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THE MAGAZINE OF ELMHURST UNIVERSITY

THE UNIVERSITY ERA Our new name captures the essence of who we are— and where we�re going

SUMMER ����


Summer 2020 The Magazine of Elmhurst University

volume iii, number

1

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

ELMHURST STRONG When the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life for everyone and everything, Elmhurst was no exception. We pride ourselves on offering students a personal educational experience but made the difficult decision to shift to remote learning. After much discussion, we reluctantly cut short study abroad trips and athletic seasons. And we postponed Commencement, heartbroken for the graduates who worked so hard for the day when they would cross that stage. We also came to realize the time was no longer right for some of the stories we were preparing for this issue of Prospect. Our original lineup centered on the excitement of our historic name change. But when it became clear that this year would be historic for other reasons, we shifted focus to show how our faculty, alumni and students are meeting the challenges of the pandemic with grace, fortitude and creativity. As we were putting the final touches on this issue, the nation erupted in outrage over the killing of George Floyd and broader issues of racism and police violence. We paused again, and looked to our mission and our legacy for the image and words that grace our back page. Those words—and the stories you’ll read here—speak to the community spirit that sustains us, unswervingly, at Elmhurst.

DESIREE CHEN

Editor-in-Chief Prospect

A NEW .EDU FOR #ELMHURSTU

To celebrate our name change, we’ve refreshed our digital home—the institutional website. Check it out at elmhurst.edu.

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COV I D COV E RAG E

We�re All In at Elmhurst

See how our community came together in spirit to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


F E AT U R E S

26

30

36

After nearly 150 years, we�re starting a new chapter in the Elmhurst story.

A prestigious partnership gives aspiring veterinarians a head start on a rewarding career.

Students learn the skills they need to keep us all safe in an increasingly networked world.

The University Era

D E PA R T M E N T S

3 P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S AG E 8 CAMPUS NEWS 14 COMMENCEMENT

The Pet Whisperers

6 16

41 ALUMNI NEWS

I N T H E CLASS ROOM

Major Indecision

B E YON D T H E CLASS ROOM

Loubna Charef, Agile Adventurer Venkatesh Gopal and the Power of Play

4 3 C L ASS N OT E S

Jon Kefaloukos, Gaming Guru

4 8 M Y C A R E E R PAT H

Read the magazine online at elmhurst.edu/prospect.

Virtual Warriors

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S P O RTS S P OT L I G H T

24

A RTS S P OT L I G H T

Keegan Thompson, Kick-Starter

Adela Skowronski, On the Air


The Magazine of Elmhurst University

Summer 2020 volume

111, number 1

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

Jonathan Shearer EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Desiree Chen CREATIVE DIRECTION & DESIGN

Laura Ress Design CONTENT STRATEGY

Margaret Currie PROJECT MANAGERS

Natalie Bieri, Lauren Galvin CONTRIBUTORS

G.J. Acuna, Megan Kirby, Dave Roos, Andrew Santella, LeeAnn Shelton, Brian Wallheimer PHOTOGRAPHY

Joe Brady, Jason Brown, Bob Coscarelli, Alexi Dabrowski, Mark Hensel, Roark Johnson, Kasia Kowalik, Steve Kuzminski, Sarah Nader, Pink Door Photography, Justin Runquist, TrueLee Photography, Steve Woltmann PHOTO COORDINATOR

Lauren Altiery ILLUSTRATION

David Doran, Adam Hayes, Dave Homer, Gracia Lam, Josie Portillo ALUMNI NEWS & CLASS NOTES

Kelsey Hogan, Lisa Przybylski CONNECT WITH US

We welcome your comments! Email us at marketing@elmhurst.edu. Prospect is published twice a year by the Office of Marketing and Communications. Elmhurst University 190 Prospect Ave. Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 © 2020 Elmhurst University All rights reserved.

Our new seal takes a contemporary approach to the traditional College seal while remaining true to the Elmhurst spirit.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

THE VITAL WORK THAT LIES AHEAD

Today, we’re proud to declare ourselves Elmhurst University, the new name for our nearly 150-year-old institution. Empowered by the bright potential the name unlocks, we’re eager to start the next chapter in Elmhurst’s storied life. Deep gratitude goes to our community, on campus and beyond, for the many formal and informal discussions that brought us to this point; and for the enthusiasm with which they’re embracing our university status. As you can imagine, that excitement has been tempered recently—first by a global pandemic and more recently by the senseless killing of George Floyd, which sparked national outrage over the enduring scourge of racism. We’ve come together to support our students and each other, and to face these urgent challenges as one community. Our commitment to Elmhurst, and the values we share, will help us to do the serious, vital work that needs to be done in the months and years ahead. I am convinced that we will emerge renewed, even better able to contribute to society as engaged learners, thinkers and doers. And as the nation’s newest university.

