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elmhurst college alumni news fall 2013 O≈ce of Alumni Relations 190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296

events the fall season

Mark Your Calendar The Trouble with Boys Tuesday, October 8 Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Peg Tyre talks about why boys have become the new academic underdogs. Frick Center, Founders Lounge, 7:00 p.m. General admission $10

Inside the Vatican Tuesday, October 29 John Thavis, author of the best-selling book The Vatican Diaries, oΩers a behindthe-scenes look at the power, personalities and politics at the epicenter of the Catholic Church. Frick Center, Founders Lounge, 7:00 p.m. General admission $10

What Roger Ebert Meant to Us Sunday, November 10 Roger Ebert was the most famous movie critic of his generation, and one of the most respected. Seven months after Ebert’s death, we’ll consider his legacy and life with a panel that includes Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, Neil Steinberg of the Sun-Times and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Ebert Presents at the Movies. The moderator is Rick Kogan, a veteran of the Chicago Daily News, Sun-Times and Tribune. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20

elmhurst college alumni news fall 2013

The Shame of College Sports Thursday, October 10 Journalist Taylor Branch outlines the problems inherent in the structure of college sports, in which athletes generate billions of dollars for big universities while earning nothing for themselves. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20 Sponsored in part by BMO Harris Bank

Technology: The Passport to Personalized Education Tuesday, October 22 Daphne Koller, Stanford professor and cofounder of Coursera, discusses technology’s potential to improve learning outcomes, lower costs and increase access to education. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20

For a full list, visit us at You also can follow us on or

The Life oF the mind

The College’s commitment to academic freedom, rigorous debate and creative inquiry plays out in classrooms and activities on campus and beyond.

fyi in this issue



02 WHAT’S NEW ON CAMPUS Learning to Lead Plus: A grant from the NSF supports students in math and science, the College honors alumni and faculty, a new regional alumni club launches, and more.



12 THE SPORTS PAGES Wrestlers Make History The Bluejays wrapped up a phenomenal season with a national second-place finish and five All-America winners.


Gifts to the Elmhurst College Annual Fund support everything from scholarships and financial aid to outstanding faculty and academic programs. And every gift makes a difference, regardless of the amount. In fact, gifts under $100 account for 80 percent of the Elmhurst College Annual Fund.

14 PROFILE A Huge Help In 30 years as an Elmhurst trustee, Ralph Lundgren has seen higher education change—but his commitment to the College remains constant. 18 ACADEMIC LIFE Showing Their Stuff The annual Research and Performance Showcase celebrates the intellectual and creative life of the campus.

To give by phone, call (866) 794-1075. To give online, go to Or you can mail your gift to Elmhurst College, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst, Illinois 60126.


24 FACE TO FACE Expecting Great Things Alzada Tipton, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, talks about the intellectual experience at Elmhurst. 28 IN THE NEWS The Meanings of Student Success Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, writes about liberal learning and the Elmhurst Experience. 32 STUDENT FOCUS The Spirit of Inquiry Students talk about how the College’s commitment to intellectual excellence plays out in the classroom, the lab and beyond.

Cover photo: Roark Johnson

32 40 ON CAMPUS A World of Ideas The College’s robust speaker series attracts sell-out crowds and brings provocative thought leaders to campus. 44 CLASS NOTES Where Are They Now? Find out how your classmates are advancing in their careers and serving their communities.

A Foundation for Life Fellow Alumni and Alumnae, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the new president of the Elmhurst College Alumni Association. As I begin my role, I look forward to giving back to the College that set such strong foundations for both my personal and professional life. The intellectual excellence I found at Elmhurst gave me an important edge in the workforce. The integration of liberal learning and professional preparation set me on a lifelong path of independent thinking and challenging the status quo.  Today, I’m proud to represent a diverse group of alumni. With the support of the Board’s many alumni volunteers, I’m excited to take alumni engagement to the next level. We’re ready to partner with the College to deepen alumni involvement and broaden our reach to Elmhurst graduates across the country.  As I begin my new role with Elmhurst, I can’t help but remember my own time at the College. When I walked across the stage on graduation day, I didn’t just receive a diploma; I also found a≈rmation that learning doesn’t end when college does. Intellectual excellence is a lifelong pursuit. Best wishes for a great fall, Sarah (Kiefer) Clarin ’04 Alumni Association President

Alumni Association President Sarah (Kiefer) Clarin ’04 Members of the Board Sara (Douglass) Born ’02, Karl Constant ’07, E.J. Donaghey ’88, Tom DuFore ’04, Michael Durnil ’71, Dain Gotto ’06, Jacque (Kindahl) Hulslander ’72 and ’82, Heather (Forster) Jensen ’08, David Jensen ’00 and

mpa ’02, Cami (Kreft) Rodriguez ma ’08, Megan (Suess) Selck ’03, Cheryl (Kancer) Tiede ’74, Frank Tuozzo ’72, Rick Veenstra ’00 Director of Alumni Relations Thomas Newton ’87 Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Monica Lindblom Secretary Pam Savino Office of Alumni Relations (630) 617-3600, Editor Margaret Currie Contributors Lu Aiello, Sara Ramseth, Linda Reiselt, Jim Winters Design Director Marcel Maas Design and Production Marcel Maas, Anilou Price

news academics

Learning to Lead The President’s Leadership Academy at Elmhurst helps students thrive in college, and addresses a growing national concern.

Photo: Roark Johnson


The academy is being launched at a time when the U.S. is working to increase the proportion of its citizens who are college graduates. That means enrolling more firstgeneration college students and students from lower-income families, while providing the academic and social backing that is key to seeing them through to graduation.


tanley Washington understands that not every student thrives in college the way he has. Washington, a communications major from Chicago who is president of Elmhurst’s Black Student Union and executive vice president of the Student Government Association, has seen friends struggle with college life. “I’ve seen people have trouble adjusting academically, socially, financially,” said Washington, a senior who plans to attend law school. “But I found that once you get involved on campus and start building relationships, you can succeed.”

That’s a message Washington wants to pass on to other students. So, this summer, Washington began mentoring newly arrived first-year students in Elmhurst’s President’s Leadership Academy, an innovative four-year program for first-generation college students and students of color. The program aims to foster the leadership skills that will help students succeed at Elmhurst, graduate and move on to productive post-collegiate lives. The academy is being launched at a time of growing national concern about the way colleges and universities are preparing young people

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The President’s Leadership Academy offers a mix of coursework, mentoring, and personal and professional development activities. to contribute to a changing society. In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called for the United States to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Meeting that goal will mean graduating more low-income students, students of color and first-generation students. But at Elmhurst and at colleges nationwide, those groups of students remain in school through graduation at lower rates than the general student population. Eileen Sullivan, Elmhurst’s dean of students, said that providing academic and social support is key to seeing those students through to graduation. “The sink-or-swim mentality is gone,” she said. “We have to be super-responsive with students if we want them to be successful.” The academy is one of a menu of programs developed at Elmhurst to engage students academically and socially. While similar programs at other schools aim to acclimate students to college life in their first year, the President’s Leadership Academy will bolster students throughout their college experience. “What’s unique here is that we want to give students continued support and development, not just at the start, but over four years, to see them graduate,” said Desiree Novak, associate dean of students and director of student success and retention. “Building a bridge to college is great, making that initial transition is important, but what happens after that?” What happens all too often is that students leave college, defeated by some combination of financial pressures, academic struggles and a feeling of social estrangement. Only 56 percent of American students complete bachelor’s degrees within six years. According to the u.s. Department of Labor, 34 million Americans over 25 have some college experience, but no degree. Many remained in college just long FYI/Fall 2013

enough to acquire the burden of student loans— but without gaining the boost in earning power that comes with a diploma. Novak said the President’s Leadership Academy responds to that problem by oΩering students a mix of coursework, mentoring, and personal and professional development activities. It begins with a three-week summer academic course in leadership, featuring half-day workshops led by Elmhurst faculty. Over the next four years, students progress through the academy as a group, with each year’s programming focusing on various aspects of leadership development, self-formation, career exploration and professional preparation. “These students are going to be intentionally guided in leadership experiences through the four years of the program,” said program director Laila McCloud. “We start out focusing on theories of leadership, then move toward engaging intentionally in activities on campus and beyond. We’re encouraging students to think more broadly and get the most out of their Elmhurst experience.” The 35 students selected to participate in the academy each year receive a stipend to cover the costs of books for all their Elmhurst classes as long as they continue in the academy. In addition, they must remain active in co-curricular groups, participate in academyrelated workshops and meet regularly with one of the seven peer mentors assigned to guide them through their introduction to college life. “Students connect to students,” Novak said. “That’s who they really want to hear from. And connecting students to their peers and to the campus community is so important to their success.” Stanley Washington agrees. Two years ago, as a first-year student, he participated in an Elmhurst program called DirectConnect

that shared some of the goals of the President’s Leadership Academy. He said the experience introduced him to upperclassmen doing remarkable things with their time in college. “I learned from them, and that really made me want to get involved on campus,” he said. And, he said, the friendships that grew out of his participation in campus life helped him navigate college’s inevitable challenges. “There were times when I couldn’t figure things out for myself, and I needed some help. And there are people who will help you. That’s why it’s important to start developing those relationships.” So when he learned about the chance to serve as a mentor in the President’s Leadership Academy, he didn’t hesitate. “It’s only natural that I would want to share what I’ve learned,” he said. Novak says that’s good news for the academy’s first class of students. “These students [enrolled in the academy] are go-getters. They’re giving up some of their summer because they want to be involved,” she said. “A lot of them have had to overcome adversity. They deserve some support, and the best we can do is give it to them.” The President’s Leadership Academy is just one way Elmhurst is helping students work their way through the challenges of higher education. Steps to Success, a program introduced earlier this year, provides guidance and support for more than 200 students encountering academic di≈culty. “Students have to take ownership of their own learning,” Sullivan said. “But they also need to be reminded that, if they bomb that midterm, there is help for them. To reach the goal President Obama set, we have to have more students completing college. We want to do all we can to make it possible for them to succeed.”


news academics

Doing the Math (and Science) A grant from the National Science Foundation will support students in math, science and related fields. 4

The Keystone Project aims to improve retention of students in the so-called STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—and encourage student success.

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on Johnson calls it the moment “when reality hits.” A professor of mathematics at Elmhurst College, Johnson has seen too many first-year students struggle in their first encounters with college math and science courses, and face the realization that academic success will require more work than they had imagined. Some give up, dropping their math or science majors for disciplines they think will be less di≈cult and abstract—or even worse, dropping out of college altogether. Now, a grant of $448,875 from the National Science Foundation will allow Elmhurst to introduce a new program to improve retention of students in the so-called STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics— and encourage student success. Building on existing departmental initiatives, the Keystone (Keys to Success Through Year One) Project will include new STEM-related first-year seminar courses, research-based January Term experiences, special STEMinars to introduce students to career options in STEM fields, and summer research opportunities. “The jump from high school to college in math and science courses can be a big one, and some students are not prepared for the level of work they’ll have to do,” said Johnson, principal investigator on the project. “These programs are designed to help students make that transition and succeed in STEM-related majors.” Building student interest in STEM fields has become a priority throughout higher education, with numerous studies in recent years pointing to “leaks” in the pipeline of students heading to graduate school and careers in those fields. Studies have shown that only about half of first-year students who say they intend to major in STEM fields actually graduate with degrees in those fields within six years. Many students who abandon STEM fields say they do so because

FYI/Fall 2013

the coursework is too di≈cult; experiences in the first year of college can be decisive. “Students come in with dreams of being a doctor or a research scientist, but if they are not prepared to succeed, they can become demoralized,” said Merrilee Guenther, assistant professor of biology and a co-principal investigator on the project. “They need to know how to manage time, set goals and synthesize enormous amounts of information. Some figure it out on their own, but others never do. They end up changing majors or often leaving the College entirely. And these are students who could be successful ultimately.” Keystone aims to help such students navigate the challenges of their first year of college and beyond. By addressing the exodus of students from STEM fields, it aims to increase the number of graduates in biology, chemistry, computer science, exercise science, mathematics, physics and cognitive psychology at Elmhurst by 36 percent. The project is intended to oΩer a model of successful interventions that could be adopted by other institutions. The project began in full with the start of the academic year in August 2013 and will run for five years. Elements of the new program address some of the most often cited reasons for students leaving STEM-related majors. For example, more than a quarter who drop such majors say they believe they will find better job prospects in other fields. The new spring STEMinars, focused on career options, graduate-school preparation and guest presentations from professionals working in STEM fields, will introduce students to some of the ways they can apply their interest in math and science to the world of work. The project will also increase opportunities for students to engage in research, a strategy the investigators believe will drive interest in and excitement about science-and math-related

majors. In addition to project- and research-based January Term courses, the project is creating new summer research experiences that will introduce students, early in their college careers, to the responsibilities and rewards of collaborative investigations. “When you do research, you learn to take ownership of your own education,” Guenther said. “You do a lot of maturing and you get excited about what you’re learning.” Johnson said that he hopes to enroll more than 100 first-year students in the Keystone Project each year. The Keystone Project is one of several College initiatives that seek to prepare students for success in science, math and related fields. Another, the Summer Academy in Math and Science, gives high school students from underrepresented groups a running start on college work.

