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elmhurst college alumni news spring 2012

HIS CALL TO SERVE After surviving the 2010 Haiti earthquake, missionary Patrick Bentrott ’02 vows to continue working for humanitarian relief.

fyi in this issue

02 WHAT’S NEW ON CAMPUS Science in the Spotlight Spring brings the Science Talks lecture series, the lights go on at Langhorst and the St. Louis alumni club is launched. 06 GIVING BACK For the Greater Good Three alumni dedicate their careers to serving society, continuing an Elmhurst tradition that dates to the College’s origin as a seminary.

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08 HOMECOMING Golden Memories Members of the Fifty-Year Club and Elmhurst students find common ground during Homecoming weekend. 10 COVER STORY His Call to Serve After surviving the 2010 Haiti earthquake, missionary Patrick Bentrott ’02 vows to continue working for humanitarian relief. 14 CLASS NOTES Where Are They Now? Find out how your classmates are advancing in their careers and how they’re serving their communities. 2 19 WHY I GIVE Meet Vy Hansen ’53, a former nurse who has used a life insurance policy to fund the Violet Meyer Hansen Endowed Scholarship Fund. 20 OFFICE HOURS The Lessons of Jamaica Professor Judy Grimes’ popular January Term music education course in Jamaica changes lives in Montego Bay and Elmhurst.


A Tradition of Service Fellow Alumni and Alumnae, Elmhurst College has a long, proud history of producing graduates who devote their lives and careers to making the world a better place. Starting with Elmhurst’s founding as a seminary, the College has graduated a remarkable number of leaders in service professions such as ministry, teaching, nursing and social services. Today, service remains an integral component of the Elmhurst curriculum. In the Chicago area and across the world, our students feed the homeless, build houses in storm-ravaged communities, tutor underserved children, organize worship services and a lot more. For students, these experiences are rewarding, inspiring—and life changing. This issue of FYI tells the stories of several Elmhurst alumni who have pursued serviceoriented careers, including Patrick Bentrott ’02, who was working as a UCC missionary in Haiti when the 2010 earthquake struck, and Rebecca Christiansen ’95, who launched a nonprofit that serves children with disabilities. We also bring you recent campus news, a conversation with music professor Judy Grimes about her students’ service in Jamaica and notes from your classmates. I hope these stories will inspire you to get involved with your own community, and to reconnect with your alma mater. From mentoring a current student to helping us identify new students who would benefit from the Elmhurst Experience, there are many ways you can make a difference at Elmhurst and beyond. Wishing you the best, Sara (Douglass) Born ’02 Alumni Association President PS: Visit to start reconnecting with the College!

Alumni Association President Sara (Douglass) Born ’02 Members of the Board Cathryn Biga ’98, Sarah (Kiefer) Clarin ’04, E.J. Donaghey ’88, Tom DuFore ’04, Michael Durnil ’71, Heather Forster ’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 Samantha Kiley ’07 Assistant Directors of Alumni Relations Monica Lindblom, Beverley (McNulty) Krohn ’10 Secretary Pam Savino Office of Alumni Relations (630) 617-3600, Editor Judith Crown Contributing Editor Margaret Currie Design Director Marcel Maas Creative Manager Sara Ramseth

what’s new at elmhurst

Don’t Miss the Spring Cultural Season We’ll explore memory, weather, cancer and the problems and promise of democracy.

Joshua Foer, Heidi Cullen and Siddhartha Mukherjee will speak as part of the Science Talks lecture series.

This spring, Elmhurst College will continue its Science Talks series with lectures on the nature of memory, the history of diagnosing and treating cancer, and climate change. Last fall, the College kicked off the series with a presentation on the promise of green chemistry. The technology to produce environmentally friendly, sustainable products exists today, but Americans first need to reject the absurd notion that hazardous materials need be part of their daily lives, Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency said in an October 6 lecture. “The fact that we accept this absurdity when we have the power to change that reality is something we



need to step back from and reflect on,” Anastas said. Upcoming Science Talks speakers are journalist Joshua Foer, who will discuss the nature of memory on February 16; cancer specialist and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee, who will present his work on the history of diagnosing and treating cancer on February 19; and researcher Heidi Cullen, who will discuss changing weather patterns on March 1. As the nation’s presidential contest unfolds this spring, Elmhurst continues its Democracy Forum series with examinations of how reform can promote access to higher education and the quest to balance democracy and global security. During the fall, the College hosted professor and best-selling author

Michael Eric Dyson, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author Jon Meacham, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Chicago civic leader Gery Chico. On October 20, social activist Naomi Wolf warned that the nation’s preoccupation with national security is eroding constitutional rights and dispensed practical advice for would-be activists and protesters. “It’s all good when citizens start to organize,” she said. “I am excited to see Americans acting like Americans again. That’s how citizens are supposed to behave, demanding transparency and asking questions.” Upcoming Democracy Forum speakers are English professor Louis Menand, who will discuss reform in higher education on March 15; national

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security analyst KT McFarland, who will present Democracy and Global Security on April 12; and Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Bob Woodward, who will discuss Truth and Justice in America with a longtime friend, William J. Bauer ’49, senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Volunteer, Mercy Home Win Leadership Awards One of Chicago’s oldest service organizations for young people and an Elmhurst resident who delivers emergency aid to global disaster zones will receive Elmhurst College’s third annual Leadership Awards. The College will present the awards to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and to Mark Dyer, a volunteer with ShelterBox International, on March 17, during Elmhurst’s annual Evening for Scholarships gala, which raises funds for student financial aid. The annual Leadership Awards honor an organization that makes a significant impact on the community and an individual who embodies the values of the College. Mercy Home, founded in 1887, offers full-time residential care, mentoring and other support for young people suffering from abuse, neglect, abandonment and poverty. It provides academic, vocational and therapeutic services for more than 600 young people each year, giving them “the opportunity to rebuild their lives and realize their dreams.” Dyer began volunteering with ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity specializing in providing emergency shelter, in 2007. ShelterBox delivers emergency supplies to families affected by natural disasters and other calamities. Each of its signature green boxes contains essential equipment—a tent, stove, blankets, water purification equipment and tools—for people left homeless or displaced. Dyer, a business consultant and former owner of an

advertising and marketing firm, has represented the organization on humanitarian missions in Niger, Somalia, Haiti and Colombia. The March 17 event at the Frick Center begins with a 6:00 p.m. reception and continues with dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at $175 per person or $2,000 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities also are available. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (630) 617-3607.

New Development Chief in Gear Joseph R. Emmick has started in his new position as vice president for development and alumni relations at the College. An accomplished senior development officer, Emmick launched and led record-setting campaigns during a 14-year career at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. At Elmhurst, Emmick will lead a team of 22 advancement professionals who are responsible for generating ever-increasing levels of philanthropic support for the College, a crucial task as Elmhurst pursues its ambitious

Science and Health Initiative and seeks scholarship and other funds to support its students and advance its academic enterprise. During Emmick’s tenure as dean for college advancement at Wabash, the college recorded its four highestever annual fund totals. A comprehensive capital initiative, the Campaign for Leadership, raised $136 million for scholarships, programs and facilities. A subsequent initiative, the Challenge of Excellence, raised nearly $43 million in gifts and pledges for scholarships, faculty development and career development programs. “Our Strategic Plan calls on us to accomplish ambitious financial goals and extend our network of alumni and alumnae throughout the country,” said President S. Alan Ray. “Joe Emmick has the personal and professional qualities and experience to achieve those goals and more.” Meg Howes, who served as the College’s interim chief development and alumni relations officer since March 2011, has been promoted to executive director of individual and principal gifts.