TROY D. VANAKEN

President

SUMMER 2020

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WE'RE ALL IN AT ELMHURST

“Our shared values have helped to bring us through the Great Depression, two world wars, and economic and social upheaval. They will come through for us again now.” P R E S I D E N T T R O Y D . VA N A K E N

As the coronavirus swept through Illinois this spring, Elmhurst faculty, students, alumni and staff found innovative ways to learn, connect and join the fight against the pandemic. Here are some of their stories. IN THE LAB ON THE FRONT LINES

S HIE LD MAKE R

As part of her doctoral studies at Loyola University Chicago, Monika Evdokimova ’17 is examining mouse models of human coronavirus infections. “If you can find a model for the coronavirus, then you can study it more easily,” she says. “I feel very lucky that I get to work on something that has the potential for such a big impact.”

In 2014, infectious disease expert Alexander Tomich ’95 oversaw the Ebola treatment program at Rush University Medical Center. Today, he’s still at Rush, managing infection prevention and control during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve marveled

at how Rush has really excelled at the challenge that COVID-19 poses,” he said. elmhurst.edu/Tomich

HOUSING FOR HEROES

When news reports began to emerge about the alarming shortage of critical safety equipment for health care providers, Dustan Creech, associate professor of art and chair of the art department, sprang into action. Using 3D printers in the new art makerspace in Old Main, he created several dozen clear plastic face shields to donate to Elmhurst Hospital or “wherever the need was greatest.” elmhurst.edu/Shield

In March, the University opened its student housing to front-line medical professionals who had tested positive for COVID-19 so they could self-isolate from their families. “We’re just proud to be helping—part of our mission is to reach out and do the right thing,” Vice President for Student Affairs Phillip Riordan told WGN Evening News.

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SUMMER 2020

STAY-AT-HOME SERENADE

Singer John Vincent ’96 serenaded residents of a senior living center in Chicago with a mini-concert during the stay-at-home order. The anthem singer for the Chicago Cubs, Vincent sang in a parking lot while the residents leaned out of their windows to listen. WGN-TV captured the moment with a video on Facebook. elmhurst.life/Serenade


RESEARCH PIONEER

THE VIRTUAL ARTS For Mike Pinto, the University’s transition to online learning presented a challenge—and an opportunity. The director of the Gretsch Electric Guitar

J. David Small ’59 discovered one of the first coronaviruses in animals in 1987, when he was a researcher with the National Institutes of Health. A veterinarian and public health professional, Small received the NOVEL RESEARCH Elmhurst Founders Medal in 2018.

Ensemble, Pinto taught his students how to record themselves from home and assigned each of them a part in the song “Groove Elation.” Pinto then put it all together and created a video to showcase his students’ talents. elmhurst.life/VirtualArts

Brandon Barrios ’19, a nurse with Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, was quoted in a Chicago Tribune story about nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. “It’s a scary time to be a new nurse, but I’ve been accepted and have never felt alone,” he said. “Our patients, too, are not being left alone. I see nurses going into COVID rooms just to brush hair and provide sips of water. All this ignites my passion to help people even more.”

A PA S S I O N TO H E L P

OLYMPIC B AKE R After winning gold at the Pan American Games in Canada this spring, wrestler Joe Rau ’13 was a favorite to qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Japan. Then COVID-19 hit, shuttering training facilities and putting the Olympics on hold. So Rau turned his attention to a new skill: baking. The Chicago Tribune featured Rau in a story about Olympian dreams deferred. elmhurst.life/Olympic

INTERNSHIP, INTERRUPTED Laura Rusk ’21 was in Washington, D.C., doing an internship for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) when the coronavirus hit. “Due to current events, I am home earlier than expected,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “Working on Capitol Hill during the impeachment, an election year, appropriations season, and the beginning of a global pandemic was the experience of a lifetime. I have seen history created right before my eyes.” SUMMER 2020

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IN THE

CLASSROOM

MA �OR INDECISION

THE CLASS

Finding My Path: Questions, Callings, Convictions

THE PROFESSOR

IT’S OK NOT TO KNOW

STAND FOR SOMETHING

Colleen Munro-Leighton

In higher education, dropout rates are higher for first-year students who don’t have a declared major. Our goal is to help first-years discover what’s meaningful to them and then follow a path that ties into their passions and strengths. One of the most important things we want them to understand is that it’s OK not to know. It’s OK to try out a new class and see if it sparks interest in something you want to pursue in the future.