“When you do research, you learn to take ownership of your own education. You do a lot of maturing and you get excited about what you’re learning.”


news international students

A World of Learning International students at Elmhurst find a new home on a welcoming campus—and share their global perspective with their classmates. 6

Seniors Mavic Maranan (from left), Morrison Stewart and Celine Santos were part of the largest cohort of international students at Elmhurst in decades.


eline Santos didn’t really mind when her American friends ask the inevitable questions about what it was like to grow up in Thailand. “People will sometimes ask if we had the Internet there. Or they’ll ask if I lived in a hut,” she said, laughing. In fact, Santos, a psychology major who graduated in June 2013, grew up in a condo in central Bangkok, near the busy malls and buzzing nightlife of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. “I don’t get oΩended or anything. I see it as a learning experience—my chance to help them learn.” That’s the way it works for Elmhurst’s international students. They come to the College for a world-expanding education, and in the process, they end up helping to broaden horizons for their fellow students, too. Santos was part of the biggest cohort of international students to study at the College in decades. Her class of 2013 includes 12 international students; overall, international students at Elmhurst represent 26 countries on six con-

tinents. As a group, they have helped shape campus life, taking on leadership positions in student organizations, thriving academically and adding their diverse cultural backgrounds to the campus mix. “We’ve never had this kind of group together,” said Alice Niziolek, Elmhurst’s associate director of international education and international student services. “They’ve made a big impact on campus.” Santos, for example, was president of the College’s chapter of the International Club and Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for international scholars. And she said that part of her role on campus was to give students a glimpse into how the rest of the world thinks and lives. “It’s my duty to teach people about my culture,” she said. “It’s all about cultural awareness.” That, Niziolek said, is good news for other Elmhurst students, who benefit from the exchange of cultures that happens on campus. “Our international students have a lot to share,”

Niziolek said. “They give us a view onto the rest of the world, onto social diΩerences.” The College wastes little time in making its international students feel at home. The welcome begins the minute they get oΩ the plane, when Niziolek is likely to be there to greet them. International students attend new-student orientation during the week before classes begin, just like their American classmates. But in the ensuing weeks, they also may attend a series of workshops presented by the Center for Professional Excellence on topics ranging from U.S. classroom culture to campus safety. Elmhurst College staΩ from the various student-services o≈ces are available to help them with questions about government regulations, money matters and wellness. And if international students have questions that only another student could answer, they get help there, too. Not long after they arrive at Elmhurst, they meet peer mentors—fellow international students or students who have studied abroad, who can help international students make the transition to American campus life. Niziolek said that the new arrivals are grateful for the attention to detail. “They are usually just so excited to be here,” she said. “We hear from them how much they appreciate it.” Some international students from the Class of 2013 plan to return to their home countries to launch careers there. Others will stay close to Elmhurst, at least for a while, after graduation. Morrison Stewart, an international business and finance major who grew up in Taiwan and Hawaii, said he plans to stay in the Chicago area and hopes to become a U.S. citizen. “I call America my home now,” he said. “I feel comfortable here now. I like it here.” But no matter where they go after graduation,

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Santos said the experience of studying at Elmhurst gave her and her classmates a richer understanding of what the world has to oΩer. “You come to the States to get a better education so you can pursue what you want to in life,” she said. “But it also makes you appreciate your own background more.”

There is a need for psychologists there, and too many kids who need help slip through the cracks. Psychology is a little bit of a taboo in Asian culture. It’s not like here, where everyone talks about their therapy.

“How are you?” One of the things international students don’t get at first is the way everyone asks, “How are International Treasures During their four years at Elmhurst College, you?” as a greeting. They don’t understand that you don’t really need to say how you are. the international students of the Class It’s like, “Wait, I want to tell you how I am, of 2013 have helped enrich campus life and you asked.” broaden the horizons of their fellow students. They’ve also become close friends and had a lot of fun in the process. Here, three Morrison Stewart international students share their thoughts Taiwan/Hawaii on American college life. Globetrotter My parents were missionaries, so our family lived in Taiwan, then moved to Kona, Hawaii. I Celine Santos didn’t know English when I moved there, and I Bangkok, Thailand was in this new environment and needed to Sight Unseen learn the language and everything. What helped Unlike most students, I’d never seen the campus was playing sports. Basketball, track, whatnot. before I came to school here. My uncle, who That’s how I made friends. lives in the area, took a tour for me and said it was great. I was really excited to find how pretty Global Perspective the campus was. I think to Americans, I look Asian. But in Asia, I look American. Being brought up in such a Self Discovery diverse background has made me more openIt was LeaderShape that made me realize I minded. When I come up against problems, wanted to make a career of helping children. I think I can see a little more globally. That’s LeaderShape is all about self discovery. The an advantage. first question you are asked is, “What are you passionate about?” I’d always been good with Finding Elmhurst children, but answering that question helped The truth is, I found Elmhurst through a random rea≈rm my thinking. I want to counsel kids search. And I applied because there was no and help them become the best version of application fee. I didn’t even know for sure where themselves. Elmhurst was. But it has turned out to be such a good experience and it has worked out so well. Global Village Asia isn’t so diΩerent from America, at least not So I feel like I’m supposed to be here. in the big cities. People ask me why I speak Study Abroad such good English. They don’t realize English is I studied abroad, for one semester in Shanghai such a prominent language everywhere. Living in Bangkok is like living in New York. It’s a city and one in Hong Kong. I’d never been to China before, but I got to brush up on my Mandarin that never sleeps. and learn more about Asia. It made me more culturally adapted. I really encourage students After Graduation to study abroad. College is the best time to get I’d like to do graduate studies here, then go that kind of experience. back to Asia and work in child psychology. FYI/Fall 2013

After Graduation I want to be a financial planner. I’m doing an internship with Ameriprise Financial, learning to prepare financial documents for clients and to educate clients about money. It has been great training.

Mavic Maranan Manila, Philippines Explorer I went to an international school in Manila, which exposed me to a lot of diΩerent cultures and nationalities. That definitely made it an easier adjustment for me when I came to Elmhurst. I had never even been to the U.S. before. But I was more excited than nervous. I was ready to explore new things. Laundry: The International Language The biggest changes for me have been the same as for any college student: learning to take care of my own laundry. Learning to clean up. Learning to get around on public transit. After Graduation I’ll start working toward my master’s degree here next year. I’m going to be part of the first class of students doing the new master’s degree in speech pathology at Elmhurst. I feel great about that, because I really like it here. Homecoming I hope to go back to the Philippines someday. The need for speech pathologists there is so great. I want to provide services for the people who need them. I’d like to open a clinic there someday, but I hope to work here for a while first. Good Advice It’s important to know that there is more of the world to see and learn about. If you get the chance to study abroad, go ahead and get out of your comfort zone a little. You will learn so much.


what’s new alumni

Honoring Our Alumni and Faculty At Homecoming, the College will present Merit Awards to three alumni and a music professor. 8


disorder and Parkinson’s disease, Cuomo hether fighting for equality, graduated with a 3.75 GPA and an unfaltering dedicating decades of service Bluejay spirit. He credits his Elmhurst degree to their alma mater or inspirwith inspiring him to pursue further education, ing the next generation of and plans to graduate from Loyola University musicians, the recipients of this year’s Alumni with a law degree in January 2014. and Faculty Merit Awards exemplify the spirit “With a liberal arts education, you hone your of Elmhurst College. mind, and you can do anything,” says Cuomo. Established in 1962, the Alumni Merit Award The Service to Alma Mater award went to recognizes the outstanding achievements of select Elmhurst alumni. All alumni are invited Bill Batte ’63 in honor of his years of service to the College. In the five decades since his gradto nominate candidates for the award, and a committee of alumni volunteers chooses three uation, Batte has remained an important figure in the campus community. Among other roles, winners from among the submitted nominations. The Andrew K. Prinz Faculty Merit Award, he has served as the National Alumni Society named for a former beloved professor of urban vice president, an adjunct professor of money and banking, and as a member of various alumni studies, is given to an educator who contributes significantly to the students, alumni and culture volunteer committees. He also attends campus events and donates generously to his alma mater. of the College. He currently serves as a Class of 1963 reunion This year’s awardees will be recognized planning committee member for his 50th reunion at the Homecoming Kick-OΩ Celebration this fall. on Saturday, October 5, in Hammerschmidt “The award is an a≈rmation to me that I have Memorial Chapel on campus. helped, in at least some small way, to further Barry Warren ’67 won the Alumni Merit Award for Service to Society in recognition of the mission of an institution I greatly admire for its potential long-range impact on its gradhis extensive work on behalf of gay rights. Recently, Warren was featured in the documen- uates and our society,” says Batte. Ross Kellan received the Prinz Faculty Merit tary film Citizen Action about his eΩorts to secure Award for his work as music department chair, benefits for domestic partners nationwide. director of music education and conductor of When Warren found out he’d received the the Symphonic Band. He came to Elmhurst in award, he already had national news to celebrate. 2005 with a wealth of teaching experience “It came the same week as the Supreme Court after 33 years directing the band at Glenbard decisions about gay marriage,” he says. “It just East High School. seemed like frosting on the wedding cake.” His five nominations for the award all cite In 1984, Warren and his partner, Thomas Kellan’s caring, encouragement and dedication Brougham, became the first gay couple in the world to be o≈cially recognized as domes- to the Elmhurst music program. Jeni Perry ’08 echoes other students’ sentiments when she says, tic partners. “Ross Kellan devotes every minute of his time David Cuomo ’10 was honored with the to helping his students become better musicians, G.O.L.D. (Graduates of the Last Decade) better educators, and better people.” Award. Despite battling multiple illnesses while attending Elmhurst, including bipolar

Four Students Receive Top Achievement Awards During its annual Honors Convocation ceremony in May, Elmhurst College announced the recipients of the Founders Award and the Senior of the Year Award, which are among the College’s top honors for individual student academic achievement. The 2013 Elmhurst College Founders Award went to three graduating seniors: Matthew Rohde of Arlington Heights, Colin Ashwood of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Jazmine Martinez of West Chicago. Uchenna Ebiringah of Frankfort was named the 2013 Elmhurst College Senior of the Year.

Senior of the Year The winner of the highly sought-after Senior of the Year award is selected by a special committee of the College’s Alumni Association. The association created the award to honor the senior who typifies the Elmhurst College graduate. The winner excels in academics and campus involvement, and is committed to continuing the Elmhurst College tradition.   Uchenna Ebiringah was an exercise science major and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He was an active member of the football team for two years and was also a member of the Rugby Club. Ebiringah served a number of roles in his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, including chaplain, public relations chair and member of the judicial board. He also served the College as an Orientation Student Leader, participated in the LeaderShape Institute and was a member of the Judicial Hearing Council.

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President S. Alan Ray congratulates 2013 Elmhurst College Founders Award recipients Matthew Rohde, Jazmine Martinez and Colin Ashwood.

Uchenna Ebiringah won the Senior of the Year award.

Founders Award

Alumni who graduated in or before 1963 are invited to spend the day exploring today’s campus and reminiscing.  On Saturday, October 5, join us for the Second Annual Homecoming Kick-OΩ Celebration to honor new members of the Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame and this year’s Faculty and Alumni Merit Award winners. It’s also a great opportunity to hear from an Elmhurst College legacy family, send oΩ the football team with a cheer, and get an inside look at the team’s pre-game rituals. Throughout the football game, all alumni are welcome to join us in the alumni hospitality tent for food and drinks. The Bluejays will kick oΩ against North Central College at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Also on Saturday, we’ll launch a new Family Day tradition with Campuspalooza in Faganel Hall—a great opportunity to meet up with former classmates and teammates and hear from current students about the College today. And be sure to join us at the all-athletics reunion to visit with current and past coaches.  On Sunday, October 6, the Classes of 1986, 1987 and 1988 are invited to a 25th Reunion brunch. All alumni are welcome to attend the Homecoming Service at Bethel United Church of Christ in town, too.  For a full schedule of events, go to

The Founders Award recognizes self-initiated service that eΩects change and embodies humane values. The awards are given in three categories: self-initiated service to the campus, service to the community and global service. Matthew Rohde received the award for Service to the College Community. Majoring in economics and management, Rohde earned a 4.0 GPA and also was named Outstanding Senior in the Department of Business. A paper he submitted in March at the annual MBAA International Conference, a gathering of scholars and students from various business disciplines, was named Outstanding Student Paper in Operations Management and Entrepreneurship. Rohde co-authored three papers with Dr. Bruce Fischer in the business department, and also served as a resident adviser and as a member of numerous honor societies. He also was active in Habitat for Humanity and his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. Colin Ashwood, who received the Service to the Greater Society award, majored in political science and religion and service. Ashwood has worked for Justice and Witness Ministries at the national o≈ce of the United Church of Christ, interned for the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations, and helped to lead student involvement in President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. FYI/Fall 2013

He was the founder of two student groups at Elmhurst College: Elmhurst College Progressive Christians and Democracy Matters. After graduating, Ashwood joined the Teach for America program to teach in a low-income community in Cleveland, Ohio. Jazmine Martinez, who received the Cureton Award for Service to the Global Community, majored in intercultural studies. She served as the president of the Elmhurst College Gospel Choir and was involved in peer mentoring, American Model United Nations and LeaderShape. Through her involvement with the Niebuhr Center for Faith and Action and her church, Martinez traveled to Jamaica and Haiti, where she worked with the King’s Garden outreach program. After graduation she traveled to Africa, where she will teach classes for children and adults.

