” The couple credits their alma mater not only with sparking their life together and launching decades-long friendships, but also for inspiring and preparing them for fulfilling careers. “To be honest, I almost didn’t come back after freshman year,” Ernst recalls. “School was a struggle, my grades faltered. Dr. Kleckner, Elmhurst College’s academic dean then, took time to talk to me, explained my options, spurred me to buckle down. My outlook changed completely from that point.” Ernst went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in business and German, taught high school for eleven years, and retired as an elementary school principal. Mary Jo remembers, “the College was a vibrant place in the 1960s. Vietnam. Civil rights. The campus was full of meaningful conversation and activism.” She found her passion for social service in a sociology class, and solidified that pursuit during a summer internship at a state mental hospital. She earned her degree in sociology and psychology, and ultimately became a school social worker serving students with special needs and their families. “Elmhurst is our community,” Mary Jo says. “More than a place to travel down memory lane, it continues as a priority to us today.” Ernst agrees. “So much of our lives were shaped here. It makes us happy to give back and to stay connected.”




Catching Up


Let us hear from you! Send a note to alumni@elmhurst.edu or call us at (630) 617-3600. Better yet, stop by the O≈ce of Alumni Relations on the first floor of Lehmann Hall.

1950s and 1960s


Harold (Hal) Brueseke ’65 and his wife, Bonnie, whom he met in 1966 when they were both in the wedding party of classmates Don and Bonnie Plautz, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 12. Over the weekend, they even managed to stop by Bethel UCC in Elmhurst, where they were married on August 12, 1967. They continue to live in South Bend, Ind., and Harold is enjoying his new ham call sign of KA9LAW with many overseas contacts. They continue to spend quality time with their local grandchildren. 1970s and 1980s Debra Ballinger ’72 retired in May 2016. She is currently a sport psychology consultant. William Schraeder ’74 and Laura (Mirshak) Schraeder ’73 are proud that granddaughter Brianne Schraeder, Class of 2021, began her Elmhurst journey during the fall of 2017. Lee Ann (Markwitz) Bauer ’79 and her husband have both retired and are living their retirement dream of full-time traveling by RV throughout the United States. Ray Semple ’83 was elected for the seventh time as village trustee in Mundelein, Ill. He will be the longest-serving trustee in the history of the village. He also has been serving as mayor pro tem. Professor Andrew Prinz, in the Urban Studies program at Elmhurst, was the key to igniting his interest in local government. Ray has been married for nearly 30 years to Deb Semple, and they have two adult children.

John Downing ’84 is beginning his 13th year at Finley Hospital in Dubuque, Iowa. He is a Ph.D. candidate in post-secondary and adult education at Capella University (completing his Ph.D. in 2020). He will complete a post-master’s certificate in college teaching in the fall (from Capella) and will begin teaching at a local university. Terry McLennand ’85 is retiring in June after 32 years working in state government, the last 17 at the University of Illinois. He is very grateful for the many opportunities and adventures he has had during his long career, but it started with the people he met at Elmhurst College back in the early ’80s not only Drs. Prinz, Roberts and Reis, but also his fellow students in the Geography and Urban Studies programs. And, of course, meeting his bride of 31 years, Jennifer (Foley) McLennand ’85 during their senior year. Kimberly Carmignani ’86 is a nurse leader who recently joined a new national Nursing Practice Advisory Council. The NPAC is an advisory council for California-based Prolacta Bioscience, the nation’s leading provider of human milk-based neonatal nutritional products to hospitals, and is composed of neonatal nursing leaders passionate about human milk science and nutrition. Members are recognized nationally and globally as influencers, and are actively involved in their professional associations. Carmignani has more than 25 years of bedside experience in the NICU, and more than five years of experience as a clinical manager/director. 1990s and 2000s Ross Fisher ’90 has recently had his historical novel Black Marble released by