We read The Art of Inventing Hope, true stories about families restarting in America after the Holocaust. Talking about the Holocaust was an opportunity for students to really reflect on their values and to think about how they would respond if faced with similar circumstances. It sparked some really good conversations.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR,

CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY

THEY DID IT, AND SO WILL YOU

A new first-year seminar helps undecided students align professional aspirations with personal values.

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The students interviewed faculty and staff members about how they got to where they are. “How did you become interested in chemistry, in teaching, in marketing or in coaching? How did you know that’s what you wanted to do?” The students heard the same story over and over: Almost nobody knew exactly what they wanted to do, but they changed course to follow new interests and opportunities. That really made a difference in helping the students realize that they weren’t alone.

SUMMER 2020

LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK

We’re expected to be on our phones all the time and to always be available. That interrupts our ability to really listen to our own thoughts. The students did activities that drove home the value of setting aside some true quiet time. If you want to figure yourself out, you’ve got to think and listen and observe. THERE’S NOT JUST ONE PATH

LeBron James and Stephen Curry are pretty good at their day jobs, but that’s not all they want to do with their lives. They’re also involved in TV and movie production. Success means continuing to find the best use of your strengths and passions and always being willing to try something new.


THE STUDENT VIEW

“Coming into a four-year college without a major, I was kind of anxious. In the seminar we did a strengths assessment and then matched them with different careers. That gave me a real-world view of how to harness my talents. I also had a great interview with our athletic director about the path she took to get here and where she sees herself in the future. I’m interested in sports management, so talking with someone who has actually been down that path helped a lot.” — RYAN BRENNER ’23

I L LU S T R AT I O N B Y A DA M H AY E S

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CAMPUS

NEWS

SPEAKER

Q&A CAMPUS TREES ���

Jim DeRogatis, Greg Kot and Ayana Contreras of WBEZ’s Sound Opinions spoke at Elmhurst on March 10 about the impact of #MeToo on the music industry.

Prospect talked with DeRogatis and Kot about the sexual abuse charges facing singer R. Kelly and whether we can, or should, separate the art from an artist. What got you interested in this topic? DEROGATIS: I started wrestling with this question 19 years ago, when I first started reporting on R. Kelly. He’s the best-selling artist out of Chicago, ever, but has an exceedingly troubling legacy; and it’s become even more so since 2017, when new allegations arose.

GREG KOT (L) WITH AN AUDIENCE MEMBER

Do you have a personal cutoff point, beyond which an artist’s behavior forever taints how you view his art? KOT: I think every listener needs to

Tucked away in the shade of Kranz Forum, the oddly shaped Elmhurst Yew is generally thought to be the only one of its kind in the world. But is it really? To answer that question, biology professor Paul Arriola and his students are extracting the yew’s DNA and exploring its heritage.

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P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E

SUMMER 2020

take into account that this person you love can make something beautiful and amazing, and at the same time be a despicable person. And then how much can you appreciate their music? There are certain artists I’ve stopped listening to. It’s a brutal decision.

JIM DEROGATIS AND AYANA CONTRERAS

So can we separate art from the artist?

Has the response to your work changed

Should we?

in light of the #MeToo movement?

KOT: The fact that there’s a debate worth having about this subject is the point of the whole talk. It’s not so much to tell you what to think, but to think about this, and to not exclude it from how you evaluate the work of an artist.

DEROGATIS: Today, the legion of people who support R. Kelly—both men and women—still is horrifying. So is the hatred toward the women who have been brave enough to speak out against him. It’s no different than the Harvey Weinstein case and the hatred, the disbelief, those women were getting.

DEROGATIS: If you think that art matters—that it’s not just mere entertainment, that it can change the world by changing us—then you have to wrestle with this question.


HASHTAG

HIGHLIGHTS

BY THE

From selfies of health care heroes to a virtual dance recital, social media has been capturing the Elmhurst spirit. Check us out on social media to see what’s new.