Homecoming and Family Day to Celebrate Past and Present Join us at Homecoming and Family Day 2013 to celebrate class reunions, cheer on the Bluejay football team, and get an inside peek at campus life today. This year’s celebration takes place October 4–6, and all alumni are invited.  The weekend kicks oΩ on Friday, October 4, with an all-day reunion for the Fifty-Year Club.

news alumni

College Launches Regional Club in Washington, D.C.


On June 19, Elmhurst College celebrated the launch of the Elmhurst College Alumni Club of Washington, D.C. Alumni representing the classes of 1951 through 2009 gathered at the Willard on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., to network, share stories of their Elmhurst experiences, and hear from President S. Alan Ray. Elmhurst Trustee Lamell McMorris generously hosted the June event. The group gathered again on September 19 at BuΩalo Billiards, in the DuPont Circle area of the District. Elmhurst regional clubs foster connections among alumni, students, parents and friends of the College. The College also hosts alumni clubs in St. Louis and Chicago.

College Ensembles Perform at Orchestra Hall

On April 17, the Elmhurst College Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band performed on one of the world’s most acclaimed stages. Together with the Leyden High School Symphonic Band, Elmhurst’s ensembles performed for an audience of more than 1,300 at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago. Before the concert, more than 100 alumni and guests enjoyed a reception in Symphony Center’s ballroom. The concert featured the Elmhurst College Wind Ensemble, conducted by Judith E. Grimes; the Elmhurst College Symphonic Band,

conducted by Ross Kellan; and the Leyden High School Symphonic Band, conducted by Bryan Miller and Tara Cappelletti ’06. Guest conductors included Peter Gri≈n, chair of the Elmhurst College music department, and Eric Morong ’10. Elmhurst College band concerts regularly attract packed audiences to Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, and conductors Grimes and Kellan have led their ensembles to numerous awards and honors. The concert in Chicago’s venerable Orchestra Hall celebrated the work of the Elmhurst groups and musicians. “We appreciate the faculty and parental support that we always have in our home community, but performing in Orchestra Hall, where the world’s most outstanding musicians have performed, enhanced the professional and musical experience of not only the ensembles but also the individual students,” said Judith Grimes.

A Banner Year for FundRaising On June 30, Elmhurst College celebrated the close of another successful fund-raising year. With gifts received from 2,280 alumni, the College substantially surpassed its dollar goal for a grand total of more than $3.6 million—an increase of $1.4 million over last year’s total. “Elmhurst College alumni continue to invest generously in our mission,” said Joseph R. Emmick, vice president for development and alumni relations. “Thanks to our donors this past year, we have been able to support our students and our college in important ways.”

Gifts received during the 2012–2013 fiscal year helped the College provide additional scholarship funding for students, including a record $300,000 raised at the annual Evening for Scholarships. Alumni gifts also supported the College’s day-to-day operations, renovations to the Mill Theatre and Buik Recital Hall, and an endowed chair in the Department of History. “Endowed faculty chairs are one of the most valuable gifts donors can make to Elmhurst College,” said Emmick. “By providing support for a faculty member’s compensation and research, they enable the College to recruit talented new faculty and honor and retain current faculty members.” Also last year, alumni gave generously to the Barbara and Robert W. Swords Endowment Fund in tribute to legendary faculty members Robert and Barbara Swords. Thanks to leadership gifts from the Swords family, the College has raised nearly $200,000 for the fund, which supports students in the Honors Program and in the music and English departments. “Alumni continue to make larger gifts to their alma mater, and we deeply appreciate that growing support,” Emmick said. “But with an alumni giving rate at just under 10 percent, we face the ongoing challenge of increasing our donor base. A larger donor base not only provides more resources for our students, it also signals strong alumni engagement with the institution. “We hope our donors who made gifts last year will continue to support the College, and we hope those who were not able to give in the past will contribute in this new fiscal year.”

Setting New Records

From left: Alumni enjoy a recent Homecoming dinner; the Elmhurst College Club of Washington, D.C., brought together D.C. area alumni for its inaugural event.

By the time the last piece of pastry was eaten and the last strains of music had faded, Elmhurst College’s fourth annual Evening for Scholarships benefit had netted a record $300,000 to fund student scholarships, exceeding last year’s record by $60,000 and strengthening the College’s commitment to keeping an Elmhurst education within reach of all of its students. Ninety-five percent of the proceeds from the event, held on March 16 in the Frick Center, went directly to fund student scholarships.

For more photos of campus events, go to


The fourth annual Evening for Scholarships raised more than $300,000 in support of students. From left: Board of Trustee Chair Barbara Lucks with event co-chairs Jeff and Julie Curran; the Founders Lounge was transformed for the event; Angela and S. Alan Ray pose with Scottie Williams ’13, who spoke at the dinner.

“Our college and local community came together and invested generously in our students,” said Joseph R. Emmick, Elmhurst’s vice president for development and alumni relations. “Our guests helped change students’ lives tonight.” The evening began with a cocktail reception in the Founders Lounge, vividly lit for the occasion. For the dinner, drapery and soft lighting transformed the cafeteria into a more intimate environment, and CBS 2 News anchor Rob Johnson kept things lively as the master of ceremonies. A live auction, performances by Elmhurst’s Wind Ensemble and Jazz Combo, and a celebration of student achievements contributed to the festive atmosphere. But President S. Alan Ray reminded the attendees of the crucial purpose of the evening: to raise money that will enable many financially stressed Elmhurst students to finish college. In the 2011–12 academic year, 96 percent of Elmhurst students received some form of financial aid. “There is no greater need on this campus than scholarships,” Ray said to the dinner audience of more than 260. “Your generous support tonight and throughout the year will ensure that not one of these fine students leaves Elmhurst College because he or she cannot aΩord to attend. Your support makes a visible and a lasting diΩerence in the lives of our young people.” The live auction, a new feature of the annual scholarship dinner, raised more than $30,000. Led by the animated, rapid-fire delivery of auctioneer Keith Jones of Sayer & Jones, the auction transformed good friends seated at FYI/Fall 2013

the same table into fierce rivals determined to outbid each other for coveted tickets to Chicago Blackhawks and Bears games, the Chicago Symphony, vacation getaways to Hawaii and Sonoma, California, and other prizes. Most impressive was the general monetary bids received as a direct result of the Fund-AScholarship portion of the auction. The bids raised an additional $40,000 to culminate the evening’s success. BMO Harris was the presenting sponsor of the Evening for Scholarships. Elmhurst College Trustee Julie W. Curran, regional president of BMO Harris Bank, and her husband, JeΩ Curran, chaired the event. Trustee Virginia (Gina) Prochaska ’88 served as co-chair and will chair the 2014 event. “We are blessed with strong volunteer leadership,” Emmick noted. “Julie and JeΩ Curran and co-chair Gina Prochaska provided enthusiastic and strong leadership, and the entire committee worked hard to encourage attendance, secure important sponsorships and in-kind gifts, raise money and secure auction items.” Several Elmhurst students who currently receive scholarships attended the event, including Scottie Williams ’13, a marketing major from Woodridge, Illinois. He spoke during the dinner and thanked donors for their generosity, calling it “an amazing gesture” on their part. “It takes a special person to help someone become a special person,” Williams said, adding that scholarships have helped him and many of his peers “to achieve our dreams of walking across the stage with our degrees in hand.”

Williams, a record-setting running back for the Elmhurst football team, received the 2012 Gagliardi Trophy—the Division iii equivalent of the Heisman Trophy—for his outstanding performance not only on the football field but also in the classroom and serving the community. In honor of his achievements, the City of Elmhurst proclaimed March 16 Scottie Williams Day. Dan Zarlenga ’10, who spoke at the first Evening for Scholarships while an Elmhurst student, returned to thank those who had invested in his future. Zarlenga started the Global Poverty Club as an Elmhurst student, worked for the nonprofit organization Opportunity International after graduation, and now works in the development o≈ce at Northwestern University. At the dinner, Zarlenga said that the College has been a constant part of his journey since his graduation. “Elmhurst College has played a significant role every step of the way,” he said. “The faculty and staΩ at Elmhurst College have changed my life, and that’s not an exaggeration. The relationships I formed with these great people happened for one simple reason: The people of Elmhurst College have cared about my life. “These magnificent people care about me and every student on this campus. This is not only a rare quality, this is what makes this institution great,” he said. “As a former student, I’m absolutely honored to say that I now am, and always will be, seated beside you as a fellow investor.”   

bluejay nation

Wrestlers Make History The Bluejays’ record-setting season included a national second-place finish, five individual All-America honors and two national coaching awards.

Photo: Kevin Juday


Senior Mike Benefiel celebrates his national championship win.

Follow the Bluejays online! Live video streaming of selected sports events is available at


efore his players even hit the mat in 2012-13, Elmhurst wrestling coach Steve Marianetti knew his squad was on the brink of a special season. “We had a lot of returning talent from the previous season,” said Marianetti. “After adding a few key additions to our experienced roster, I believed this team was ready for a breakthrough on the national stage.” That breakthrough came quickly, when the Bluejays scored a secondplace team finish at the prestigious NWCA National Duals in January. Elmhurst followed that performance by dominating at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championships, winning the team title by a 52-point margin with six individual champions. The conference title was the team’s third consecutive championship and sixth overall under Marianetti’s direction. The Bluejays capped the season with a second-place national finish at the NCAA Championships, the team’s best-ever result. Five Bluejays qualified for the NCAA Championships, and all five earned All-America accolades by scoring a top-eight finish in their respective weight class. Senior Dalton Bullard took seventh at 133 pounds, while senior Ryan Earley finished fourth at 141 pounds. Sophomore Miguel Venecia added a fifth-place finish at 125 pounds. Seniors Joe Rau (184 pounds) and Mike Benefiel (197 pounds) closed out their collegiate careers by winning individual national championships. “To send five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and have all five come home as All-Americans is fantastic,” said Marianetti. “As a coach, you really can’t hope for much of a better finish. Having Joe and Mike cap oΩ great seasons with national titles made it that much more special.” At the end of the NCAA Championships, the Bluejays climbed the podium and hoisted a second-place national trophy, the team’s first trophy at the NCAA Championships. In addition to the team trophy, Marianetti was named the Division iii National Coach of the Year, and assistant John Jung was named the Division iii National Assistant Coach of the Year. “Every year we set a goal of winning a conference championship and bringing home a team trophy from the NCAA Championships,” said Marianetti. “To end this season with a second-place national finish is just unbelievable. This team did an amazing job not just at the NCAA Championships, but all season long. I couldn’t be any prouder of the way we competed.”

FYI/Fall 2013


Sports Shorts The Elmhurst athletic program enjoyed a phenomenal season in 2012–2013 and has high hopes for another great year. Here’s a look at some Bluejay highlights. Tennis Team Wins Championship The Elmhurst men’s tennis team became the fourth Elmhurst squad to win a CCIW Championship during the 2012–2013 year. The Bluejays scored their first CCIW Championship in almost 60 years by defeating Wheaton College 5–3, and narrowly missed out on a trip to the NCAA Championships. National Ranking for Football Team Coming oΩ its best-ever season in 2012, the Elmhurst football team earned its first-ever preseason top-25 national ranking. The Bluejays entered the 2013 season ranked 25th in the nation by Lindy’s Sports annual preseason poll. Last season, Elmhurst captured its first CCIW title since 1980 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoΩs. High Ambitions for the Volleyball Squad After finishing the 2012 season with a trip to the Final Four of the NCAA Championship, the Elmhurst volleyball team is preparing for a follow up in 2013 by loading its schedule with top-25 caliber opponents. The Bluejays have scheduled 11 contests against teams that finished the 2012 season in the top 25, including the other three members of the Final Four. The squad returns five starters from last season, including All-American middle hitters Megan Reynolds and Kaityln Wilks. Coach Julie Hall enters the season needing just two victories to reach 500 wins for her career.