Squadron Posters, LLC. This novel about the Korean War, the second book of the Fighter Pilot Brotherhood Series, is the sequel to his first book, Just Lucky Enough. Kelly Jourdan Duff ’92 accepted a new position at the Allstate Insurance Innovation Hub located in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. As the “Happiness Guru,” Kelly serves as office manager to over 500 software developers, actuaries and marketing and social media employees. Kelly also is an award-winning writer. Her novel, Tame My Racing Heart, yet to be published, has received recognition from Romance Writers of America in the 2016 Kiss of Death and 2017 Fabulous Five contests. Kara Caforio ’96 was elected in April 2017 to the Elmhurst CUSD 205 School Board. Prior to her election, Kara was heavily involved in the Elmhurst PTA, chairing numerous committees for the Emerson and Churchville PTAs and serving as the Emerson PTA vice president and president. Additionally, she has worked with the greater Elmhurst community while serving as the Elmhurst PTA council vice president and president, and the co-chair of the District’s Focus 205 Community Engagement Process. She has been honored with the Those Who Excel Award of Meritorious Service from the Illinois State Board of Education, the Distinguished Service Program Award of Excellence from the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA), and recognized as a 2017 Honoree by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

To submit your news, go to elmhurst.edu/classnotes

Victor Edwards ’96 earned his master’s in computer science at North Central College after graduating from Elmhurst. He just completed his 31st year at Rockwell Automation. Edwards is currently working for Rockwell at Universal Studios Theme Park in Orlando. Felicia Shakespeare ’96 has received the 2017 WNBA Chicago Sky Redefine Possible Women’s Leadership Award. She is the 2017 Author of the Year Finalist “Small Business” for the Indie Author Legacy Awards. She also was a nominee for the 2017 Aspiring Entrepreneur Dream Award. Her book made the final nomination out of hundreds this year in the “Small Business” category for the independent release You Are Your Brand: Building from the Inside Out. Jovan Lazarevic ’97 will serve as the next principal of Fenton High School beginning July 1. Jovan comes to Fenton from Prospect High School, where he served as assistant principal. He holds a BS in biology from Elmhurst College and a M. ED in Leadership from National-Louis University. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at Concordia University. Michael Loizzo ’98 and ’05 has been chosen by Modagrafics, Inc. to serve as vice president of sales. Daniel Fries ’99, a Merrill Lynch wealth management advisor, recently was recognized by Barron’s as one of “America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors.” Richard Veenstra ’00 was just appointed corporation counsel for the City of Aurora. Brian Bogda ’03 is a teacher and baseball coach at Crystal Lake South High School in Illinois. He is in his 10th year as head coach, and his team won the IHSA Class 4A State Championship. He also was named Coach of the Year by the Northwest Herald and USA Today.

Leanne Pavel ’05 started a new position in May 2017 as the fundraising/development assistant for a Catholic nonprofit organization, The Society of the Little Flower in Darien, Ill. Caitlin Scarpelli ’11 recently joined MedHQ as director of human resources. Danielle Wagner ’12 completed her master of fine arts in visual communication at Northern Illinois University in 2015. She is currently an assistant graphic designer at North Central College and is an adjunct graphic design professor in the Art Department at Elmhurst College. Sarah Carlson ’13 is completing a 10-year enlistment in the Air National Guard. She served in the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest from 2008-2018. She also has been promoted to supervisor - consumer support for TouchTunes Interactive Networks. Sarah heads the Mobile App support team. Katelyn Cuciarone ’13 graduated with her master’s in social work from Dominican University. George Nardi ’17 was recently awarded one of only 11 scholarships that are awarded annually from Pi Gamma Mu, the international social sciences honor society, to continue graduate studies in social studies. He is honored to be a recipient of this scholarship, and thanks the professors and staff of Elmhurst College for their guidance, support and instruction. Jacob Henry ’17 just published research conducted at Elmhurst College in the American Journal of Undergrad Research. Kathleen Quinn ’17 was elected to the Bensenville Public Library Board in April of 2017.