Joseph R. Emmick led record-setting campaigns during 14 years at Wabash College.



what’s new at elmhurst

Langhorst Field boasts new lights and field turf, and the LGBT Guestship is named in honor of William R. Johnson ’68.

The Lights Go On at Langhorst The Bluejay football and soccer teams played their first games under the lights at Langhorst Field during the fall. Along with new field turf, the lights also pave the way for the start of varsity men’s and women’s lacrosse over the next few years. The College’s new men’s lacrosse coach, Andrew Geison, has begun recruiting for the new team, which will begin its first season in spring 2013. The women’s team is slated to debut in 2015. Geison was hired from DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where he spent four seasons as head coach. At DeSales, his players garnered seven allconference and two all-region awards, and his teams hold five single-season institutional records. In his second season, Geison guided the Bulldogs to their first Middle Atlantic Conference Playoff appearance. The Bluejays will compete in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference, which comprises nine schools from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. The league will expand to 14 members in the 2013 season. Paul Krohn, director of intercollegiate athletics, knew that field improvements were needed before the lacrosse team could play a varsity contest, and the College was quick to act. The permanent lights, a gift of the late



Hal Pendexter, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees, were installed during the summer. The old artificial playing surface, which dated to 2002, was replaced with state-of-the-art FieldTurf, which is used by 21 NFL teams for games, practices or both. The new turf is expected to last 10 years. “The permanent lights and new playing surface make Langhorst Field an even greater asset to our athletic teams,” Krohn said. “We have a lot of opportunities to accommodate our teams at new times, and we have a field ready for the start of lacrosse.”

LGBT Guestship Named For Alumnus Bill Johnson William R. Johnson ’68, who made history as the first openly gay person to be ordained by a mainstream Christian church, was honored on October 11 as the College inaugurated the William R. Johnson Guestship, formerly called the LGBT Guestship. President S. Alan Ray presented Johnson, vice president of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ, with an honorary plaque. The two men then conducted a conversation on Christian theology and the LGBT community with Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt, president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, and Dr. Riess Potterveld, president of Pacific School

of Religion in Berkeley, California, where Johnson attended seminary after graduating from Elmhurst. The Guestship lecture was delivered the following afternoon by author Michael Schiavi, who discussed the life of the gay activist Vito Russo. The lecture came as the College drew national attention for being the first academic institution in the nation to ask an optional question on sexual identity on its application. The question reflects the College’s commitment to diversity and is meant to let LGBT students know that they will find the resources and welcoming environment at Elmhurst that will enable them to succeed.

Founders Medal Awarded to Three Alumni Elmhurst College awarded one of its highest honors to three alumni whose academic lives at Elmhurst prepared them to dedicate their professional lives to helping others. During the President’s Appreciation Dinner on December 4, the College awarded the 2011 Founders Medal to lifelong educators Dr. William F. Fraccaro ’70 and Joyce (Ferlazzo) Fraccaro ’70, and to Dr. Richard Nyako ’67, a neurologist who established a medical clinic in his native Ghana to serve people with limited access to care.

The Elmhurst Club of St. Louis is launched; and Alumni Richard Nyako ’67, left and William Fraccaro ’70 and Joyce (Ferlazzo) Fraccaro ’70 are awarded the Founders Medal.

The Founders Medal was established in 1978 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through service to the College. William Fraccaro had a distinguished career as a teacher and administrator, specializing in math and science. Since his retirement in 2004, he has worked as an educational consultant and serves as a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at the College. He received the College’s Alumni Merit Award in 2009. Joyce Fraccaro majored in speech pathology at Elmhurst and continues to work as an elementary school speechlanguage pathologist. The Fraccaros are members of the President’s Society and Meusch Society and have contributed to the Health and Science Initiative, which supports the new science center. They have established two Light of Knowledge scholarships for Elmhurst students. After practicing in clinics and hospitals around Chicago, Nyako established a neurology practice in Tampa, Florida, where he also supported free clinics and treated elderly and lowincome patients. In 1992, he returned to Ghana and launched a foundation that supports hospitals in Ghana and Tampa, and later opened a neurology clinic. Nyako has extended his generosity to the College as well, creating the Foreign Student Scholarship Fund to support students majoring in math and science. He received an honorary

doctor of science degree from Elmhurst in 2008.

Alumni Office Launches St. Louis Club The Office of Alumni Relations recently started the Elmhurst Club of St. Louis, the first of a series of regional clubs to be established around the country. More than 40 alumni joined President S. Alan Ray and members of the College’s development and alumni relations team for the inaugural reception on November 2 at the Hilton St. Louis Airport hotel. The Elmhurst College Jazz Band and the vocal jazz ensemble Late Night Blues performed some of their most popular numbers. During the past two years, members of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations have hosted events in cities that have a high concentration of Elmhurst graduates. The office plans to start regional clubs in a number of cities that will be led by alumni volunteers. The second regional organization, the Elmhurst Club of Chicago, will hold its inaugural event this fall.

College Begins Partnership in Journalism Education

will ensure their financial stability and future, media experts concluded in a panel discussion at the College on October 24. Panelists from two start-up, nonprofit news organizations discussed journalism in the 21st century, painting a bleak picture of the current state of traditional print media. But they told a Frick Center audience of more than 100 that good journalism is essential in order for society to make informed decisions. The panel discussion was the kickoff event of a two-year partnership between the College and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C., to explore and teach new communication technologies and in-depth international reporting. The panelists were James O’Shea, editor and co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative, former editor of the Los Angeles Times and former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune; Tom Hundley, senior editor at the Pulitzer Center; and Maura Youngman, the Pulitzer Center’s new media strategist. Journalism students and professors from Elmhurst and a half dozen other Chicago-area colleges participated in two days of workshops, seminars and lectures.

Newspapers and other traditional news organizations should embrace social media as a valuable resource, but they need to find a new business model that



alumni pursuits

For the Greater Good Meet alumni who have made an impact in technology, economic development and helping families with disabled children.

ebecca Christiansen ’95 long thought that her mission was helping people through nursing, but found another calling that has proved even more satisfying. Christiansen is the founder of Celebrate Differences, a nonprofit organization based in Oswego, Illinois, that helps families of children with disabilities. Dan Zarlenga ’10 had his sights set on a lucrative Wall Street career when he arrived at Elmhurst, but now he helps raise money for economic development in poor countries. Ruth (Nickelson) Dalenberg ’61 enjoyed school from the time she started first grade, but it took a nudge from an Elmhurst dean for her to realize she was destined to be a teacher. Although each has taken a different path, the three share a common goal of serving society, an Elmhurst tradition that dates to the College’s beginnings in 1871 as a seminary. Over the years, an extraordinary number of Elmhurst




graduates have pursued service-oriented careers such as teaching, ministry, nursing and social work. “I want to make a difference,” Christiansen says. “My husband tells me I can’t change the world. But I say, ‘I’m going to try.’” Christiansen has a 7-year-old son with Down syndrome, a condition that put her in contact with parents of other children with disabilities. In 2007, she launched Celebrate Differences to provide a strong support network for that community. “Society has come a long way in accepting those with disabilities, but there still are people out there who aren’t really accepting,” Christiansen says. Celebrate Differences provides free programs for families, including monthly workshops for parents on how to ensure their children receive the services they need in the public school system, such as physical therapy, counseling and special equipment.