Photo: Roark Johnson


A Huge


In 30 years as an Elmhurst trustee, Ralph Lundgren has watched higher education change. But his attachment to the College has been constant. By Andrew Santella


alph Lundgren arrived at Elmhurst College by an accident of geography. Lundgren, who retired from Elmhurst’s Board of Trustees in June after 30 years of service, spent his high school years in west suburban Berkeley, Illinois. Though neither of his parents had studied beyond high school, they made certain Lundgren understood that he would go on to college after his graduation from Proviso Township High School. “My parents wanted me to have, I won’t say a better life, but better opportunities than they had,” he said. As it turned out, there was a college a little more than two miles from home—close enough for quick commutes to and from campus in the single car the family owned. That was nearly all Lundgren knew about Elmhurst College, and it was all he needed to know. He sat for no standardized college entrance exams. His family didn’t apply for financial aid. “Partly out of ignorance, I suppose, financial aid didn’t loom large for my parents,” Lundgren explained. “They had saved up.” There would be for Lundgren none of the high-maintenance trappings of the college search as practiced by later generations and their hovering parents—the glossy viewbooks, the test-prep workshops, the application to the fallback school. Few people appreciate better than Lundgren how higher education has changed since he chanced his way onto the Elmhurst campus 60 years ago. A former vice president for education at the Lilly Endowment, one of the nation’s foremost funders of colleges and universities, Lundgren has watched as educators and administrators, students and their parents all grapple with ever more intense competition for students, rising costs and crippling levels of student debt. He has tracked the changes as one would a developing storm.



Lundgren’s time in higher education gave him a unique perspective—one he put to good use on Elmhurst’s Board of Trustees.

Ralph Lundgren (back row, third from the right) with the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees in a 1981 photo.


t the Lilly Endowment, in the late 1970s, he administered funding for the first national study of student debt, then already a growing concern. Researchers wanted to know if rising levels of debt would aΩect students’ career choices, making them lean toward higher-paying fields. At the time, Lundgren said, the average student debt load was about $6,400. Today, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, it is nearly $27,000. (At Elmhurst, it’s just under $24,000.) “Colleges are reaching out to more students and recruiting students so much more actively today. But one unintended consequence of this bidding for students is that it has encouraged a consumer predisposition on the part of students,” he said. “The discount rate has been ramped up. And students have diΩerent ideas about what college should be today. They expect fitness centers and dorm suites. We were pleased just to be able to go to college.“ Not that Lundgren’s long view should be mistaken for mere nostalgia. Today’s college, he said, is “unreservedly stronger” than the one he knew as a student. But Lundgren’s personal and professional experiences in education gave him a unique perspective, one he put to good use in his three decades on Elmhurst’s board. A dedicated champion of academic excellence, he advocated on behalf of the College’s faculty, urging the board to continue to raise faculty salaries. He provided the funds to launch Elmhurst’s Center for Scholarship and Teaching, which supports faculty research, creative work and course development. He chaired the board’s academic aΩairs committee. A staunch defender of the College’s faith-driven heritage, he advanced the cause of faith at Elmhurst by advising the College on how to best position itself to win a grant from the Lilly Endowment that created the Niebuhr Center for Faith and Action. The Niebuhr Center, now celebrating its 10th year, is a resource for students committed to spirituality and service. “His years of experience have been a huge help to the College,” said the Rev. Dr. Ronald K. Beauchamp ’89, director of the Niebuhr Center. “When he talks, you want to listen.” “He has been a mainstay of a group of trustees who understand academia from the inside,” said Alzada Tipton, senior vice president and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst. “He will be heartily missed.” Lundgren, who graduated in 1957, studied at Elmhurst at a time when the College was best known for educating ministers for the Evangelical and Reformed Church. His circle of friends at the College included an extraordinary number of students bound for the seminary. “Many of the people I knew went into the ministry, some to the great surprise of themselves and others,” is how Lundgren puts it, slyly. He joined the Glee Club, got involved in student government and majored in psychology and sociology. Upon graduation, knowing that he was likely to be drafted soon, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to a Chicago-based research unit of the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute, an outfit responsible for producing portable and (it was hoped) palatable rations for, among others, astronauts engaged in the quickening Space Race. His work at the institute, Lundgren said, demonstrated for him the value of his liberal arts education. Seeing teams of chemists, biologists and psychologists collaborating on research there validated for Lundgren the emphasis on cross-disciplinary breadth rather than a narrowly technical

or vocational focus. His own job, though, was complicated by the institute’s location. Lundgren helped conduct taste tests. But the prevailing westerly winds tended to carry the distinctive scents of Chicago’s Union Stock Yards, a few blocks away, to the institute’s labs. “There we were, testing the palatability of food within aroma range of the Stock Yards,” Lundgren recalled. “It was ironic.” After leaving the Army, Lundgren did graduate work in counseling and guidance, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D., both from Loyola University. He worked as a counselor at St. Joseph High School in west suburban Westchester, then as deputy director of research at the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In 1973, he took a position in the education wing of the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis, then one of the nation’s largest foundations. He would remain at Lilly for 26 years, rising to vice president of education. At Lilly, Lundgren eventually oversaw a small but active o≈ce that administered grants to faculty researchers, colleges seeking to strengthen programs in the social sciences, and historically black colleges and universities. He oversaw grants that gave junior and mid-career professors the time and resources to pursue their intellectual interests, and introduced programs to support scholarships for minority students. His position at the Lilly Endowment also gave him a panoramic view of a changing higher education landscape. He saw colleges becoming more diverse, but struggling to retain students and shepherd them through to graduation. He saw campuses that aspired to the gloss and creature comforts of a high-end resort. He saw costs and tuition bills spiraling. And what he saw informed his work on Elmhurst’s Board of Trustees. Lundgren accepted a position on the board in 1973, at around the time he started working at the Lilly Endowment. “It gave me a chance to work firsthand on the types of institutional challenges I had been dealing with on paper,” Lundgren said of serving on Elmhurst’s board. “It was professionally rewarding, and it allowed me to do something to help strengthen and improve my alma mater.” One of the ways Lundgren helped, Tipton said, was by bringing his understanding of academic decision making to the board. For board members accustomed to executive briskness and frustrated by the consensus-driven processes of a college campus, Lundgren has been a steadying influence. “He has been an important link between the College and trustees who don’t have his experience in higher education,” Tipton said of Lundgren. And his commitment to supporting faculty research, demonstrated throughout his time at the Lilly Endowment, was also evident in his work on the academic aΩairs committee of Elmhurst’s board. “He understands what faculty need to do their jobs well,” Tipton said. “He has been a constant voice reminding the board about the importance of the faculty.” One of the keys to his influence on campus may be his courtly personal manner. For all of Lundgren’s intellectual gifts, Tipton said, “he’s also funny, self-deprecating and very kind.” Beauchamp said that Lundgren “doesn’t demand, and he doesn’t confront. He shares.” After the initial funding for the Niebuhr Center expired, Beauchamp said, Lundgren’s voice was key in convincing the College to keep the center running. “He said that it was critical for this to go on,” Beauchamp recalls. “He has a deep attachment to the College and its history.” FYI/Fall 2013


President Bryant Cureton presented Ralph Lundgren with the Founders Medal in 1995.

But as he prepared for his last meeting as a member of the board, Lundgren warned that the College would have to continue to change. The trends in higher education he and others have watched over the last decades—rising costs, increased competition from for-profit schools, new online delivery systems for education—point to fundamental shifts in the way colleges work. “The culture has changed,” he said. “And colleges have to be more flexible and responsive to the public they serve.” At Elmhurst, he suggested, that will mean faculty, administration and trustees working together to rigorously examine basic assumptions about how the College can best educate students and govern itself. Lundgren admitted that he was retiring from the board “with mixed feelings.” He said that he still had the energy needed to serve. And he acknowledged that he and his wife, Nancy, would miss the friends they had made on the board and the social ties that went with his service. But Lundgren said he chose to retire because he believed it was the right thing to do for the College. Boards like Elmhurst’s, he believes, should enforce age and consecutive-term limits. “I don’t have the same connections to people in higher education that I can draw on the way I once did,” he said. “This happens over time. With every year, I lose more of those contacts. I can read about what’s happening, but I don’t have the same kind of access.” Beauchamp said that Lundgren had oΩered “wise counsel” to the College over the years. So would Lundgren have any final bits of wisdom to oΩer his friends on the board and across the campus as he retires? “I’m going to thank them,” he said. “I have benefited much more than I have contributed. And that’s not just the thing to say. I mean it sincerely.”

Photos: Genevieve Lee



their stuff The annual Research and Performance Showcase celebrates the intellectual and creative life of the campus.

FYI/Fall 2013

By Andrew Santella


E Photos: Genevieve Lee


Geyer called the exchange of questions and answers at the poster lmhurst College’s Research and Performance session “the really fun part” of his project. But he was just as enthused Showcase is no place for the indecisive. The 11th annual iteration, on May 2, featured presen- about the chance to see and hear presentations from other students. The showcase is, among other things, a chance for students to see another, tations and performances by more than 160 more intellectual or creative side of friends they might know only from Elmhurst students, crammed into four hours in four campus buildings. That means visitors the residence hall or the cafeteria. “There are all these people doing this great research on breast cancer had to make some hard choices. cells or mushroom enzymes,” he said. “It can be surprising.” Should we check out the saxophone perforMore Elmhurst students than ever are doing scholarly research as mance in Buik Hall, or hustle over to Circle undergraduates. In the past decade or so, Elmhurst and other colleges Hall for a presentation on the pilgrims of the have increased their eΩorts to oΩer undergraduates the kinds of research Camino de Santiago de Compostela? Do you want to see a demonstration opportunities once reserved for graduate students. Foundations support of a new iPad video game designed by a computer gaming and entertaina growing number of undergraduate projects, and the College itself ment student? Hear an analysis of the political influence wielded by the oΩers students and their faculty mentors competitive summer collaboration women in the life of King Louis xiv of France? And let’s make sure to grants to support their investigations. find time for the presentation in the Frick Center on the genetic triggers Even some first-year students presented at this year’s showcase, said that make breast cancer cells grow more rapidly. “It’s speed dating across the disciplines,” Elmhurst President S. Alan Ray Beatriz Gómez Acuña, associate professor of Spanish and a member of the faculty committee that organized the showcase. said of the showcase during his remarks kicking oΩ the event. “I’m amazed “They’re getting the earliest possible start on undergraduate research,” at the variety of topics that capture the imaginations of our students.” The showcase featured oΩerings from students in fields ranging from she said. “They’re getting the mentorship, the one-on-one relationship biology to business and from nursing to urban studies. Some were expe- between student and professor that we value here.” For students conducting and presenting research, the benefits are clear: rienced undergraduate researchers, who had collaborated with faculty mentors for years and traveled to academic conferences to present the They take responsibility for their own learning and tackle the challenge of presenting what they have learned to a general audience. They also better results of their investigations. Others, like junior biology major Matt their chances of being accepted by the most selective graduate programs. Geyer, were making their first public presentations. Geyer was at “If you want to go to graduate school, good grades are not enough,” the showcase to explain his research, conducted in collaboration with Assistant Professor Merrilee Guenther, into the bone microstructure of said Rob Butler, professor and Lester and Joan Brune Chair in History. “You need to go to conferences and to events like this.” sauropod dinosaurs. Butler mentored several students presenting at the conference, including “I can’t thank the College enough for the chance to do this kind of the winner of the award for best oral presentation. Rachel Lebensorger, research,” he said, after walking a visitor through his project at the showcase’s poster session in the Frick Center. “You get motivated to do something a junior secondary education major from Palos Hills, won for “Niebuhr’s First Ladies of Elmhurst College: An Overview of the First Year of Women and you can pursue it.”

Students explain their research to members of the College community during the poster session of this year’s Research and Performance Showcase.

“If you want to go to graduate school, good grades are not enough. You need to go to conferences and to events like this.” 21

Up the Wall

Enrollment.” Lebensorger’s project grew out of Butler’s January Term class in historiography. For a class assignment, Lebensorger explored the College’s archives and became interested in the enrollment of women at Elmhurst. In her paper, she argued that the College admitted women less out of a sense of social justice than out of economic need. Women helped drive the College’s enrollment during a time of financial crisis. The paper, she said, was her first real foray into primary-source historical research. “It was humbling, for my first time, to be allowed to present here, let alone to win an award,” she said. She plans to expand her paper for her senior thesis, now that she has experienced the rewards of archival research. “I felt like I was writing history rather than writing about history,” she said.