Dual-Degree Recipient Heads to Georgetown Since he was in high school, Peter Stypa figured a career in law would be a meaningful way to help people. He’s well on his way, following his June graduation from Elmhurst College’s dual-degree program with The John Marshall Law School. One of the first students to graduate from the dual-degree program, Stypa earned an MBA at Elmhurst while pursuing his JD at John Marshall. Now Stypa is taking his studies in business and law to the next level—he recently started classes at Georgetown University Law Center’s LL.M. degree program in international business and economic law, in Washington, D.C. Stypa was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, raised in Cambridge, Ontario, and earned his honors undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario. He moved to Chicago to attend John Marshall, where he learned about the opportunity to pursue an Elmhurst MBA. “(Business professor) Kelly Cunningham helped me develop a focus on finance,” said Stypa, adding that his time at Elmhurst—and his relationship with faculty members like Cunningham —were instrumental to his acceptance to the Georgetown program. “This is a wild dream come true for me, and I know I would not be here if not for the opportunity to attend Elmhurst College,” he said.


Catching Up

Betty A. Barclay ’47, of Chicago, Ill., on May 14, 2017

Elizabeth (McCoun) Smith ’54, of Lake Forest Park, Wash., on March 20, 2017

Joyce E. Hagemann ’48, of Monmouth, Ill., on April 23, 2017

Charles M. Waddle ’55, of Valley Park, Mo., on April 29, 2016

Elver H. Hoefer ’48, of Sulphur, La., on May 9, 2017

Rosemary Jackson ’56, of Chandler, Ariz., on March 8, 2017

Rev. Roy N. Johnson ’48, of Rhinelander, Wis.

David F. Livingston, Jr. ’56, of Huntley, Ill., on November, 20, 2016

Dr. Martha L. Larson ’48, of Killen, Ala., on June 7, 2017

Richard “Dick” Turchi, ’56, of Rockwall, Texas, on March 7, 2017

Reverend Arnold Bizer ’49, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., on March 21, 2017

Lois M. Lamar ’57, of Florissant, Mo., on August 26, 2017

Janice Chessman ’49, of Gays Mills, Wis., on March 24, 2017

Jack Mcgowan ’57, of Milwaukee, Wis., on June 18, 2017

Frederick W. Gottwald Jr. ’49, of Rocky River, Ohio, on August 11, 2017

Richard H. Rodenbeck ’57, of Bettendorf, Iowa, on May 27, 2015

Rev. Rudolf Emil Gruenke II ’49, of Maineville, Ohio, on January 18, 2017

John O. Faulstich ’58, of Nobleboro, Maine, on August 31, 2017

Marriages & Anniversaries

Dr. Robert E. Kasper ’50, of Elgin, Ill., on April 1, 2017

James C. Spaide ’58, of Freeport, Ill., on January 16, 2015

Christina Rizzo ’02 married Scott Alonzo on April 22, 2016.

Mary K. Meisch ’50, of St. Paul, Minn., on December 16, 2011

Dr. Walter E. Burdick, Jr. ’60, of Hampshire, Ill., on March 22, 2017

Randy Langstraat ’05, son of former Elmhurst College employee Kathryn Langstraat, married Diane Jelinski in Nevada on Monday March 6, 2017. Also in attendance was his sister Kristy Langstraat-Bolte ’05.

Joseph A. Meyers ’50, of Green Valley, Ill., on May 26, 2017

Carl R. Frey ’61, of Wheaton, Ill., on May 20, 2017

Dean V. Bradley ’51, of Avon Park, Fla., on January 8, 2017

Joyce (Burnham) Keyes ’61, of Ann Arbor, Mich., on August 9, 2017

Edward J. Tiedemann ’51, of Sacramento, Calif., on August 26, 2017

Reverend Dr. Bruce O. Breuer ’62, of Springfield, Mass., on March 25, 2017

Edward D. Brueggemann ’54, of Concord, N.H., on May 26, 2017

Barbara Graeler ’64, of Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 2016

Michael H. Dyer ’54, of Belleville, Ill., on July 17, 2016

Rev. Dr. Harold George “Hal” Landwehr, Jr. ’64, of Marion, Ill., on December 27, 2016

Hannah Stewart ’17 was awarded a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi fellowship. This is the nation’s oldest honor society for all academic disciplines. Births Gina (Riberto) Kaktis ’00 and her husband, Dan, welcomed their son Joshua David on October 20, 2016. Josh joins his siblings Emily (6) and Reese (4). Christina (Rizzo) Alonzo ’02 and her husband, Scott, welcomed their daughter, Scarlett Jade Alonzo on June 30, 2017. Scott adopted Christina’s first child, Dominic, on June 19, 2017. All now reside in Genoa City, Wis.