NUMBERS From our global student body to our multicultural clubs, Elmhurst welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms. Here’s a look at our vibrant, diverse community. STUDENTS OF COLOR IN THE FIRST-YEAR CLASS

49%

@elmhurst_admission How to draw Baby Yoda #maythe4thbewithyou #babyyodachallenge

NATIONALITIES REPRESENTED IN THE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT BODY

@elmhurst.alumni thank you to Erin Fecske ’07 for sending us this selfie demonstrating her bravery facing COVID-19! In this picture, Erin is volunteering for her local Medical Reserve Corps doing drive through testing for the virus.

34 NUMBER OF ALL-GENDER RESTROOMS

10 gargledplants Wait a second...that’s not a bluejay barker!! We need to get some cat merch.

CULTURAL IDENTIT Y CLUBS

@ElmhurstCollege Enjoy the first-ever Virtual Evening of Dance! Watch 60 of our dance students perform 26 student and faculty choreographed pieces.

16 UNDERGRADUATES WHO ARE FIRSTGENERATION STUDENTS

PUBLIC HEALTH AND COVID-19 In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,

34%

epidemiologists and other public health specialists have taken center stage. But what goes on behind the scenes? And how will the field continue to

NUMBER OF WORLD MUSIC FESTIVALS SINCE 2011

evolve? Molly Tran, director of Elmhurst’s new program in public health, discusses all that and more in our blog.

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elmhurst.edu/blog SUMMER 2020

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CAMPUS

NEWS FACU LTY

BOOKSHELF Elmhurst faculty are conducting research, collaborating with other experts and getting published. Here are some of the books published during the 2018–19 academic year that boast Elmhurst bylines.

“Building a Weighted Graph to Avoid Obstacles from an Image of the Environment,” in Advances in Computer Vision By Kevin G. Prehn and John M. Jeffrey Springer, April 2019 Prehn, a 2019 Elmhurst graduate, and Jeffrey, chair of Elmhurst’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, present an algorithm in robot pathfinding that constructs a bidirectional weighted graph.

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Engaging Preschoolers in Mathematics: Using Classroom Routines for Problem Solving By Jeanne White and Linda Dauksas Routledge, October 2018 The authors, members of Elmhurst’s education faculty, guide teachers and child care professionals in teaching math at the prekindergarten level.

Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, and Human Culpability By William Hirstein, Katrina L. Sifferd and Tyler K. Fagan The MIT Press, 2018 Three philosophy professors explore the relationship between the brain and culpability, offering a look at the theory of human responsibility.

The Impact of Teacher Leaders: Case Studies from the Field By Kimberly T. Strike, Janis C. Fitzsimmons and Debra K. Meyer Rowman & Littlefield, August 2019 Education professor Debra Meyer and co-authors interviewed teachers across the nation to showcase the importance of teacher leaders.

Supervision Modules to Support Educators in Collaborative Teaching: Helping to Support & Maintain Consistent Practice in the Field By Kathryn L. Lubniewski, Debbie F. Cosgrove and Theresa Y. Robinson (editors) Information Age Publishing, August 2019 Cosgrove and Robinson, members of Elmhurst’s education faculty, co-edited this practical guide for teacher development at all grade levels. Contributing Elmhurst faculty include Ayanna Brown, Lisa Burke, LuEllen Doty, Debra Meyer, Courtney Miller, Jeanne White and Jaime Zurheide.

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A NOVEL START FOR A NEW DEAN

Dean Pribbenow joined Elmhurst as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty in mid-March, just as the spread of COVID -19 was forcing colleges nationwide to make tough choices about on-campus instruction. Pribbenow recently spoke with Prospect about his unusual introduction to Elmhurst. What was it like to contend with a pandemic on your first day of a new job?

It was surreal. March 12 was my first day at Elmhurst, and March 12 was the day we decided to move to online classes. I was in the office that week and the next, and then the stayat-home order took effect. I was literally on campus for seven workdays.

Is it difficult to get to know people when everyone’s working from home?

I’m very relationship-oriented, so the most challenging part for me is not being able to attend student events, eat lunch in the cafeteria with students or wander around and stop in people’s offices. But we’re able to accomplish so much through technology, and I’ve been able to get to know people by interacting on screens.

How have the faculty responded to remote learning?