Students demonstrate a video game they developed. FYI/Fall 2013

The assignment was to do the impossible. The Mill Theatre’s recent production of Metamorphosis, adapted from the seminal 1915 Franz Kafka story, featured what must be one of the most singular leading roles in all of theatre: Gregor, the salesman who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect. For the members of the play’s technical design team, Gregor’s transformation posed some daunting challenges. “This is a character who likes to crawl on the ceiling,” said Shelby Westart, the production’s lighting designer. She and the rest of the team were charged with creating a world of sound, light, costumes and sets that made the fantastic seem real and the impossible, matter-of-fact. At the Elmhurst College Research and Performance Showcase on May 2, the team explained the problems posed by the play and the solutions they devised. Their work began more than six weeks before opening night, when they began brainstorming with director Joel HuΩ and doing preliminary research with Assistant Professor Richard Arnold. Stage manager Abigail Ward explained how the claustrophobically angled walls of Arnold’s Mill Theatre stage set “served a very physical production” that included elements of dance and mime and “gave Gregor something to climb up.” Sound designer Jennifer McCarthy and light designer Shelby Westart created visual and sonic landscapes that captured the play’s mood of alienation. Costumer Morgan Saaf designed layered ensembles for Gregor to evoke the stages of his transubstantiation. “We wanted to do something ridiculously challenging and make it the best it could be,” said Westart. There were inevitable missteps along the way. Some of Saaf ’s ornate and formal costumes, for example, had to be revised to allow actors to move more athletically. “We were making changes throughout,” said Arnold. At any point did the team wish they’d picked something a little less challenging to stage? “What’s the fun in that?” Arnold asked.

Mussel Bound


The marine mollusk known by the scientific name Brachidontes exustus is a tiny creature, little bigger than your thumb. But for Jessica Wadleigh, studying Brachidontes has produced some large insights, about the natural world and about herself. Wadleigh, a senior biology major, has spent parts of the last three years working in the lab of Assistant Professor Kyle Bennett, getting to know Brachidontes and its close relatives of the western Atlantic Ocean. In a paper she presented at the Research and Performance Showcase on May 2, Wadleigh argued that gene-sequencing analyses suggest that populations of Brachidontes exustus found along Brazil’s Atlantic Coast, while virtually identical in form and structure, are in fact two distinct species, each with its own evolutionary history. Wadleigh’s project is part of a larger series of investigations being conducted by students in Bennett’s lab. They hope to add to the understanding of how, when and why certain species developed and branched oΩ from common ancestors. Wadleigh said her work has already proven hugely consequential in her own intellectual development. “I didn’t know I wanted to be a scientist before,” she said. “Now I know that’s my passion, what I want to do. And that was a lucky discovery made thanks to a very inspirational teacher.” Wadleigh began her foray into the world of the marine mollusk not long after taking Bennett’s class on invertebrates. She at first had hesitated to enroll in the class, fearing that the topic would be too abstruse. Instead, she found herself fascinated. She headed to Bennett’s o≈ce to learn more. “I asked if he was doing research, and he said, ‘Yes, do you want to do research with me?’” she recalled. She has been working in Bennett’s lab ever since. She is also working with Professor James Berry on a project at Fermilab to understand more about how garter snakes take cover in the open. She plans to do graduate work in biology at Northern Illinois University next year. She is not sure where her studies will take her, but thanks to her undergraduate research at Elmhurst, she says she knows one thing for certain. “I want to ask amazing questions about the world.”

Jessica Wadleigh's undergraduate work with marine mollusks helped her discover a passion for research.

Jessica Wadleigh presents her research on marine mollusks.

Professor Kyle Bennett and his students hope to add to the understanding of how, when and why certain species developed and branched off from common ancestors.

The War at Home Sean Van Buskirk, a senior history major, has long been interested in stories of World War ii. But it wasn’t until he took Professor Rob Butler’s January Term historiography class that he understood the war’s impact on Elmhurst College. At the College’s Research and Performance Showcase on May 2, Van Buskirk presented his paper, “Elmhurst College During World War ii,” based on research he conducted in the College’s archives as part of an assignment for Butler’s class. “Elmhurst was permanently changed by the war,” Van Buskirk argued in his presentation. Among the most dramatic examples of that transformation—and one that created considerable controversy at the time—was the arrival on campus of Japanese-American students recently relocated from internment camps in the western United States. Beginning in 1942, a newly formed Student Refugee Committee worked with College President Timothy Lehmann and Elmhurst’s Board of Trustees to release four Japanese Americans from the camps to study at the College. “We must make our contribution so that a majority of local American people will insist on fair treatment of these Japanese and not succumb to race baiters,” board chairman Paul Jans wrote at the time. Elmhurst’s American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts strongly condemned the eΩort, and the Elmhurst Press editorialized in a front-page headline: “No Room For Jap Students in This Town.” Undeterred, the College continued educating Japanese-American students, and before the war’s end also brought to campus European students displaced by the war. Van Buskirk said that other wartime changes included the introduction of new classes in Red Cross First Aid and “military

German” and the formation of a Student Defense Council “to protect against acts of sabotage at Elmhurst College.” “There is no record of any acts of sabotage on campus,” Van Buskirk added. The College’s administration also created a new accelerated, concentrated course schedule that allowed students to graduate in three years by studying through the summer. The move drew student protests. Van Buskirk quoted one student who suggested the move smacked of fascism. “Others said that they just missed summer vacation,” Van Buskirk said. The biggest change brought by the war, Van Buskirk said, may have been a dramatic increase in enrollment aided by the post-war GI Bill. From 1944 to 1946, enrollment more than doubled, from 244 to 539. Van Buskirk’s research grew out of Butler’s assignment to delve into a local archive or library in search of a story or artifact of interest. “The idea is to get your hands dirty rooting around and to find something, it doesn’t matter what,” Butler said. “It’s like jumping into the deep end of the pool. You don’t know what you’ll find.” Before presenting his paper at the showcase, Van Buskirk presented at a conference at Mississippi State University in April. He learned that explaining your research can be as challenging as conducting the research. “Sometimes that’s the hardest part,” he said. “Just trying to sound coherent.” He can consider that a challenge met.

Before presenting his paper at the showcase, Sean Van Buskirk presented at a conference at Mississippi State University in April.

During World War II, Elmhurst welcomed four Japanese-American students from internment camps in the western United States. FYI/Fall 2013




Photo: Roark Johnson

Great Things

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Alzada Tipton says the College helps students succeed by giving them responsibility for their own learning. By Andrew Santella


FYI/Fall 2013

“It’s empowering for students to be in charge of one particular intellectual question and explore it in ways that it hasn’t been explored before.” 26

What experiences or events come to your mind as illustrative of intellectual excellence at Elmhurst? I think the Research and Performance Showcase is a good example. At this annual event, students present the results of their research and show that they can make a project their own. This is not dutifully repeating what others have told you or what countless others have thought. It’s about students becoming independent scholars, working collaboratively with faculty. That’s a very important piece of the concept of intellectual excellence at Elmhurst. That’s such a giant step for students, to take ownership of their own learning, isn’t it? It is. And in some ways it’s even more important now than it was in the past. Society now conspires to keep young people infantilized. Their parents do so much for them, and a lot of control is exerted over them, so they can tend to be helpless and look for others to solve problems for them. They might see themselves as consumers rather than as contributors to society. So it’s really empowering for them to be in charge of one particular intellectual question and explore it in ways that it hasn’t been explored before. We’re advancing the frontiers of knowledge with the work our students are doing in collaboration with faculty. That’s really exciting.

Photos: Roark Johnson

You mentioned collaborations. Some great examples come from the summer faculty/student research grants the College funds. How does that program work? That’s a program I started in my first year here. In the summer of 2007 we had two pairs of faculty and students doing research, and I think this year we have 17. And we could do more if we had the funding. We give faculty members a stipend, and even more importantly, we give the student a stipend. Otherwise they would probably have to be working a summer job, and that would not give them the time to do collaborative research. Sometimes students have an idea of something they would like to pursue, and they find faculty members willing to work with them. Sometimes a faculty member has an ongoing line of research, and the faculty member invites the student to join the project. It’s very exciting to see students who have been doing research with a faculty member for, say, three years. They really become junior colleagues to the faculty. How important are these undergraduate research experiences for students looking to move on to graduate school? Those opportunities really set Elmhurst students apart from those at other institutions if they’re competing for admission into a graduate program. This is not something that large universities can do. We can take advantage of the fact that we’re small, and our faculty has the capacity to work with students individually or in small groups. So students can have amazing experiences like publishing in a journal or presenting at a conference. And the summer faculty-student collaborations are not the only time and place research happens. A number of departments require research as part of the senior capstone experience. And an emphasis on research has been one of the hallmarks of our Honors Program.

One important measure of excellence for faculty is scholarship— publishing and making a mark in one’s field. Are classroom teaching and scholarship ever at odds? And what is Elmhurst doing to promote and encourage faculty scholarship? I do think they are at odds in some institutions of higher learning. Research universities often promote an ethos that suggests that teaching is a waste of time and that you need to be released from your teaching to spend more time on your research. That’s not at all the case at Elmhurst College. We have, I think, the best of both worlds. We are able to attract people who are excited about teaching and about continuing their scholarship. When I got here, there just was not that much support for scholarship. What I was able to do, thanks to [former president] Bryant Cureton, who gave me many new resources to devote to faculty development, was establish a Center for Scholarship and Teaching and really beef up faculty grants so we are able to support faculty scholarship in substantial ways. One of the big stories in higher education at the moment is the rise of new online delivery systems for higher education. At Elmhurst, the relatively new School for Professional Studies is expanding online and distance oΩerings. Will more Elmhurst classes for traditional undergraduate students be taught online? I think that’s probably the case. There’s still this distinction between traditional and nontraditional students, and the idea is that online courses are for nontraditonal students and on-ground courses are for traditional students. I think that distinction is going to break down. Some nontraditional students will prefer to do their master’s degree one day a week here on campus. And some 18- to 22-year-olds will want to do online courses. And that makes sense when you think about their busy schedules. With many of them working many hours, the convenience of online courses is attractive to them. The real distinction is not between online and on-ground courses. It’s between courses where there is a lot of interaction—whether that interaction is face to face or on a computer—and one where there is no interaction. Elmhurst courses will always feature a lot of interaction between instructor and students, as well as students interacting with each other. There has been a lot of attention nationally to the need to retain more students in so-called STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, math. In part because of the di≈culty of the coursework, so many majors in STEM fields change majors and move away from those fields—or worse, leave college altogether. How is Elmhurst’s new Keystone program trying to address this? The idea is that students should be doing work at every step of the way that reminds them of why they were interested in the STEM fields in the first place and what they can do with an education in the STEM fields. So we oΩer first-year seminars on STEM-related topics. And there are January Term “STEMinars” that focus on professional opportunities in the STEM fields. And there is the opportunity in the summer between a student’s first year and second year to do a research experience. People have always said that the STEM fields traditionally were taught backwards, in that students cram a lot of content in at the beginning and only when they became juniors and seniors did they get the opportunity FYI/Fall 2013

to do great experiments and blow things up in a lab. The idea here is to change that and have students do hands-on, interesting stuΩ right away. Right, start blowing things up right away! Exactly! Rather than have them be bored and overwhelmed by all this content being thrown at them, we want them to see what the point of all this content is. Rather than taking it on faith that at some point along the line they’ll get to use this for something, we want them to experience that. One thing you can say about today’s students is that they almost all identify themselves as hands-on learners, or active learners or kinetic learners or whatever you want to call it. They’re not very excited by the traditional methods of learning--sitting and listening to someone talk. How can the College encourage intellectual excellence in its students? We’ve talked about these two pillars of intellectual excellence: making students into independent scholars, and engaging them in highly interactive classes. And it’s almost paradoxical: We’re supportive and engaged so that they can be more independent and take responsibility for their own thinking. But I do think that’s how we help students: by oΩering lots of interaction and attention, but also pushing them to take responsibility for their education. We will help them through their di≈culties, but we will also recognize their great talent and expect great things. What are you looking forward to working on in the future? I’d like to keep breaking down the barriers between what students do in the classroom and what happens outside the classroom. I’d like there to be a greater connection to the community and more focus on students going out on service-learning projects or study-away experiences or internships. That’s a piece of the hands-on learning that we have talked about. And that’s going to be a very important part of intellectual excellence in the future, especially for our very hands-on learners.

Elmhurst courses will always feature a lot of interaction between instructor and students, as well as students interacting with each other.