Michelle (Sobey) Sadowski ’08 and her husband, Martin Sadowski ’08, welcomed their son, Nicholas Alexander Sadowski, on May 13, 2017. Larissa (Anderson) Mueller ’11 and her husband, Daniel Mueller ’12, welcomed their daughter, Avery Rae Mueller, on April 19, 2017.

Larissa (Anderson) Mueller ’11 married Daniel Mueller ’12 on June 20, 2015. Deaths Rev. George Schler ’41, of Claremont, Calif., on August 7, 2017 Verona (Warskow) Hohmann ’45, of Ottawa, Ill., on May 17, 2017

Gloria R Mullen ’54, of Edwardsville, Ill., on May 15, 2015

To submit your news, go to elmhurst.edu/classnotes

Ronald A. Jorgensen ’65, of Las Cruces, N.M., in January 2017

Gerald J. Landl ’75, of Antioch, Ill., on September 9, 2016

Clifford Munger ’65, of Bowling Green, Ohio, on April 30, 2017

Jay R. Young ’75, of Gordon, Wis., on July 24, 2017

Dennis Bentz, ’66, Warrenville, Ill., on February 22, 2017

Susan (Beitel) King ’79, of Moline, Ill., on June 2, 2017

Kenneth Hesler ’66, of Des Moines, Iowa, on February 13, 2017

Frances M. Phillips ’79, of Grayslake, Ill., on February 24, 2017

Mary A. Lambert ’67, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., on April 5, 2017

Barbara J. Swift ’79, of Western Springs, Ill., on August 1, 2017

Carolyn P. Shandrowski ’67, of Kansas City, Mo., on March 2, 2017

Mary L. Borst ’80, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., on April 2, 2017