The organization raises money through donations, grants and fundraising events, such as a 5K run/walk. Christiansen, who has worked as a nurse for 15 years, has continued her day job to help support her family. But she devotes an increasing amount of time and energy to her volunteer role at Celebrate Differences. Her reward, she says, is seeing how the organization impacts the lives of children with disabilities and their families. “Just to see the smile on a kid’s face is a huge reward for me,” Christiansen says. “I can see that we’re making a difference.” Unlike Christiansen, Zarlenga didn’t start college with a service career in mind. He transferred to Elmhurst as a finance major after completing his first two years at Oakton Community College. “My aspiration was to go into the financial world, be a stock broker or portfolio manager and makes lots of money,” he says.

To find out how you can volunteer, go to and click on Get Involved.

Although each has taken a different path, the three alumni share a common goal of serving society, an Elmhurst tradition that dates to the College’s beginnings in 1871 as a seminary.

But that started to change in the middle of his junior year. “I started to realize I didn’t go to college just to make more money. I was looking for a career that would make me happy,” he says. What he terms “a pivotal moment” occurred in fall 2008, when after attending a speech on economic development and poverty, Zarlenga heard another student say that she wished she could do something but didn’t think she could have much impact as a college student. That, Zarlenga recalls, inspired him to start the Global Poverty Club at Elmhurst, first by recruiting friends and then spreading the word around campus to attract more than 20 members. The group, which is still active, focuses on finding solutions to poverty at the local level and beyond. For example, the group raised money to make small loans of as little as $25 through the micro-lending web site, which connects individual lenders to low-income entrepreneurs around the world. The group raised nearly $15,000 for various causes during Zarlenga’s last year and a half at Elmhurst. Since graduation, Zarlenga has worked as a researcher identifying potential donors for Opportunity International, an Oak Brook nonprofit that provides funding and financial services for entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries. Zarlenga says he doesn’t know his ultimate destination, but he believes wherever he goes he will continue to serve others. “Many people eventually

realize that they get the most fulfillment out of doing things that they are passionate about and enable them to give back,” he says. “I feel fortunate and blessed that I came to that realization early in my life.” Like Zarlenga, Dalenberg didn’t plan a service career when she started at Elmhurst. In fact, she didn’t give much thought to careers at all until her sophomore year when a dean, Genevieve Staudt, asked her about her career path. That gentle probe got her thinking about how much she enjoyed English courses and being in the classroom as a student. A career in teaching seemed a natural fit. “I always found joy in thinking, reasoning and questioning. I loved language, and that pushed me toward teaching,” she said. “Once I was in it, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I had no desire to be an administrator. There’s too much distance from the students, and I wanted to be in the classroom.” Dalenberg taught high school English and Advanced Placement literature and composition classes at Maine West High School in Des Plaines and Antioch Community High School in Antioch, Illinois. She also evaluated essays from Advanced Placement tests for the College Board for more than 20 years. In 1987 she won a Golden Apple Award, a prestigious honor given annually to 10 outstanding teachers in the Chicago area by what is now the Golden Apple Foundation. She also won an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Jaycees and two similar

awards from the University of Chicago after being nominated by former students. Though she appreciated such recognition, Dalenberg said her highest reward came from the growth and development she saw in her students, a number of whom went on to become doctors, teachers and engineers. “You’re always dealing with an unfinished product when students move on, but sometimes you get to see what they become,” she said. “It is a true profession, and it is going to grab your whole mind, heart and soul. The rewards are going to be with the people who sit in front of you every day.” She retired from teaching high school English in 1994, but Dalenberg couldn’t stay away from the classroom. She taught as an adjunct professor at Elmhurst and at Concordia College in River Forest for seven years. “I loved it, and I still miss it,” she said. “It’s the highest calling. Doctors, policemen and firemen save lives. Teachers change them.” by Rick Popely

From left, Rebecca Christiansen with her children Isabelle and Kyle; Dan Zarlenga; and Ruth Dalenberg.



For more coverage of Homecoming 2011, go to

campus focus homecoming

Golden Memories Members of the Fifty-Year Club and Elmhurst students find common ground.


t was a classic, yet creative college prank. George Tormohlen, Tom Sawyer, both Class of ’61, and two of their dorm mates decided to hijack a mannequin from the local Grant’s department store and place it in the bed of an unsuspecting friend as a bedtime surprise. The foursome successfully snatched the mannequin from Grant’s, but they were caught by the Elmhurst police before making it back to campus in their getaway car. Hauled off to the local jail, they awaited their fate behind bars for three hours. The Elmhurst dean who was called to the station to retrieve the students said for all he cared, the police could keep them there. But the powers-that-be at the department store intervened, granting the miscreants a reprieve. “We had some great times,” Sawyer recalled during a tea for members of the Class of 1961 celebrating their 50-year reunion on the Friday afternoon of Homecoming 2011 in October. “We




were a close-knit group of guys, and there was a lot of razzing going on. All good natured, of course.” Sawyer, a retired professor of social work who lives in Pueblo, Colorado, was no stranger to on-campus teasing, given his literary namesake. (He is no relation to Elmhurst psychology professor Tom Sawyer.) Tormohlen, his partner in mischief, is a retired minister from Prairie Village, Kansas. The weekend’s festivities brought 40 members of the Class of ’61 to campus. Nine members of the class organized the program: John Bock of Elmore, Ohio; Joyce Chum Carey of Oak Park; David Kniker of Kewanee; Ron Koeppl of Geneva; Charlie Kreichelt of Lombard; Richard Lammert of Enfield, New Hampshire; Marlene Dettmer Peaslee of Lombard; Richard Schnelle of Louisville, Kentucky; and Gail Schreiber of San Diego, California. Hearing tales from the past impressed Elmhurst students at the tea, which was held at the home of Chaplain

H. Scott Matheney. “It makes you realize that you’re part of this rich tradition and how important it is to stay tied to this college, to stay connected,” said Chris Poulakos ’12, a psychology major from Glen Ellyn. To ensure that current and future generations of Elmhurst students continue to stay connected, Poulakos and a few other undergraduates are working with the Office of Alumni Relations to launch the Student Alumni Association. The group aims to generate school spirit among today’s students in the hope that the ties forged with Elmhurst will continue after graduation. “Elmhurst is a small school where everyone reaches out to make sure you feel comfortable and at home,” Poulakos said. “That happens while you’re here and should continue after you leave.” Beverley (McNulty) Krohn ’10, assistant director of alumni relations, said the time is right for such a group. “This College has such rich traditions and a

A New Perspective on My Life

strong culture of pride,” she said. “At the end of your freshman year, you’re considered an alum and you forever belong to the Elmhurst College community. This group aims to foster that sense of belonging.” For the moment, the Office of Alumni Relations is gauging interest in the group among current students and organizing events such as on-campus Spirit Days. In the future, Krohn would like the group to expand its scope and develop a philanthropic arm. “Many students here benefit from the philanthropy of others,” she said. “For this to continue, we must pay it forward to future generations of students, just as those who graduated some 50 years ago are doing.” Back at the tea, Tormohlen and Sawyer recalled that as part of the plot, they had planned to somehow send the mannequin up a flagpole, although they had never nailed down how they would pull that off. After hearing the reason for the mannequin’s abduction, the Grant’s representative said the students could keep it for the weekend. By then, however, the four undergrads had tired of the escapade. Besides, the Backwards Dance (where women invited men) was that evening, and each had a date waiting on campus.

by Deborah Silver

Above left, members of the Class of 1961 gathered for their 50th reunion during Homecoming weekend in October.