OUR NEW CHIEF EDUCATOR Dean Pribbenow came to Elmhurst from Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., where he served as vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. A former high school English teacher, he has a strong background in educational leadership, counseling and service-learning pedagogy. He has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master of science in counseling, with a concentration in higher education, from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Across the board, people have rolled up their sleeves and jumped in. Faculty who are more comfortable with online teaching are providing guidance to those who are new to it, and one of my associate deans created an online discussion site that’s generating a lot of camaraderie and creative problem-solving. It’s very clear that Elmhurst has a strong sense of community.

Looking forward, what are some of your top priorities for the University?

One of the things that drew me to Elmhurst was the institution’s deep commitment to forming partnerships with nonprofits and other agencies to make our communities as healthy and vibrant as possible. At Elmhurst we have the ideal opportunity to extend student learning beyond the classroom to the community we are a part of—both to enhance student learning and to enrich the community.

SUMMER 2020

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CAMPUS

NEWS CON FER ENCE A N HONOR FOR

COACH BAINES

CHAMPS

The Elmhurst men’s basketball team capped a sensational season in February by capturing its first-ever CCIW tournament title. With their championship win over Illinois Wesleyan University, the Bluejays set a new single-season school record for victories and secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament. “This was the team’s best season in the history of the school,” said Head Coach John Baines. “We have a great group of hardworking guys, and it was so rewarding to see them push through and perform at such a high level.”

Just a few weeks after leading the Bluejays to their first CCIW title, Head Coach John Baines scored another big win when the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association named him Co-Coach of the Year. One of just 10 college basketball coaches in the state to earn the honor across all divisions of the NCAA and the other major college athletic associations, Baines shared the award with two other Division III coaches. Baines joined the Bluejays in 2000 and has served as men’s basketball head coach since 2013.

Following the CCIW win, the Bluejays went on to the NCAA Division III Tournament, where they scored two victories and advanced to the Sweet 16 before the tournament was canceled over COVID-19 concerns. On their return to campus, the team got a standing ovation at a meeting of the Board of Trustees. “It was tough to tell those guys it was over when we were in such a good spot,” Baines said. “But I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”

NEWS BRIEFS

served as president of

ELMHURST + WHEATON

ALEXANDRIA SCHULTZ ’20, a pre-law student who the Student Government

ELMHURST HAS PARTNERED

THE LEADER, ELMHURST’S STUDENT

Association, was named

WITH WHEATON COLLEGE

NEWSPAPER, BROUGHT HOME 11

Elmhurst’s 2020 Senior of

TO OFFER A 3+2 DUAL-

AWARDS AND THREE HONORABLE

the Year during a virtual

DEGREE NURSING PROGRAM.

MENTIONS from the 2019 Illinois College

ceremony on May 12. See

Participating students can

Press Association Awards—including the

the full list of student award

earn a bachelor’s degree from

coveted General Excellence Award for

winners at elmhurst.edu/

Wheaton and a master’s from

schools with fewer than 4,000 students.

HonorsReview.

Elmhurst in just five years.

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MASTERING THE CAMPUS PLAN

A new digital graphics studio, an esports lab and a new basketball court—these are just a few of the improvements that students will find when they return to campus in the fall. As part of the Campus Facilities Master Plan, the Board of Trustees approved these and several additional improvement projects in March. Other approved projects, which will be completed at a later date, include the expansion of the Alexander Street parking lot and a new spirit shop in the Frick Center. “All of these projects will give students additional recreational and co-curricular options, and enhance campus life in general,” said President Troy D. VanAken. This summer’s projects build on previous Master Plan projects, including a new Learning Center, a green roof on the Frick Center and physics lab renovations.

NATIONA LLY

RANKED It’s official: Elmhurst University has some of the best graduate programs in the nation. That’s according to U.S. News & World Report, which recognizes the University’s programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and communication sciences and disorders (CSD) in its prestigious 2021 Best Graduate Schools rankings. All three programs rank in the top eight in Illinois, alongside much larger research-based institutions. “The rankings look at all programs, regardless of size,” said Ruiying Ding, director of the graduate program in CSD. “We’ve kept our program deliberately small to maintain a more intimate learning experience. So we’re pretty proud that we ranked as high as we did.” This is the first time Elmhurst’s graduate programs have been nationally ranked, though the University’s undergraduate program regularly appears on U.S. News’ list of top colleges. Released on March 17, 2020, the rankings are based on a combination of factors, including acceptance rate, faculty credentials and peer assessment.

esports lab

NEWS BRIEFS A NEW

ELMHURST STUDENTS WHO DREAM OF

ELMHURST HAS

UNDERGRADUATE

LAUNCHING THEIR OWN BUSINESSES

BEEN NAMED TO

PROGRAM IN

HAVE A NEW RESOURCE ON CAMPUS.