Michael J. Shannon ’67, of Albuquerque, N.M., on September 7, 2016

Patricia L. (Butler) Meyers ’80, of Crystal Lake, Ill., on June 25, 2017

Barry Sweeny ’67, of Wheaton, Ill., on March 6, 2012

Mary C. (Chestnut) Powers ’81, of Santa Clara, Calif., on April 24, 2016

Robert Herbster ’68, of Houston, Texas, on May 20, 2016

Brian E. Foley ’82, of Carson City, Nev., on May 23, 2017

Peter R. Miller ’69, of Elgin, Ill., on June 19, 2017

Christopher L. Nafziger ’84, of Brimfield, Ill., on June 20, 2017

Eugene T. Jones ’70, of Cortland, N.Y., on July 13, 2017

James G. Webb ’85, of Elmhurst, Ill., on May 1, 2017

Steven Filipski ’71, of Plano, Texas, on November 7, 2015

Cory T. Nelson ’90, of Arlington Heights, Ill., on June 2, 2017

Kathleen M. Graham ’71, of Elmhurst, Ill., on July 12, 2017

John A. Duco ’91, of Franklin Park, Ill., on December 26, 2016

Lois G. Erickson ’72, of Happy Valley, Ore., on September 17, 2014

Julie (Biernacki) Christiansen ’99, of Elgin, Ill., on March 19, 2017

Robert C. Hadley ’72, of Key Largo, Fla., on October 30, 2016

Joshua B. Faillo ’00, of Lombard, Ill., on June 5, 2017

Sybil Wheat ’72, of Fort Worth, Texas, on September 14, 2010

Saundra G. Grell ’03, of Cape Coral, Fla., on August 16, 2017

Alice Diane Houk ’74, of Independence, Mo. on November 11, 2014

Michael C. Olenec ’06, of Oak Brook, Ill., on July 12, 2016

Alumnus will take the past into the future Lance Tawzer ’92, the Elmhurst History Museum curator whose creative, quirky exhibits have received regional recognition, has moved to Naper Settlement in Naperville where, as its first director of innovation and experience, he is charged with taking the stalwart outdoor museum into the 21st century. Tawzer’s goal is to make the living history museum more relevant to modern-day visitors and expand its exhibits beyond depicting life in the 19th century. Doing so could “break a few molds” at the museum, providing a much more dynamic experience for visitors, he said. After all, that’s what he accomplished in a relatively short time at the formerly sleepy Elmhurst History Museum. A former band member and graphic artist, Tawzer created exhibits on subjects as diverse as Chicago’s beer history and “But Wait, There’s More!” the story of Ronco products, iconic maker of the Veg-O-Matic and the Pocket Fisherman. He also started a traveling exhibit program so that smaller museums like Elmhurst’s could share their work with others. Although he envisions shaking things up a little in Naperville, Tawzer is proud to be part of a west suburban institution. “We don’t want to change things that are working,” he said.


FACULTY Office Hours

Interviewed by Margaret Currie

Brian Wilhite has a Ph.D. in astronomy, and his research focuses on quasars. So when the Chicago area experienced a partial solar eclipse this summer, it was only natural that Wilhite, assistant professor of physics and assistant dean for curriculum and programs, found himself leading an eclipsewatching party for the College’s entire faculty and staff.


How did the eclipse-watching party come about? The eclipse happened on the day of the College’s annual facultystaff retreat, during the period when we were all scheduled to be outside anyway, having lunch on the College Mall. So I brought a bunch of special eclipse glasses, someone else brought a telescope with a solar filter, and we had 200 or 300 employees standing around staring at the sun. It was cool. Was the eclipse everything you’d hoped it would be? The weather was at a minimum level of cooperation—it was a little cloudy—but we still had a good view. When you hear “partial eclipse,” you think it’s going to get really dark, but it doesn’t. The eclipse was something like 87 percent in our area, and it turns out that 13 percent of sunlight is still a lot of sunlight. Still, we could see the shadow of the moon, and that was cool. Another eclipse will come through Illinois in 2024. For that one, I’m definitely planning to go where I can see a total eclipse. Speaking of the sky, what’s your research all about? I study quasars, which are young galaxies with super-massive black holes in the center. As gas and dust fall onto the black hole, its gravitational potential energy gets converted to heat energy, and the hot gas gives off light. The amount of light these

quasars give off changes pretty quickly over time. I’m using data from big datasets to figure out why the amount of light varies, and what that tells us about the structure of a quasar—and ultimately, about the universe that we live in. Do physics students at Elmhurst have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects? Yes, a lot of our students are involved in real, hands-on research, whether they’re studying quasars with me or odor detection in rats with my colleague Venkatesh [Gopal]. That’s one of the advantages of a small department in a small college—we get to know our students individually and involve them in our research. Students don’t necessarily get these opportunities at a lot of schools. How do students benefit from working with faculty members on research? Doing research helps students understand why they’re doing what they’re doing in class. Why do I need to know fluid mechanics? Because it helps me to visualize odors that rats are detecting. It’s good for them to see how their classroom work is applicable, and it gets them more invested in the program. It also leads to more opportunities in the future. What kind of opportunities? Our students have been very successful in our joint physics/ engineering program with IIT, and they’re going on to graduate programs at schools like Case Western Reserve, Purdue and Georgia State. Recently we had our first student accepted to the Ph.D. program in physics at the University of Chicago. Earl Swallow, who died in January after teaching physics here for 37 years, did his postdoc at UChicago, and he always wanted to see a student go there. So that was pretty cool.


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Profile for Elmhurst University

FYI Magazine, Fall 2017  

Elmhurst College Alumni News

FYI Magazine, Fall 2017  

Elmhurst College Alumni News