Reprinted with permission from Liberal Education, vol. 99, no 2. Copyright 2013 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.


the Meanings of

Student Success The president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) reflects on liberal learning and the Elmhurst experience. This essay originally appeared in Liberal Education, the flagship journal of the AAC&U. By Carol Geary Schneider

Photo: Genevieve Lee


Carol Geary Schneider (left) received an honorary degree at the College’s 2013 Commencement. She is pictured here with (from left) honorary degree recipient Paul H. DeBruine ’55, President S. Alan Ray and honorary degree recipient Linda Marshall ’85, who gave the Commencement address.



n June, I had the pleasure of taking part in Elmhurst College’s annual graduation ceremonies. Witnessing the speeches and dialogues, I found a welcome congruence between the educational vision AAC&U seeks to advance through our Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative and what both alumni and students had to say about their liberal education at this “hybrid campus” where many of the students major in professional programs. But the experience, inspiring though it was, also reinforced my sense of the widening disconnect between a data-driven obsession with “student success” and the values and experiences that graduates themselves report as transforming. Elmhurst’s graduation speaker, Linda Marshall, is an alumna who worked her way through college and then went on to be a pioneering leader in the development of the telecommunications industry. The students listened with rapt attention as she shared her views on what she looks for in new employees and what it takes to achieve long-term success in career and life. Ms. Marshall had never heard either of the EmployerEducator Compact described in this issue of Liberal Education, or of the Hart research on employer priorities for college learning presented here. And yet, she might have been sent from LEAP central casting. What she looks for in young graduates, she said, is the passion for learning, the driving intellectual curiosity, that shows her they are ready to hit the ground running in industries and organizations that are in the midst of dynamic growth and constant change. She gave a good speech, one that would be well worth recounting in more detail. But my point here is that this exemplar of career success touted values, love of learning, the importance of the humanities—whose worth she recognized only after she left college—and the kind of intellectual hunger we traditionally associate with a liberal arts education. Yet, like most of her student audience, Ms. Marshall majored in a professional field. In a separate baccalaureate service, students themselves took center stage to think and talk together about their own educational journeys. Selected presenters, reflecting a diverse array of ethnicities and backgrounds, held a colloquy on the specific “core values” Elmhurst espouses as a context for all aspects of student learning and experience: intellectual excellence; community; social responsibility; stewardship; and faith, meaning and values. Using their own stories and their own vocabularies, the graduating seniors questioned one another about the meaning of these values in their own experience and their own imagined futures. And, by the very format they chose—queries back and forth to one another— they modeled the idea that the meaning of a complex value is always in the making, always being negotiated, not just through the prisms of our own experience, but rather and perhaps especially in encounters and dialogue with people whose perspectives and histories can be very diΩerent from our own. What particularly caught my attention in these colloquies was the students’ assumption that, no matter what the subject of their majors, values like striving for deeper understanding, taking social responsibility for the increase of social justice, and learning with and from their myriad diΩerences were key components of their entire educational journey at Elmhurst. Policy analysts like to contend that the “liberal arts mission” requires that the majority of an institution’s students complete majors in one of the liberal arts and sciences disciplines. These students knew,

“We have entered an era of farreaching innovation in which we’ll make crucial decisions about what matters in learning and about how to foster it. Elmhurst shows that community matters. Context matters. Values matter. Integrative learning matters.”

from their lived experience, that Elmhurst’s core values permeated every aspect of their educational journey, not just a subset of the academic curriculum. Whether they majored in business, accounting, nursing, or philosophy, they believed that the “Elmhurst Experience” had led them to think in important ways about their responsibilities to themselves and to other people. Crucially, they recognized that the values-based challenges their institution placed before them were, in truth, standards for both reflection and action in all aspects of their lives. Between them, the students and the employer at this event gave life and voice to the central idea in the LEAP vision for liberal learning and long-term success: big-picture thinking, values-framed questions, deep analytical inquiry, and collaborative dialogue should be blended together in all students’ educational journeys. Whether we call these liberal education outcomes, or, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman puts it, America’s “secret sauce,” these are the keys to lives lived well—and to long-term economic success. Yet none of this is reflected in the national priorities for student success or in the metrics with which pundits propose to measure how well we’re doing in promoting student success. Indeed, there is a profound and persistent disconnect between the assumptions that now dominate student success policies, on the one hand, and the larger meanings of success that both students and alumna so beautifully embodied in the Elmhurst graduation, on the other. The first of these is the assumption that college-level knowledge and skills are highly field-specific and, therefore, that the “right” major— meaning one that is closely tied to labor market openings—is all that really counts, both for the future of the individual student and in terms of the value added to the economy. Across all four of the AAC&Ucommissioned employer surveys, four out of five responding employers strongly disagree with that assumption. “It takes more than a major,” as Ms. Marshall explained to a field full of new graduates and their families. But policy leaders, quite literally thrilled that they can wield a new metric drawn from correlations between major field and early career

income data, don’t want to hear it. Market returns can stand in as a proxy for quality, one economist has assured me. But in fact, those particular market data hide literally all of the “secret sauce” that a good education provides—optimally across all majors. The key point is that every major should be infused with those larger values of rigorous inquiry, evidencebased reasoning, and deep engagement with ethical and social responsibilities that characterize liberal learning at its best. When this blend is achieved, the value added is the sum of all those parts. The content of the major certainly matters; but no single field of study, by itself, can make for a successful career or a worthwhile life. The second assumption is that the economy is all that matters and, therefore, career preparation is the sole reason for going to college. The “greatest generation” knew better. In 1947, the President’s Commission on Higher Education spelled out a far more ambitious and inspiring set of principal goals for the nation: “education for a fuller realization of democracy in every phase of living; education directly and explicitly for international understanding and cooperation; and education for the application of creative imagination and trained intelligence to the solution of social problems and to the administration of public aΩairs.” How long has it been since we heard anyone of national stature articulate such a vision for college learning? And yet, the Elmhurst students who spoke at the baccalaureate service got these key points fully. Their education had underscored a larger sense of purpose, and they had taken this set of expectations to heart. The third assumption, inscribed in the almost unbearably stupid conversation we’re currently having about MOOCs and cost economies, is that the whole point of college is knowledge transmission: great lecturers transmit, and automated “recognize and repeat” assessments are used to discern whether students have grasped the key concepts. Let’s be clear. The real key to high-quality learning is the student’s mastery of the capacities fundamental to evidence-based inquiry and reasoning: identifying and framing a significant question, organizing the analysis, generating and evaluating evidence, developing an argument, taking into account the likely objections, and then subjecting one’s own judgment to the verdict of others. These capacities—so central both to the knowledge economy and to a complex democracy—are developed through guided practice. No one can simply deliver them to students. We have entered an era of far-reaching innovation in which we’ll make crucial decisions about what matters in learning and about how to foster it. Elmhurst shows that community matters. Context matters. Values matter. Integrative learning matters. Yet the vast majority of college students matriculate at public institutions where leaders are under pressure to save money by focusing only on completion metrics and asking no questions about educational quality at any level, much less about qualities of heart and mind. So long as policy is focused primarily on aggregated course credits and on majors, our metrics will remain deeply disconnected from our core strengths.


Carol Geary Schneider is president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Top: Professor Debra Meyer (center) introduces Carol Geary Schneider (left) at Commencement 2013. At right are Board of Trustees Chair Barbara Lucks and President S. Alan Ray. FYI/Fall 2013


The Spirit of Inquiry Photos: Roark Johnson

At the heart of the Elmhurst Experience is a commitment to academic freedom, rigorous debate and creative inquiry. In these interviews, students and recent alumni talk about how the College’s tradition of intellectual excellence plays out in the classroom and beyond. Interviews by Margaret Currie


FYI/Fall 2013


Jaclyn Pearson ’15 Freeport, Illinois Elementary Education To me, intellectual excellence is about lifelong learning. It’s about taking your education beyond the classroom to get involved and share your passions with others. And at Elmhurst I’ve found a lot of opportunities to do just that. As a Golden Apple Scholar, for example, I spend my summers working in high-need schools—tutoring, teaching lessons, giving assessments and learning about classroom management. As an education major, I spend a lot of time in educational settings during the academic year, representing Elmhurst and showing our supervising teachers how well prepared we are. I’m also a Whitener Scholar, which means that I’m expected to commit myself to lifelong learning and sharing my knowledge with colleagues and with high-need communities. And during January Term I’ll be in Great Britain, working alongside British teachers in the classroom. I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned globally and discover new ways of teaching.

Patrick Brambert ’13 Bloomingdale, Illinois Biology It’s one thing to do well in classes and learn what the teachers have to tell you. It’s another thing entirely to have a professor say, “Here’s something that nobody knows the answer to. Go find the answer.” That’s a key component of the academic experience at Elmhurst. During my sophomore year I started working on a research project with Professor Stacey Raimondi in the biology department. Our project was to examine pathways in cells that get disrupted by cancer, with the goal of filling in some gaps in scientific knowledge. Dr. Raimondi gave us an idea of what we should be looking for and instructed us to tell her what happened. It was both exciting and daunting. Doing high-level research at Elmhurst taught me that things are often less simple and straightforward than they seem. I learned to keep on going when things don’t work out—and not to get discouraged. The experience changed the way I approach questions I don’t know the answer to. And it definitely prepared me for graduate school and dentistry.

FYI/Fall 2013

“Doing high-level research at Elmhurst taught me that things are often less simple and straightforward than they seem.”



Rabia Hameed ’15 Glen Ellyn, Illinois Biology I see Elmhurst as a very academically driven college. It is a place where everyone strives to do their best. At the same time, everyone also works together to help each other out. That healthy competition makes you want to do better. You hear people talking about their cool experiences—they’re shadowing a doctor or doing research at Loyola—and you think maybe you should start doing more. Professor Stacey Raimondi invited me to work with her on breast cancer research over the summer. She found a novel pathway in cancer, and now her research is based on trying to show how that pathway is important. So we’re studying cancer cell cultures, trying to find diΩerences in the cells and figure out what those diΩerences mean. Biology majors at Elmhurst have the opportunity to do more than students at big universities do. We write grant proposals and research papers, and we’re required to do research. Not only that, we’re doing something for the greater good. For example, a lot of people are aΩected by cancer every day, and we’re working to fight it.

Margaret Zieke ’13 Caledonia, Minnesota History I grew up in a small rural town where the majority of students don’t go on to college, so I wasn’t really prepared for the rigor of college. At Elmhurst, I learned how to be the best academic learner I could be, and I know that will serve me well in the years to come. One of the best experiences of my time at Elmhurst was studying abroad. I spent a term in Finland, where I explored countries and periods of history that I hadn’t been exposed to before. Most of the history classes I had taken were focused on Western Europe; on that trip, I discovered the history of Finland and Russia. That experience dramatically increased my interest in Eastern Europe and really helped me grow as a student. Based on that interest, I submitted a paper on Russian encroachment in the Far East to a national conference on undergraduate research. In April 2013 I was lucky enough to present my research to the cream of the academic undergraduate crop. Most of the other students there were from larger universities, but the education and skills I developed at Elmhurst allowed me to present my research alongside these heavy hitters.

Toan Trinh ’13 Glendale Heights, Illinois Chemistry As a chemistry major at Elmhurst, I was able to interact with my professors every day. Through their guidance, I was able to do some very exciting research, and I discovered that research is what I want to do. My research project explored a big question: how to capture carbon dioxide in the air. In recent years, carbon dioxide has increased significantly, causing a serious environmental issue. It’s hard to do anything with the carbon dioxide in its air form, but if you could turn it into a solid you could transport it and reuse it for other purposes. So the goal of my research was to synthesize a solid salt that could capture carbon dioxide. In the end I was not successful, but I learned a lot from the diΩerent methods I tried. In fact, that’s the point: You’re not going to get results all the time, but you need to keep trying to find ways to achieve your goals. You have to learn about the diΩerent approaches other people have taken and then tweak them and make it your own. FYI/Fall 2013


Colin Ashwood ’13 Cedar Falls, Iowa Political Science/Religion & Service


I think of intellectual excellence as challenging the status quo. It’s not just about consuming as much knowledge as possible; it’s also about asking meaningful questions. At Elmhurst, my professors expected us to consider questions like, Why does what we’re learning matter? Do you agree with it? Is there information that conflicts with it? They also expected us to do the research to find out if our facts were correct and whether our opinions made sense. Part of intellectual excellence is figuring out what you believe and how to act on it. At Elmhurst I was always active in service projects like Partners for Peace and serving at soup kitchens. Those experiences, together with the classes I took, helped to establish my social justice beliefs and learn how to talk about them. I’ve always wanted to help people; now I can discuss philosophies of social justice. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m working for Teach for America, teaching kindergarten in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cleveland. I believe I can lay the groundwork for my students to get an education and get out of poverty. And I’m looking forward to making a diΩerence.

Emma Rieth ’14 Dayton, Ohio Physics

“It’s not just about consuming as much knowledge as possible; it’s also about asking meaningful questions.”

Before I came to Elmhurst, my academic focus was on grades—I wanted to get an A in every class. Here, academics is more about gaining deeper knowledge. It’s about the process of learning, not about memorizing facts. We learn how to figure things out and how to process information, so you can learn anything. If you forget the facts over time, you can get them back through the process of critical thinking. Over the past two summers I’ve done research with Professor Venkatesh Gopal on how rat whiskers move in response to airflow. He gives us a broad idea of what he wants us to achieve, then we fill in the details on our own. For example, my lab partner and I were assigned to set up two cameras to take simultaneous videos of the whisker movements. We started with nothing but the cameras in their boxes, and we figured out where to mount them, how to create a circuit and how to make the whole thing work. I’d never done anything like that before, and it gave me real pride of ownership. By the time I graduate, I hope to help write a paper about the project.