David Kniker ’61, longtime minister of the United Church of Christ in Kewanee, Illinois, said Elmhurst set him on the path that would become his lifelong career and passion. In an interview at the reunion tea during Homecoming weekend, Kniker said that initially he had no interest in following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both ministers. He entered Elmhurst planning to stay only two years, obtain a liberal arts education and then head to an Illinois state school to earn a degree in electrical engineering. But his experience at Elmhurst changed everything. “The influence of the culture and values here changed my mind, and I began to realize that the ministry was where I wanted to be,” he recalled. “I credit Elmhurst with giving me a new perspective on my life. How wonderful it would be to be able to do that for future generations.”

An Opportunity to Stir the Pot John Sallstrom ’61, retired professor of philosophy and religion at Georgia College & State University, recalled his stint as editor of the student newspaper, The Elm Bark (now The Leader), where he was given free rein to write a column, “The Gadfly.” The column was inspired by the Greek philosopher Socrates, who considered himself a gadfly, or someone who liked to stir the pot. Sallstrom said in an interview at the Homecoming tea that he aimed to do just that. In one column, “Let Mediocrity Triumph,” he extolled the virtue of being unexceptional, a tongue-in-cheek attempt to push his fellow students toward excellence. Sallstrom, a history major who got hooked on philosophy, also had the opportunity to lead chapel services. “You didn’t have to have your talk approved,” he said. “The only criteria were to speak openly, thoughtfully and honestly.”

Top, David Kniker ’61 with his wife Carolyn; below, John Sallstrom ’61 talks with Christopher Poulakos ’12, a member of the newly formed Student Alumni Association.



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A Lesson in

Photo credit: Chris Schneider Patrick Bentrott's years at Elmhurst cemented his commitment to help the needy. 10


To see a video of Patrick Bentrott’s work in Haiti, go to

the Fragility of Life Missionary Patrick Bentrott ’02 witnessed death and destruction during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but found a loving and resilient people. By Jonathan Black

career devoted to service rarely forms in one fell swoop. Invariably it’s a process, developing over time. For many, the crucible of college plays a critical role in the direction and passion that shape such a life. This was true for Patrick Bentrott ’02, who first considered Elmhurst after high school but opted for Illinois State University. As an underclassman, Bentrott recalls himself as “shallow and superficial,” with little direction. “Shockingly,” he says with a laugh, “this ended up being less than fulfilling.” Abandoning Illinois State after two years, he visited Elmhurst and interviewed with Professor Paul Parker, chair of the Department of Religious Studies, who was not impressed. “He was a dropout, unfocused, an unformed person who worshipped at Lord Mattress,” remembers Parker with characteristic bluntness, referring to Bentrott’s penchant for sleeping late. Unwilling to waste more time at college, Bentrott took a year off and found a job in Washington, D.C., at Christ House, a 32-bed medical facility for the homeless. The notion of service had been percolating since high school, when his United Church of Christ youth group traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to serve the poor in soup kitchens. Working at Christ House reawakened that sense of purpose. “My time in D.C. was phenomenal. I discovered I was really comfortable with people from radically different backgrounds than myself,” he says. “I felt my call to the ministry—not to Christianity or the church, but to being in solidarity with populations who have struggled for a voice in an unjust world.” He returned to Elmhurst to pursue a degree in theology and the ministry—and this time Parker saw a changed man:


“He’d found a way to provide succor to the world’s needs, a way to have theology help the world.” Bentrott, for his part, singles out Parker as a key influence on campus: “He was an amazing person, he rocked my boat.” Parker, he adds, encouraged him to focus on his studies and helped him find opportunities for service. He found those opportunities in Chicago, where he was granted course credit for an internship at The Night Ministry, a non-denominational, faith-based outreach group for the city’s most vulnerable populations. He found them in India, thanks to Elmhurst connections, where he spent a senior term at Mother Teresa’s hospice in Calcutta. Bentrott returned to Elmhurst committed to service, and joined in the planning for the Niebuhr Center, which offers internships and programs for students exploring a career in service or ministry. Nancy Lee, professor of religious studies and the Center’s founding director, remembers Bentrott at meetings as “an inspiration. He had great ideas and wanted to find new opportunities.” Seven years after he graduated, he found those opportunities again in Haiti. Hugely rewarding in some ways, his time there turned traumatic, because he was working as a missionary at a Port-au-Prince school when the island nation was hit by a massive earthquake on January 12, 2010. “It’s something I’ll process my entire life,” he says. “The amount of death and damage and injury that can take place in 45 seconds is simply mind-boggling. I saw tens of thousands of people crushed like ants. It drove home how fragile life is. I don’t say every moment’s a blessing—something flowery like that. But we need to live every moment, be intentional with our lives. Because profound tragedy is possible any time.” ALUMNI NEWS


cover story

is path to Haiti and his subsequent commitment to helping that nation recover say a great deal about Bentrott’s devotion to service, especially since he was not born into missionary work. He grew up in a tiny town, population 6,000, in rural Iowa. His father was a banker, his mother a school nurse. Both were members of the UCC, though Bentrott’s own ties are more philosophical than Sunday-morning religious. He remains drawn to the church, he says, for its “commitment to social justice, its lack of dogma and its recognition of ministry beyond parish ministry.” Elmhurst cemented those ties to the UCC—and more. He remembers with delight a basic chemistry class in which students went to elementary schools to help with science experiments: “I hated science and was horrible at it—but I loved that class!” After graduating from Elmhurst, he joined his fiancée Kim Dunback in Kansas City, where she was attending medical school. They married the following year, and he found a job working with children suffering from mental illness and behavioral problems. The couple subsequently moved to Denver, where Bentrott earned a master of divinity at the Iliff School of Theology while Dunback finished her residency. Before settling down, they decided to spend a year working on a service project, and Bentrott contacted the UCC to find a temporary posting. The only opportunity that suited their backgrounds, however, was a long-term placement in Haiti sponsored by Global Ministries, a joint effort run by the UCC and the Disciples of Christ. Domestic plans on hold, they signed a four-year contract and took off, says Bentrott, with “idealistic notions of what we could do in the country.” Even his time in India had not prepared Bentrott for what he found in Haiti. “Haiti,” Bentrott says, “is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the world. It exemplifies what happens to a country that’s not fully recovered from its horrific history of colonization and suppressed people. On the positive side, these are the most loving, resilient, beautiful people I’ve ever encountered. It was an absolute privilege to live there and learn from them.” Their plan was to serve the four years, then buy a house in Colorado and start a family. They had never considered adoption—until they met a 3-month-old boy, Solomon, during an orphanage visit and immediately fell in love. “We were captivated,” Bentrott says. They signed on as foster parents and took him to their apartment. When the earthquake struck 18 months after they arrived on the island, their three-story building was badly damaged, but their third floor apartment was spared. The school where Bentrott had just taught a class was destroyed; all 20 students