How does the College’s commitment to faith, meaning and values prepare its students for a changing world? Elmhurst president S. Alan Ray explains. The following conversation is condensed and edited from a series of interviews conducted over the past year. By Lorum Ipsum

FYI/Fall 2013


Photos: Genevieve Lee

A World of Ideas

The College’s robust speaker series attracts sell-out crowds and brings provocative thought leaders to campus. By Jonathan Black


driving rainstorm couldn’t keep the audience from Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, had come to Elmhurst on May

30 to deliver the Rudolf G. Schade lecture on History, Ethics and the Law, and the pews were packed. Dressed in bright blue, her voice sharp with conviction, the 83-year-old jurist launched into a rousing plea to protect a fundamental trust: our faith in unbiased judges. “Judicial impartiality is the most precious guarantee in the Constitution; it’s what sets our country apart,” she told the audience. In her 45-minute talk, she fumed against the election of state judges (“politicians in robes”) and relayed the surprise call from President Ronald Reagan in 1981 (“I’m putting your name into nomination tomorrow morning. I hope that’s all right.”). She shared anecdotes from her 25 years on the court and lamented the state of civics education in American classrooms. “More young people can identify the judges on American Idol than name two justices on the Supreme Court,” she said. “Two-thirds can’t name the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence—even though it’s right in the title!”




t the end of her lecture, the audience jumped to its feet and gave her a standing ovation, a fitting finale to a third consecutive year of standout speakers on campus. Elmhurst has a long tradition of importing high-profile visitors, a list that includes the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel and Maya Angelou. But there has not always been a sustained eΩort to bring in speakers with less cachet, partly from lack of confidence they would attract significant interest. That concern was laid to rest a decade ago when historian Robert Dallek marked the 40th anniversary of jfk’s assassination with a talk at Hammerschmidt—and 800 people showed up. “More than anything else, it was that event that showed us there was an audience for substantive discussion,” says Jim Winters, vice president for communications and public aΩairs at the College. “We realized this could take oΩ. We realized we could really do something here.” That impulse got a major boost from the school’s 2009–2014 Strategic Plan, launched and championed by Dr. S. Alan Ray soon after he was installed as Elmhurst’s new president in 2008. Ray strongly believed that the school needed to engage the community beyond the classroom and to promote the core values on which Elmhurst was founded. In keeping with that mission, the College inaugurated a series of exhibits, workshops and speakers on year-long themed topics such as the Poverty Project, Still Speaking: Conversations on Faith and the Democracy Forum. Each tapped a cluster of recognized experts, ranging from authors and artists to jurists, theologians and critics. Many of the events, like Sandra Day O’Connor’s, were instant sell-outs. Not a few resonated far beyond the campus. When the College sponsored a 2010 lecture series to celebrate the centennial of Reinhold Niebuhr’s graduation from Elmhurst, the Chicago Tribune published a piece by its Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic, Julia Keller. “Elmhurst College brought [Niebuhr] his first taste of the world of ideas,” wrote Keller. “It is only fitting, then, that Reinhold Niebuhr return the favor: He’s bringing the world to Elmhurst College.”

Bringing the world to Elmhurst was a boon for a small college in a quiet suburb. Major research universities (UIC and the University of Chicago, say) have built-in opportunities to promote their work and legacy. But Elmhurst, a small liberal arts college, has occasionally struggled to tout its unique quality of education to a wider audience. A key resource in sharpening the school’s identity during the strategic planning process was an article in the Harvard Business Review: “Building Brands without Mass Media.” The core of that strategy was a ramped-up focus on cultural programming and speakers. “I’m pleased, very pleased, with the success of our speaker series,” says President Ray today. “It’s raised the profile of the College, and it’s engaged both faculty and students in a new way. It also has helped people realize we’re a place that believes in civic engagement. As a college, we’re not monastic; we’ve always looked outward. We’re not hermetically sealed oΩ from the world. We believe the world has as much to teach our students as the classroom does.” The speakers who have come to Elmhurst reflect that diverse world and often champion causes that get only a nod in textbooks. Recent topics, for instance, have ranged from bans on same-sex marriage, to new perspectives on the Holocaust and Islam, to defenses of introversion and narcissism. “Some of our speakers are controversial, and that’s fine,” says Ray. “The criterion is that they’re leaders in their field and have a strong point of view to express.” The provocative message of some speakers has caught the attention of media. For example, wttw’s Chicago Tonight interviewed an unprecedented eight speakers from the College’s 2012–2013 roster. wbez did segments on neuroscientist Simon LeVay and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who worked for years as an undocumented immigrant. Judge Richard Posner’s comments about drug laws and legalizing marijuana prompted an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times and several other stories, some of which linked to the video of Posner’s lecture on the College’s website. Other news media, including Bloomberg News, Crain’s Chicago Business and The Hu≈ngton Post, have reported on Elmhurst speakers.

Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel is packed on a regular basis during the College’s Cultural Season.

“As a college, we’ve always looked outward. We believe the world has as much to teach our students as the classroom does.”

The Sunday New York Times ran a major feature on the Poverty Project, “Taking a Look at Poverty from an A√uent Suburb,” and the Chicago Tribune ran a 1,500-word piece on Sandra Day O’Connor’s visit and her campaign to stop the election of judges. Beyond the impact in print and on TV and radio, the speakers have galvanized interest on campus. The Poverty Project inspired students to form a Global Poverty Club and resulted in a series of essays on Chicago Public Radio, including one by President Ray and three by Elmhurst undergrads. An art student, Danielle Dobies, produced a series of portraits, “Faces of Sustenance,” based on numerous visits to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Faculty often assign a lecture as part of the year’s curriculum, and many speakers visit classes for informal discussion. Before her Hammerschmidt talk, O’Connor fielded an hour’s worth of questions from a select group of students and faculty in the Blume Board Room, providing a rare intimate look at the court’s stubbornly feisty icon. When one woman asked about the most memorable cases she presided over, O’Connor snapped, “I didn’t ‘preside’ over any cases—but I certainly participated!” Responding to another student who asked if she didn’t think the Roberts court had become “politicized,” O’Connor shot back, “I wouldn’t say so. Would you? And if so, why?” Implementing the Strategic Plan led to a number of other changes. Administratively, two separate departments were combined to form the O≈ce of Communications and Public AΩairs. Online media were given a new priority. Resources were shifted from expensive forms of Collegewide promotion, like billboards and bus advertising, to more targeted measures, such as the packaging and promotion of what became known as the Cultural Season. To publicize the speaker series, a lively brochure FYI/Fall 2013

was designed and inserted twice a year into copies of The New York Times and also mailed to local subscribers of The New Yorker and The Atlantic. That strategy not only drew a fresh audience to venues such as Hammerschmidt Chapel; it also proved an eΩective means of building the Elmhurst brand. “If we went into The New York Times with some ad about what a nice little school we are,” says Winters, “nobody would really care. But the Cultural Season got people’s attention. From a strategic point of view, it helped us position the College. It spoke to the core values of Elmhurst. It allowed us to express what the school stands for, whether it’s social justice or intellectual inquiry.” Best of all, with the support of a targeted endowment and a few gifts from external sources, Winters’s department was able to fund the entire Cultural Season with no additional budget dollars. And that included speakers’ fees, which topped out at a high end of $40,000. Most, however, cost a fraction of that figure. Many speakers, including O’Connor, agreed to appear without charge. The 2013–2014 Cultural Season promises to be every bit as exciting as the last few years. Famed historian Taylor Branch will speak on “The Shame of College Sports,” and journalist Peg Tyre on “The Trouble with Boys.” Other names include Richard Florida, Krista Tippett, Paul Vallas and Camille Paglia. As announced by Julia Keller, who will also speak next year, the world is indeed coming to Elmhurst College.


alumni catching up

Class Notes Let us hear from you! Send us a note to, 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


Jean Michaelis Hajek Pasco ’55 lives in Plainfield. She has 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Ed Momkus ’74 and his wife, Betsy Goltermann, received the Philanthropic Leadership Award given by the West Suburban Philanthropic Network. Presented at a luncheon in May, the award recognizes the couple’s dedicated support of Elmhurst College, where they have supported scholarships, Friends of the Arts, the Annual Fund, capital campaigns, Summer Extravaganza, Walk for Hope and more. In addition, Ed and Betsy are founding members of Elmhurst: College & Community. A member of the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees since 2002, Ed currently serves as vice chair of the board. He received the College’s Alumni Merit Award in 2006.

Rev. Dr. Richard L. Behringer ’64 won first place in the Black Hills Motorcycle Show, Sidecar Division. He continues to explore, hike and photograph wildlife in the national forest around Hill City, South Dakota. He serves on the board of directors for the South Dakota Conference of the United Church of Christ. Eric Gunnar Gibson ’67 has co-authored his first ebook, My Uncle Swears at God. The book tells the story of a man teaching life lessons to his niece and nephew while his own life is ebbing away. Jean (Tschudy) Whitcomb ’68 and her husband, Don, are retiring after 41 years at the First Congregational Church, ucc, of Paxton, Massachusetts, where Don served as pastor and Jean as minister of music and education. They leave behind a growing, debt-free church with a thriving Sunday school and youth ministry, four choirs, a new organ, hand chimes, and a remarkable church family. A surprise celebration of their ministry was held on May 5 at a standing-room-only worship service, followed by a dinner and retrospective skit attended by over 400. The Whitcombs will be retiring to Hermosa Beach, California, where they plan to “first sit down and do nothing” before embracing their new West Coast adventure.

1980s Dan Pompei ’82, a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune, won the 2013 Dick McCann Memorial Award for distinguished reporting. Sean McGinnis ’88 started his own business, 312 Digital, a full-service agency that helps small and mid-sized businesses thrive on the web. He has also been invited to teach an mba class on social media and digital marketing at Elmhurst College. 2000s Kathleen Willis ’00 was elected to the Illinois General Assembly on November 6, 2012. She represents the State's 77th Legislative District.

Cynthia Campbell ’01, ’05 has become vice president of financial empowerment at Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Anthony Minestra ’01, ’13 graduated from Elmhurst with an mba on June 1, 2013. Ben Ewert ’02 worked as a missionary in Thailand in April 2013. Roy Selvik ’03 was recently promoted to sergeant in the Addison Police Department. Roy is married to Jessica (Dotson) Selvik ’03. Jessica (Rice) Solares ’03 and Luis Solares ’03 recently opened a new business, Bucktown Music, which oΩers Kindermusik programs for children up to age 6 and music lessons for children and adults. In addition to running the business, the Solares family teaches music lessons at after-school programs in the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District. Pete Fominaya ’04 was named head football coach at Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida. John Dorhauer ’08 and his jazz big band, Heisenberg Uncertainty Players, released their debut CD in March 2013, Emergency Postcards. The CD features seven original works written by members of the group. Other alumni in the group include Keith Brooks ’10, Kelley Dorhauer ’08, Andrew Ecklund ’13, Adam Frank ’10, Tom Klein ’11, Jen Marshall ’11, Dan Parker ’10, Chris Parsons ’11 and Jenni Szczerbinski ’06.

To make a gift to Elmhurst College, go to

Why We Give

Photo: Roark Johnson


Leslie and Jim Kolkmeier Chicago, Illinois

FYI/Fall 2013


im Kolkmeier came to Elmhurst in 1959 from a farm in rural Missouri. Leslie Gooding’s family was living in Grenada, in the West Indies, when she enrolled in the College. At Elmhurst, the couple met and married—and found a welcome sense of belonging. “Both of our families were far away, so Elmhurst became home for us,” Leslie recalls. Leslie graduated in 1967 and went on to a varied career in health care. Jim, who left school for a job at United Airlines upon the couple’s marriage, worked his way into a role as a flight dispatcher at Southwest Airlines while building up a large cattle-farming operation. “Elmhurst prepared us for life by teaching us how to think,” says Jim. “I could not have done my job without the liberal arts education I received at Elmhurst.” “When I graduated I could have gone in any direction I wanted—because Elmhurst taught me the tools that would let me adapt,” Leslie adds. In retirement, the Kolkmeiers have reconnected with Elmhurst. Jim completed his Elmhurst degree in 2011 after taking one final course, and each year the couple contributes to the Annual Fund—giving Elmhurst the flexibility to apply their support where it is most needed. “Elmhurst is an important part of our lives,” Leslie notes. “If we want this model of education to continue to thrive, we have to support the College in any way that we can.”

alumni catching up


College Hosts Alumni Lunch in Iowa In April, a large group of Elmhurst College alumni gathered at the Mayflower community in Grinnell, Iowa, for a luncheon hosted by the College’s O≈ce of Development and Alumni Relations. Alumni representing the classes of 1953 through 1966 shared memories of their days on campus and spoke about the impact of their Elmhurst experiences and the lifelong friendships they made on campus. Elmhurst development o≈cers brought attendees up to date on campus news and spoke about key initiatives, including the planned expansion of the Schaible Science Center. Luncheon attendees included (standing, from left): Barbara (Otto) Franz ’57, Sandra (Waltz) Young ’58, Charles “Bud” Kniker ’58, Bob Anderson ’56, Lyle Kuehl ’58, Glenn Hunt ’66, Duane Meyer ’53. Seated: Dot (Suhre) Anderson ’58, Ruth (Nickelson) Dalenberg ’58, Judy (Groves) Kuehl ’58 and John Saxton ’57.