The amount of death and damage and injury that can take place in 45 seconds is simply mind-boggling.



died, and so did their teachers. Throughout Haiti, tens of thousands of children died or were left without parents. Already approved to adopt two children, the Bentrotts found a sick little girl, Valancia, and made an on-the-spot decision to bring her home as Solomon’s sister. Two weeks after the quake, the U.S. government agreed to grant “humanitarian parole” to 1,200 orphans, and the Bentrotts flew out on a military cargo jet as escorts for 85 children, including Solomon and Valancia. “We thought we’d go home, get citizenship for our children, regroup, come back and resume work in Haiti,” he says. It didn’t happen. Acquiring citizenship—for Bentrott’s children and other orphans--stretched into a long, tortuous process. Unable to return to Haiti with his new family, he took a job in Denver as branch head of a Haitian adoption agency. He and his wife started a blog to chronicle their time in Haiti, and Bentrott shared those experiences with the Elmhurst College community during an April 2010 campus visit and also at an Elmhurst-sponsored pizza party for high school students. “He absolutely mesmerized them,” says Kim Whisler, coordinator of United Church of Christ relations in the Elmhurst Chaplain’s office, who arranged the gathering. “He has such a profound knowledge of the country. I was amazed by his ability to engage younger kids and bridge generations.” One of the high school students who attended the pizza party was so impressed that she applied to Elmhurst so she could get involved in service work. One can only imagine that Bentrott, had he been exposed to such an influence in high school, might have been moved to start his own journey sooner. But some things just take time.

Haiti is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the world. On the positive side, these are the most loving, resilient, beautiful people I've ever encountered.

At left from top, Bentrott’s neighborhood in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake, with a little girl at an orphanage and with an orphanage worker displaced by the quake. Bottom, an orphanage nanny holds Bentrott’s daughter Valancia in the back of a moving truck. At right from top, a baby sleeps in a laundry basket, a group of orphanage children and Bentrott with a little girl. Bottom, the family as they were being evacuated two weeks after the quake.



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 Office of Alumni Relations on the first floor of Lehmann Hall.

1940s George Sonneborn Jr. ’45 lives in a comfortable retirement community in St. Louis with his wife, Barbara. He is the proud father of George III, Julia and David.

A Hip-Hopping PE Teacher Ronald J. (Rocky) Wagner II ’05 has received abundant publicity for his latest YouTube hit. “They Ask Me,” produced in collaboration with Hunter Alexander ’05, is a hip-hop song explaining Rocky’s annual decision to shave his head on St. Baldrick’s Day to raise money for, and awareness of, childhood cancer. Rocky, a physical education teacher at Summit Learning Center in Robbins, also wrote the YouTube sensation “Teach Me How to Study,” set to the beat of “Teach Me How To Dougie.” “There are cool teachers, and then there’s Ron ‘Rocky’ Wagner, a songwriting, hip-hopping physical education teacher,” wrote Donna Vickroy in a Southtown Star story about Rocky’s newest hit. “The kids went nuts last spring after Wagner wrote ‘Teach Me How to Study.’ … The video, which starred several students, blew up on YouTube.” The new song speaks to Rocky’s commitment to raising funds to support research into childhood cancers. “This is a very important cause, and I am grateful for the education that I got from Elmhurst College,” Rocky said.



Dorothy (Gabler) Stoerker Peters ’48 is writing a story about her life and about meeting her first husband, Lewis Stoerker ’45, at Elmhurst College. After graduation, she accompanied her husband to Yale University. He later became a teacher and technical theater director, and built a state park in Missouri. Judge William J. Bauer ’49 was honored by DuPage County with the dedication of a judicial facility and sculpture at the county courthouse in Wheaton. Officials named the judicial annex after Judge Bauer, who began his career as a local prosecutor in 1952 and went on to receive federal appointments from presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. 1950s Warren R. Erickson ’50 is retired and living in Ocala, Florida. He attended Homecoming 2010 with four others from the class of 1950. June Eaton ’51 is enjoying classes in botanical art at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. She continues to teach writing via correspondence course, and looks forward to the college graduations of her five grandchildren. Zoltan Z. Morvay ’51 and his wife spend every winter in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida. Myron Sonneborn ’51 has followed in the footsteps of his father, George Sonneborn ’19, by becoming a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason. Richard Brueseke ’54 and his wife, Libby, recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.

Don Mayer ’55 and his wife, Lynnea ’56, have retired. Rev. Jack LaMar ’58 published his first book of sermons, Life Just Keeps Coming at Us. Ruth Baur Willimann ’58 is enjoying retirement on one of Michigan's lovely inland lakes. 1960s Elsa (Pflug) Abele ’60 and her husband, Reine, will celebrate 52 years of marriage in 2012. Jill (Shirk) Cockrell ’60 writes that she was sorry to have missed her 50th Elmhurst College reunion. She was at a conference in Budapest, Hungary, where she says she used the few Hungarian words she remembers from Dr. Molnar’s class at Elmhurst. Wesley Poor ’62 and Wanda Poor ’75 recently celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss. Joan Yokel Ellis ’63 plans to retire in April from her job as vice president of adult outpatient services at ComTrea, a community mental health center in Jefferson County, Maryland. In retirement she plans to spend her time sewing and doing church work. Ted Essebaggers ’63 recently retired from the University of Oslo, where he worked as an international student advisor in the international education office. Ted still sings in a choir and enjoys photography, gardening, fishing and his four grandchildren. Richard Hemann ’63 is enjoying retirement and catching up on household repairs. Georgia (Barnes) Jenkins ’63 has a home business with Kooday and is a coach with 4 Steps to Success. Richard ’65 and Linda (Benzel) Kroll ’65 are enjoying retirement. Linda continues to

For more class notes, go to and click on Class Notes

celebrate more birthdays after her fight with breast cancer. They cherish annual gatherings with old roommates including Dennis ’65 and Ruth ’65 Hotle, Joyce ’65 and Jim ’66 Driskill, Don ’64 Taylor and Alice Taylor, and Gary ’65 and Beth ’67 Miller. William Eiler ’66 has retired as a UCC minister in Tustin, California. He was married to Joanne Drumm on August 15. Susan Schnell Ford ’66 writes that she directed a production of Proof for the Santa Cruz Shoestring Players recently. “This is my third project with this new community theater company,” she writes. “I also volunteer at a K-8 school in the library.” Shirley (Samonek) Briggeman ’67 is semi-retired, working as a volunteer receptionist at an STD testing clinic for a local pro-life pregnancy center. Her husband, Edgar Briggeman ’65, is pastoring a small congregation at a country church in northwest Ohio. They enjoy traveling, biking, reading and spending time with their 12 grandchildren. William Johnson ’68 has been named administrator of the Nollau Institute, a leadership formation program of the UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. In October, Elmhurst College officially named its annual LGBT Guestship in honor of Bill. Bill writes, “I had the pleasure of hosting Elmhurst junior Colin Ashwood during his six-week internship with Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland.” Jan Henning ’69 has been named to a two-year term on the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Jan is a benefits counseling and special projects coordinator for the North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging, a program of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. A doctoral candidate in