Brett Eldredge ’08, a country singer, performed as an opening act on Taylor Swift’s 2013 tour. Jennifer (Hameister) Praveen ’08 is pursuing a master’s degree in school psychology at National Louis University.

Lisa Johnson-McFarland ’08 left her account management position at Rexam Beverage Can Company in 2010 after more than 25 years to pursue her passion for music and ministry. She is currently at work on her first CD project. She is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church, where she sings in the choir, leads the Praise and Worship Team and serves as an event planner. Happily married to CliΩord McFarland, Lisa is the mother of two sons, Brandon (Miah) and Byron (Malisa), and the grandmother of four.

Births Gina (Riberto) Kaktis ’00 and her husband, Daniel Kaktis, welcomed their second baby girl, Reese Suzanne Kaktis, on May 28, 2013.

Matt Matkovich ’08 is a special services educator at Carl Sandburg High School, where he has worked since 2008. In partnership with another Sandburg teacher, he makes motivational presentations and videos directed at high school students. Their venture, M & P Presentations, was recently featured in the Southtown Star.

Erica Doolittle-Meyer Poremba ’04 and her husband, Mike Poremba, welcomed their first child, Riley Markay Poremba, on April 16, 2013.

Michael D. Eckhardt ’09 is among 78 new physicians who graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine on May 18, 2013. He began a pathology residency at the University of Chicago Medicine in July. 2010s Soofia Ahmed ’10 has recently joined the Lombard o≈ce of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Amanda Bonanotte ’10 is currently a thirdyear law student at Northern Illinois University, College of Law, where she is on the dean’s list and the vice president of women’s law caucus. She is working at a suburban litigation law firm as a law clerk. Benjamin Furman ’11 recently began a new career in culinary arts. Dane Ladwig ’12 published his first book, Piercing the Veils of Death, in January 2013. His next nonfiction true crime book, Dr. H. H. Holmes and the Whitechapel Ripper, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013. Dane has been invited to join seven of the world’s leading nonfiction true crime authors to collaborate on an anthology about serial killers, scheduled for publication in the winter of 2013. Liliana Gomez ’13 is pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Illinois State University.

Anthony Minestra ’01 and his wife, Kim, welcomed their daughter, Alexandra Jean Minestra, on May 29, 2013. Sara (Douglass) Born ’02 and her husband, John Born ’03, welcomed their second child, Rachel Douglass Born, on June 3, 2013.

Pete Fominaya ’04 and Patty (Kozor) Fominaya ’04 welcomed a daughter, Grace Noelle Fominaya, on December 20, 2011. Tom Herion ’04 and his wife, Nicole, welcomed a son in April 2013. Lisa (Bowers) Albright ’06 and her husband, Matthew, welcomed a son, Zachary Albright, on August 22, 2012. Nicole Lendi Kaminsky ’06 and her husband, Joshua Kaminsky ’07, welcomed their daughter, Hailey Grace Kaminsky, on April 16, 2013. Stella (Calamia) Thompson ’06 and her husband, Steven Thompson, welcomed their third son, Reese Jacob Thompson, on March 23, 2013. Dave Brechin ’07 and his wife, Nicole (Schuette) Brechin ’07, welcomed their daughter, Kinley Marie Brechin, on April 6, 2013. Maggie (Christiano) DiPaolo ’07 and her husband, Antonio DiPaolo, welcomed their first son, Antonio Attilio DiPaolo, on April 29, 2012. Brian Reid ’07 and his wife, Katie, welcomed a son, Caleb Michael Reid, on September 21, 2013. Mark Schwarz ’07 and Jenna (Vanderstappen) Schwarz ’08 welcomed a daughter, Nora Schwarz, on September 6, 2011, and a son, Joshua, on May 2, 2013. Sa’de Bryant Clark ’09 and her husband, Duane, welcomed a son, DJ, on April 4, 2013.

Ashley (Solecki) Guziec ’09 and her husband, Joshua, welcomed a son, Jacob Guziec, on June 13, 2013. Marriages Jordan Levine ’00 married Kelly Spryszak on June 9, 2013. Soulinhathep “Soulin” Sengsay ’98 was one of his groomsmen. Jeanne Brown ’05 married Paul Boutros on June 8, 2013. Lisa Bowers ’06 married Matthew Albright on July 11, 2008. Anne Marcell ’06 married Jarred Nordus ’08 on April 6, 2013. Maggie Christiano ’07 married Antonio DiPaolo on June 4, 2011. Jennifer Hameister ’08 married Kannan Praveen on July 8, 2012. Mark Schwarz ’07 married Jenna Vanderstappen ’08 on October 17, 2012. Sa’de Bryant ’09 married Duane Clark on December 27, 2011. Elizabeth Flood ’09 married Michael Grady on June 14, 2013. Jason Setsuda ’09 married Jenna Sokolowski on June 14, 2013. Antoinette Sotka ’09 married Adam Kelck on May 17, 2013. Bernardo Vazquez Jr. ’09 married Michelle Campolo ’11 on June 22, 2013. Matt Duntemann ’09 married Amanda Tikanpe on June 22, 2013. Frankie Gentile ’10 married Michelle Fuocco ’11 on February 16, 2013. Mike Hamblin ’10 married Jillian Jackson ’11 on April 6, 2013. Amanda Richardson ’10 married Joseph Peacock in March 2013. Katherine Rothlisberger ’10 married JeΩery Johnson on March 23, 2013. Mary Bross ’11 married Mitch Collins ’11 on June 1, 2013. FYI/Fall 2013

Daniel Bronge ’12 married Krissa Walsh on September 27, 2013. Alyssa Collins ’13 married Manuel Moreno on June 9, 2013. Deaths John T. “Ted” Braun ’43, of Langley, Washington, on March 6, 2013. Beverle Centner ’46, of Oak Park, on March 20, 2013.


LaVern J. Anderson ’48, of Mascoutah, on February 4, 2013. David W. Menzel ’49, of BuΩalo, New York, on April 17, 2013.

Legacy Family Donates Trophy Replica

Charles R. Minegar Jr. ’50, of Elkhart, Indiana, on February 15, 2013.

In December 2012, Elmhurst running back Scottie Williams ’13 won the Gagliardi Trophy, the most prestigious award in Division iii football. In April 2013, Ron Vincent ’82 and his family donated a replica of the trophy to the College to display on campus, where it serves as a visual symbol of a remarkable achievement for an athlete, a team, a department and an institution. The Vincent family shares a remarkable Elmhurst legacy. Ron and his wife, Juliann, both graduated from the College in 1982. Two of their children are also alumni—LoriAnn ’09 and Eric ’13—and their youngest child, Shane, started his Bluejay career in the fall of 2013.

Frank W. Foster Jr. ’51, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 20, 2013. Catherine “Kay” (Floros) Stavropoulos ’51, of North Riverside, on February 11, 2013. Ralph W. Bonner ’54, of East Lansing, Michigan, on May 24, 2013. Marjorie “Margie” (Malott) Nealy ’55, of St. Cloud, Minnesota, on February 7, 2013. Shirley Ann (Klein) Scott ’55, of Glen Ellyn, on May 31, 2013. Eva M. (Lowe) Thayer ’56, of Madison, Indiana, on June 3, 2013. Mary Beth (Gerspacher) Klaus ’59, of Washington, on May 1, 2013. Wesley Poor ’62, of Wheaton, on February 8, 2013.

Margaret L. Carter ’72, of Park Forest, on March 11, 2013.

Leonora E. Fladung ’66, of Yorkville, on April 8, 2013.

Rev. Robert E. Hatfield ’73, of Lombard, on February 5, 2012.

Roger E. Rumpf ’66, of Warrensburg, Missouri, on April 9, 2013.

Gary W. Link ’73, of Grand Junction, Colorado, on April 4, 2013.

Nancy A. Blankenship ’67, of Elmhurst, on April 18, 2013.s

Ronald W. Nelson ’74, of Plainfield, on March 15, 2013.

Edna L. WagstaΩ ’70, of Anaheim, California, on February 7, 2013.

Karola “Kari” (Lederer) Schoppe ’85, of DeKalb, on February 7, 2013.

Robert A. Breidenbaugh ’72, of Elmhurst, on February 12, 2013.

Timothy F. Lyons Jr. ’88, of Willow Springs, on February 2, 2013.

To learn more about how you can get involved at Elmhurst, go to

Why I Volunteer

Photo: Roark Johnson


Dick Smith ’73 Oak Brook, Illinois


entors can have an incredible impact if students are eager to learn and take advantage of the opportunity. There can be great benefit for students in hanging out with a seasoned professional, someone who has been there and done that. I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and learning from mentors like [Associate Professor] Terry Madoch at Elmhurst gave me the courage to believe that I could achieve anything I could dream. I’m not prescriptive with students. I don’t tell them what to do. It’s more Socratic—I ask them what their dreams are, what interests them, what they like to do, what motivates them. It’s all about finding their passion. I think of myself as a lifelong learner, and I learn a lot from the students I mentor. It’s very rewarding. If I can enhance someone else’s life, that enhances my own life. That’s a great feeling and I believe it’s a noble cause. That’s my way of leaving some footprints in the sand. Dick Smith is a local chair with Vistage, a provider of professionally facilitated peer advisory groups, and president of Communivisions, a corporate communications/event consulting business. At Elmhurst, he has mentored students through the Center for Professional Excellence and serves as a member of the College’s scholarship dinner committee.

fyi in this issue



02 WHAT’S NEW ON CAMPUS Learning to Lead Plus: A grant from the NSF supports students in math and science, the College honors alumni and faculty, a new regional alumni club launches, and more.



12 THE SPORTS PAGES Wrestlers Make History The Bluejays wrapped up a phenomenal season with a national second-place finish and five All-America winners.


Gifts to the Elmhurst College Annual Fund support everything from scholarships and financial aid to outstanding faculty and academic programs. And every gift makes a difference, regardless of the amount. In fact, gifts under $100 account for 80 percent of the Elmhurst College Annual Fund.

14 PROFILE A Huge Help In 30 years as an Elmhurst trustee, Ralph Lundgren has seen higher education change—but his commitment to the College remains constant. 18 ACADEMIC LIFE Showing Their Stuff The annual Research and Performance Showcase celebrates the intellectual and creative life of the campus.

To give by phone, call (866) 794-1075. To give online, go to Or you can mail your gift to Elmhurst College, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst, Illinois 60126.


24 FACE TO FACE Expecting Great Things Alzada Tipton, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, talks about the intellectual experience at Elmhurst. 28 IN THE NEWS The Meanings of Student Success Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, writes about liberal learning and the Elmhurst Experience. 32 STUDENT FOCUS The Spirit of Inquiry Students talk about how the College’s commitment to intellectual excellence plays out in the classroom, the lab and beyond.

Cover photo: Roark Johnson

32 40 ON CAMPUS A World of Ideas The College’s robust speaker series attracts sell-out crowds and brings provocative thought leaders to campus. 44 CLASS NOTES Where Are They Now? Find out how your classmates are advancing in their careers and serving their communities.

elmhurst college alumni news fall 2013 O≈ce of Alumni Relations 190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296

events the fall season

Mark Your Calendar The Trouble with Boys Tuesday, October 8 Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Peg Tyre talks about why boys have become the new academic underdogs. Frick Center, Founders Lounge, 7:00 p.m. General admission $10

Inside the Vatican Tuesday, October 29 John Thavis, author of the best-selling book The Vatican Diaries, oΩers a behindthe-scenes look at the power, personalities and politics at the epicenter of the Catholic Church. Frick Center, Founders Lounge, 7:00 p.m. General admission $10

What Roger Ebert Meant to Us Sunday, November 10 Roger Ebert was the most famous movie critic of his generation, and one of the most respected. Seven months after Ebert’s death, we’ll consider his legacy and life with a panel that includes Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, Neil Steinberg of the Sun-Times and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Ebert Presents at the Movies. The moderator is Rick Kogan, a veteran of the Chicago Daily News, Sun-Times and Tribune. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20

elmhurst college alumni news fall 2013

The Shame of College Sports Thursday, October 10 Journalist Taylor Branch outlines the problems inherent in the structure of college sports, in which athletes generate billions of dollars for big universities while earning nothing for themselves. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20 Sponsored in part by BMO Harris Bank

Technology: The Passport to Personalized Education Tuesday, October 22 Daphne Koller, Stanford professor and cofounder of Coursera, discusses technology’s potential to improve learning outcomes, lower costs and increase access to education. Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 7:00 p.m. General admission $20

For a full list, visit us at You also can follow us on or

The Life oF the mind

The College’s commitment to academic freedom, rigorous debate and creative inquiry plays out in classrooms and activities on campus and beyond.

FYI Magazine Fall 2013  
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