applied gerontology at the University of North Texas, Jan is working on research related to Baby Boomers’ knowledge of retiree health needs and benefits. She also serves on the Texas Health Information, Counseling and Advocacy Program Advisory Committee. 1970s Beverly Powell-Hodge ’70 is semi-retired from psychotherapy practice. She writes that she would love to hear from her fellow students from the classes of ’69, ’70 and ’71. Sandra Hardin ’71 has retired from teaching elementary education after 36 years. Bob Merz ’71 and Sue Merz ’72 are looking forward to the weddings of two daughters. Bob retired in August, and Sue teaches at Holmes School in Oak Park. Kathy Bauer ’72 performed in Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor presented by Summer Place Theatre in Naperville in the summer of 2011. Janey Dahl Elliott ’71 has retired from school social work. She now works part time as a hospice social worker. Alan Weiger ’72 directed Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor for Summer Place Theatre in Naperville during the summer of 2011. Twenty years ago, he directed the same play at Elmhurst College. Dr. Luther Brown ’73 is the founding director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, where he also is associate dean for Delta regional development. He also is a founding member of the Mississippi Blues Commission and former chairman of the Mississippi Blues Foundation. John Helt ’73 is pastor of St. Paul’s UCC in Erin, Wisconsin. In September 2011 the church installed a solar power system in an

Author Named to National Council Cathy N. Davidson ’70 has been appointed by President Barack Obama to a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities. A professor of English and interdisciplinary studies at Duke University, Cathy is a distinguished author whose most recent book, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work , and Learn (Viking), was named to Publishers Weekly’s list of top 10 science books of the 2011 fall season. “Davidson is such a good storyteller, and her characters are well drawn," wrote one New York Times reviewer about Now You See It. As part of a 30-site book tour, Cathy keynoted the Chicago Humanities Festival in the fall of 2011.

ongoing effort to incorporate sustainable practices. Charles Bern ’74 has published a book, Complementary Income. Catherine Tomasik De Matteo ’75 has been named mortgage loan officer for Fifth Third Bank and works at the bank’s location in Olympia Fields. A certified mortgage



alumni catching up Christian Science practitioner for 25 years and continues to practice in Naperville. Tim has written more than 50 articles about metaphysics for The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel and Monitor. He also serves on the Christian Science Committee on Publication for the State of Illinois.

49ers Reunited at Homecoming Edith Hagens ’49 and George Langeler ’49 reunited on campus in late October 2011. Edith, a retired schoolteacher, comes from a large Elmhurst legacy family. She attended Homecoming 2011, proudly wearing her Elmhurst College cheerleading sweater. George, dean of students at Oberlin College for 23 years, keeps busy in retirement, traveling and serving on the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees. He spends most of each winter in Asia. Both Edith and George send greetings to their fellow ’49ers and look forward to seeing them at the next reunion!

specialist, she holds a 203K loan certification and a reverse mortgage certification. Wallace Goode ’75 recently was named executive director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. Wallace attributes his appointment to his experiences working for the Chicago mayor’s office and at the University of Chicago. He said even his experiences as a teenager hanging out in Hyde Park helped him land the job. Christopher Kurth ’76 has completed his training as a lay chaplain with Community of Hope International. Chris also achieved his goal of donating 50 pints of blood before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, thereby saving as many as 150 lives. He’s completing his 20th year as a school psychologist with the Special School District of St. Louis County. Thomas “Tim” Mitchinson ’79 has been a



1980s Janet Bryant ’80 was among 213 distinguished researchers nationwide recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) for “outstanding achievements in and contributions to science and the profession of chemistry.” Steven A. Zeidler ’82 was the producer of Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor presented by Summer Place Theatre in Naperville during the summer of 2011. Judy McHugh ’84, a nursing quality improvement coordinator at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, received the national Validator Award in October at a nursing conference in Baltimore. Marino Cecchi ’85 has joined South Carolina Federal Credit Union as vice president of mortgage. Miki Nishimura ’87 writes, “I’m still in the teaching business, singing and dancing with kids almost every day. I’m also involved in making educational materials, such as CDs for children (including a phonics CD for kids released two years ago) and online English learning systems for Japanese teenagers.” Karin (Rae) Fox ’88 exhibited two photographs at the Oak Lawn Library in June and July. She was also selected to exhibit a photograph, Millennium Park Ice Rink in Fall, at Moraine Valley’s Robert DeCaprio Art Gallery. The photograph won third prize in the Community Artist Exhibit. 1990s Ai Ohara ’90 will represent Elmhurst College at America Expo 2011, a college fair and seminar for Japanese students who are interested in attending college in the United States. Teno Geritano ’91 is Bolingbrook High School's new assistant principal for student services.

Kelly Duff ’92 recently joined Allstate Insurance in Northbrook as executive assistant to the executive vice president of technology and operations. Kelly also recently completed Citizens Police Academy at the Elmhurst Police Department. She is working on several books, including a memoir about her mother. Paul Onischuk ’93 has published a book, The Perfect, Man Handbook. Suzanne Taarek-Gudjonis ’94 recently earned an education specialist degree in educational technology from Walden University. She currently lives with her husband and three children in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she teaches second grade. Shirley Pegenan Basler ’99 spent five years serving as the primary caregiver for her father, who passed away at the age of 98 shortly after Thanksgiving 2010. Vanessa Gronke ’99 has been a decorator at From Scratch Bakery in LaGrange since October 2010. She also serves as director of music ministry at St. John’s UCC. Brian Schultz ’99 has joined Callander Commercial Real Estate of Portage, Michigan, as a sales associate. Prior to joining Callender, he served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in sales with Standridge Color Corp. 2000s Rick Veenstra ’00 is exploring a campaign for Congress in Illinois’ reconfigured 8th Congressional District. Duncan Sprague ’02 recently was ordained at Grace Lutheran Church in Colorado. Bill Hillmann ’04 recently was featured as a “Remarkable Person” by the Chicago Tribune. A 2002 Chicago Golden Gloves boxing champion, Bill writes short stories and is working on a novel. He is the founder of the Windy City Story Slam. Bill travels to Spain every year to run with the bulls. Ricardo Lamas ’05 recently made his debut with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a mixed-martial-arts promoter, after seven months on the sidelines. He used his time off to do what few 155pound men do: He went on a diet. Ricardo fought at lightweight during a six-week stint

for World Extreme Cage fighting. After the WEC merged with the UFC, there was a logjam in the 155-pound division so he dropped to featherweight. Peter Purin ’05 has completed the requirements for his Ph.D. in music theory at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Joe Alden ’07 earned his Doctor of Audiology degree in 2010. He currently works as a professional trainer for InSound Medical in Illinois. Katie Gregory ’07 works as an orientation coordinator at Benedictine University in Lisle. Darrell Mathis Jr. ’08 is pursuing a master’s degree in school leadership Type 75 at Concordia University. Laura Mignerone ’08 received a diploma from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Lisa Panzarella ’08 works at Lexington Health Care and Rehabilitation in Bensenville. Nina Talge ’08 has worked in customer service for Wilton Brands in Woodridge, Illinois, since 2008. Laura L. Yurs ’08 recently began full-time ministry at two churches in Missouri: St. James United Church of Christ and Stone United Church of Christ. Joe Badsing ’09 works as a repair technician at Quinlan & Fabish Music Company. Edward Breitweiser ’09 recently performed Sites of Excavation, a composition for improvising musicians and laptop computers, at the Laptops Meet Musicians Festival in Venice, Italy. In July, he performed his interactive sound installation, A Narrative Containing Two Narratives About Narrative Or, How to Become Ought-to-Happen, at Threewalls, a gallery in Chicago. In August, he delivered a keynote presentation, Making Waves: Creating Interesting Listening Opportunities at a conference in Sweden. Edward is an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bethanie Purin ’09 recently moved to Florence, Kentucky, with her fiancé, James

Gelement ’08. The couple plans to marry on March 24, 2012. Bethanie recently celebrated her one-year anniversary at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she teaches children with special needs in a therapeutic preschool setting. 2010s Ashley Bonk ’10 is in graduate school, pursuing an MBA. Rebekah Clark ’10 has joined The World Race, an 11-month mission trip that immerses participants in service and traditional lifestyles. Together with seven team members, she departed in January 2012 for the Philippines, China, India, Nepal, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, Moldova, Romania, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Alison Colman ’10 is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at Dominican University. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2012. Danny Sabock ’10 is the first-year linebacker coach for Indiana State. Norma Walker ’10 passed her state board exams in nursing and returned to her village in Zimbabwe to support her community and help others with their education. Jaren Hillard ’11 works as a substitute teacher in Oak Park and as a production assistant at the Ravinia Festival. Gina Kachlic ’11 recently received the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning award and the Omicron Delta Kappa graduate fellowship award. She currently is pursuing a law degree in Michigan. Marlana Ann McCaigue ’11 was commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on May 26, 2011. An officer in the Nurse Corps, she will attend Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, after she completes her certification testing for nursing. Marlana married 1Lt. Corey McCaigue on January 1, 2010. Anthony Mele ’11 performed in Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor presented by Summer Place Theatre in Naperville during the summer of 2011.

A Checkoff on Her Bucket List Ingeborg Turman ’50, who studied at Elmhurst as an international student from Germany, returned to campus in September for the first time since graduation. While on campus, she visited a First-Year Seminar classroom to speak to students about her travels and her experiences at Elmhurst. Inge was 17 years old and living in Hessen, Germany, when her father suggested that she pursue a studyabroad opportunity through the AFS Intercultural Program. AFS had originally planned for her to attend York Community High School in Elmhurst, but her intellectual abilities landed her at Elmhurst College instead. Inge said she has fond memories of her time on campus, including the time she spent with Genevieve Staudt, the College’s dean of women at the time. Coming back to campus was on her “bucket list,” she said, since Elmhurst was such a highlight in her life. Elmhurst College still accepts AFS exchange students during the summer.

into Midwestern Medical School. Sabrina Zeidler ’11 was stage manager for Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor presented by Summer Place Theatre in Naperville in the summer of 2011. Chris Mason ’13 has returned to Elmhurst College as an adult student.

Brendan Minardi ’11 has been accepted



alumni catching up

BIRTHS Robert C. Ahrendt ’55 welcomed his fourth great-grandchild in July. Kenneth Davis ’78 and Carole (Kielbasa) Davis ’79 would like to announce the birth of their grandson, Ryan Michael Perrine was born on April 20, 2011. Andrea (DiFatta) Puleo ’01 and Christopher Puleo ’01 welcomed a boy, Daniel Christopher Puleo, on May 7, 2011.

in December 2010. She and her husband work for Kellogg Co.

Helen (Holzkamper) Ritter ’53, of Urbana, on June 19, 2011.

John Dahlquist ’09 married Michelle Gardner in June 2011.

Beatrice D. Pulver ’56, of Homer Glen, on May 20, 2011.

Beverley McNulty ’10, assistant director of alumni relations and Paul Krohn, director of intercollegiate athletics, were married on December 16, 2011.

Donald N. Kelly ’57, of Anoka, Minnesota, on April 21, 2011. Dr. Lyle E. Herness ’60, of Ramona, California, on June 30, 2011.

DEATHS Ernest F. Nolte ’31, of Muenster, Indiana, on January 29, 2011.

Nicholas L. Van Hoose ’60, of Venice, Florida, on June 7, 2011.

Mabel C. (Craig) Christensen ’37, of Glen Ellyn, on March 20, 2011.

Theodore F. Prange ’61, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, on June 27, 2011.

Ruth (Klick) Tiemann ’41, of Pittsboro, North Carolina, on July 7, 2011.

Bonita E. Hardy ’69, of Eden, New York, on May 25, 2011.

Dorothy (Davis) Dosier ’42, of Santa Cruz, California, on June 21, 2011.

Michael Buechin ’70, of Pentwater, Michigan, on July 4, 2011.

Walter Goletz ’42, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, on March 8, 2011.

David F. Dietle ’70, of Queensland, Australia, on May 19, 2011.

Evelyn (Seybold) Reed ’45, of Evansville, Indiana, on June 27, 2011.

Anthony K. King ’75, of Tucson, Arizona, on July 17, 2011.

John O. Simmons ’45, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on May 23, 2011.

Kathy (Knuf) Odean ’75, of Rock Island, on July 3, 2011.

Janet E. (Mallinson) Egeland ’49, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 21, 2011.

Ellen E. Schade Lambert ’78, of Bourbonnais, on January 9, 2011.

Susan Salatino ’96 and Gene Changnon were married on September 4, 2011. Elmhurst alumni in attendance were Dan and Linda (Kueking) Marshall ’95, Kristen (Carlson) Cecchin ’95, Kevin ’94 and Karen (Wix) Brierly ’95, Heather (Dodge) Beck ’98, and Alan ’93 and Joanne (Imbrogno) Holtz ’95.

Gloria (Thompson) Gulley ’49, of Elmhurst, on May 28, 2011.

Dale E. Dunning ’82, of McKinney, Texas, on June 9, 2011.

Rev. Harold Potts ’50, of Kansas City, Missouri, on May 30, 2011.

Donald J. Wajda ’82 and ’96, of Hillside, on June 20, 2011.

John H. Thomas ’50, of Kailua, Hawaii, on June 16, 2011.

Thomas S. Ferry ’85, of Grafton, Wisconsin, on April 4, 2011.

Jamie Maslowski ’01 and Jeff Laski were married on May 28, 2011.

Caryl Morton ’51, of St. Louis, on August 22, 2010.

Peter E. Johnson ’94, of Round Lake Beach, on July 24, 2011.

Holley Hanneke ’03 was married in October 2011 to Sal Prompol.

Joseph H. Sebestyen ’51, of Chicago, on July 9, 2011.

Kenneth B. Suwanski ’95, of Cary, on April 6, 2011.

Laura DiLillo ’08 married Michael Simantirakis on August 13, 2010. The wedding party included Traci Skocik ’08, Katie LaMantia ’08 and Angela Hain ’08. Laura completed her master's degree in management at Roosevelt University

Robert E. Grunlund ’52, of Norway, Michigan, on July 12, 2011.

Dena (Schultz) Bonnike ’02 and her husband, John, welcomed Liam on September 17, 2011. He joins his big sister, Lana. Megan (Suess) Selck ’03 and Andrew Selck ’03 welcomed a boy, Drew Selck, on October 30, 2011. Tom DuFore ’04 and Jennifer (Moninger) DuFore ’05 welcomed a boy, Matthew Thomas DuFore, on November 22, 2011. Kyle Bjerga ’08 and his wife, Jackie, welcomed a boy, Carson Joseph Everett, on September 4, 2011. MARRIAGES Deborah Ripper ’93 was married to Stephen M. Silic on July 8, 2011.



Elizabeth (Wasson) Schumann ’52, of Troy, Ohio, on June 29, 2011.

For more information on alumni giving, go to our giving site at

Why I Give

Vy Hansen ’53, Plano, Texas

Photo credit: Andrew R. Slaton

lmhurst was a wonderful place to get an education. The science classes were challenging, and I got involved in all kinds of things— volleyball, basketball, badminton, even a coaching class. Everyone was friendly, and we all shared the same values. I enjoyed Elmhurst so much that I stayed an extra semester before going on to finish my nursing degree at Evangelical Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri.


I never would have been able to attend Elmhurst if I hadn’t received scholarships from the College and from my church, so I’ve always tried to give back as much as I could. Elmhurst played an enormous role in my life— giving me direction and helping me reach my goals—and now my support is helping other students reach theirs.

her late husband, Brigadier General Richard D. Hansen, a physician in the United States Air Force Medical Corps. A 2005 recipient of Elmhurst’s Founders Medal, she also is a member of the College’s Meusch Legacy Society. In appreciation for her education and experiences made possible by scholarships, Vy has used a life insurance policy to designate a gift to Elmhurst to fund the Violet Meyer Hansen Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Vy Hansen worked as a nurse, raised three children and lived all over the world with



To hear Judy Grimes talk about her work in Jamaica, go to:

faculty office hours

Why is that such a critical piece of the program? Jamaica is an island, and just about everything has to be imported except the rum and the sunshine. The high taxes on imports make it difficult to get the needed materials. That’s why we donate a lot of musical instruments and instructional materials. We work all year, getting used instruments and repairing them. With a grant from Elmhurst’s Service-Learning program, we are able to purchase used instruments. This year, we donated 30 more instruments, one for each of the students we took to Jamaica.

The Lessons of Jamaica Catching up with Judy Grimes very January for the past 20 years, Professor Judy Grimes has taken groups of Elmhurst students on two-week trips to Jamaica. But this is no midwinter vacation. Grimes and her students work in financially challenged schools around Montego Bay, teaching music to Jamaican children and donating instruments and school supplies that have helped launch and sustain band programs there. The trip is part of Grimes’ popular January Term class, Educational Experiences in Jamaica. She told FYI how the annual trips change lives in Montego Bay and in Elmhurst.


Your students tutor Jamaican children and work in classrooms alongside Jamaican teachers. But you say your students do more learning than teaching. What do you mean? Any time we work side by side with other teachers, our experience is based on collaboration. We work with wonderful Jamaican teachers, and we share approaches to teaching and the way we play a musical instrument. Musicians practicing together might exchange ideas on the fingering of passages or the



broader interpretation of a work. Some of our students are studying to be teachers, but they’re not officially teachers yet. So I don’t want our students to think they know everything about teaching. They also learn that music really is an international language, and that teaching music enhances the international exchange culturally and academically. What’s it like to see your students working with the Jamaican students? It’s a powerful experience. Some of the Jamaican students never have had a private music lesson. The Jamaican students work hard and are excited to have specific help on an instrument. When Elmhurst students tutor the younger Jamaican students, there’s a lot of laughing and hugging. In any band, your success depends on your ability to work as a team. That’s what this is all about. Our students get the sense that they’ve made a contribution and touched the future. In addition to helping launch bands in several Jamaican schools, you have supplied the schools with instruments.

Why are the band programs you helped start so important to the Jamaican schools? Tourism is the number one industry in Jamaica, and there isn’t a resort or a hotel that doesn’t have a band. So being a musician means opportunity for employment. That’s one reason why the schools were so interested in starting band programs. And being part of a band gives some students a reason to stay in school. Many band students go on to become teachers, lawyers, doctors and leaders in the community. Some of the music teachers we work with today got their start with us when they were 12 years old and students in the Jamaican band programs. What do you hope your students take away from the experience? My number one goal is that they develop a respect for the dignity of another culture and not just think that Americans have all the answers. And it is fun to share music and make bonds for a lifetime with both your Elmhurst teaching team and the Jamaican teachers and students. Fun, but not a vacation, right? Sometimes people say, “Enjoy your vacation,” and that annoys me. I’m not sure being responsible for 30 college students is much of a vacation. But it is a joy. by Andrew Santella

A Lasting Tribute Honorary & Memorial Gifts

The perfect gift: an Elmhurst Paver Brick It was on a summer evening that Karie Mather ’06 and Scott Friedman ’05 stopped by campus to admire the tribute paver bricks in front of Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. Karie bent down to find a friend’s brick and when she turned around, there was Scott, down on one knee, holding a brick that said, “Karie, will you marry me?” When Scott got the answer he was hoping for, he pulled out a second brick inscribed, “yes!” A year later, the couple was married in the chapel and a third brick with the wedding date was added. Like the Friedmans, you can purchase a Paver Brick to celebrate a marriage, birth or family milestone, or to honor a favorite professor or a colleague.You also can pay tributes by dedicating a tree or a bench on campus. Friends and family will appreciate your contribution, which supports College programs through the Elmhurst College Fund. When you make your donation, you’ll receive a gift certificate that can be presented to the family member, friend or colleague being honored. For more information on Honorary and Memorial Gifts, contact the Elmhurst College Fund at or (866) 794-1075.



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190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296

events coming soon

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Mark Your Calendar Lecture: In the Garden of Beasts Sunday, April 15 In the Holocaust Guestship Lecture, author Erik Larson will discuss his latest book, which explores the rise of the Nazis in 1933. A Conversation: Truth and Justice in America Thursday, May 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward and his longtime friend Judge William J. Bauer ’49 will discuss issues at the heart of the American experience. Commencement 2012 Saturday, May 26 Help us congratulate the graduates of the Class of 2012. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the College Mall, followed by a reception in Kranz Forum.

Bluejay Backer Golf Outing Tuesday, June 12 Support Bluejay athletics at the 30th annual golf outing! And save the date for the Kickoff Classic Golf Outing on Friday, August 10, and the Louis’ Invitational Golf Outing on Tuesday, August 14. Summer Extravaganza Saturday, June 16 Join us for this annual outdoor concert featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater accompanied by the Elmhurst College Jazz Band. Homecoming and Family Weekend October 11-14 Save the date for Homecoming 2012, when hundreds of alumni return for class reunions, football, theatre performances and more. Watch for the full schedule at

FYI Magazine, Spring 2012  

FYI Magazine, Spring 2012

FYI Magazine, Spring 2012  

FYI Magazine, Spring 2012