PHI THETA KAPPA’S

PUBLIC HEALTH

The Elmhurst Entrepreneurs initiative,

2020 TRANSFER

LAUNCHES THIS

which kicked off on Feb. 19, will offer

HONOR ROLL in

FALL. The program

guidance, competitions and more to

recognition of its

will prepare students

budding entrepreneurs.

strong support for

to play key roles

transfer students. The

in the fight against

honor is awarded to

diseases like

colleges that earned

COVID-19 and in

the organization’s

promoting overall

highest ratings for

health.

transfer friendliness. S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E

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P H OTO BY A L E X I DA B R O W S K I

#ECGrads2020


Elmhurst celebrated the Class of 2020 with congratulatory videos and an unforgettable virtual rendition of the alma mater. Please join us in toasting our newest alumni!

See the highlights at elmhurst.edu/Commencement.


BEYOND T H E C L A S S RO O M

STUDENTS

AGILE ADVENTURE Growing up in Morocco with four sisters and a single mom, Loubna Charef MPM �21 wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. After college, she took a job as a flight attendant so she could see the world while she considered her next steps.

A former flight attendant sets her sights on a career in change management.

When Charef arrived on campus in the fall of 2019, she reminded Fischer of that conversation, and the two started brainstorming research projects. As they talked about a variety of topics, they discovered a shared interest in leadership and how it affects every aspect of an organization.

One year turned into seven as Charef traveled the globe, meeting “We decided to focus our research on people from all walks of life and agile leadership, which is the new thing every conceivable background. Her in project management,” Charef said. experiences sparked an interest in why people and companies behave the “One of the things I like about way they do, so she earned a master’s this program is that the faculty degree in industrial organizational always keep up with the latest psychology and then set her sights on trends. What you are learning a degree in project management. As she researched graduate programs in the field, one choice stood out above the rest: Elmhurst. She visited the campus, met with project management program director Bruce Fischer—and instantly knew she’d found her place. “I had such an amazing conversation with Dr. Fischer. We even talked about writing a paper together,” she recalled. “So I quit my job and moved to Elmhurst from Dubai.” 16

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is what is actually in demand in the marketplace.”

Based on their research, Fischer and Charef wrote a paper that was accepted for presentation at an international conference. Now they’re applying for grants to support additional work. “It is a big honor to collaborate with a faculty member at this level, and it is a big accomplishment as well,” she said. “We’re not just writing a paper. We want to do something that’s going to add value to the profession.”


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BEYOND T H E C L A S S RO O M

FACULTY

SCIENCE AT PLAY Venkatesh Gopal believes in the power of play. The associate professor and chair of the physics department says that play—the serious, motivated kind—has always been at the heart of productive science. And, in a future shaped by automation, playful creativity could be the one thing that machines can’t replace. That’s why Gopal has made play the focus of an ambitious reimagining of the physics department that features new courses, new collaborative spaces and a makerspace devoted to handson problem-solving and prototyping.

“I want students to play with their ideas and bring them to life. The mix of studying and building and playing is how students learn how the natural world works,” Gopal says. “This is how they prepare to live lives where they put their creativity to work.”

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The new creative spaces and other enhancements are made possible by an anonymous gift from the family of one of Gopal’s former students. In the new space, students will have access to tools—3D printers, milling machines, laser cutters— that will enable faster and more ambitious work on class projects and research. And they will be able to create their own bespoke devices and parts tailored to their experiments and projects. The department is also adding a new sequence of courses in mechatronics, a rapidly growing field that merges electrical, mechanical and computer technologies for applications in robotics and automated systems. Also in the works are new courses in computation and materials, as well as a first-year seminar in fabrication. Katherine Wilkie, a fifth-year student in Elmhurst’s dual-degree program with Illinois Institute of Technology,

P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

Venkatesh Gopal wants his students to experience the educational power of playing with ideas.

says the new labs will give students “hands-on experience in constructing things, instead of just designing them.” That’s exactly what Gopal has in mind. Physicists have always been hands-on tinkerers who build what they need in the lab themselves, he points out. But machine work that once required extensive training can now be done relatively easily, so students can do more tinkering, innovating, creating and problemsolving—more playing. “I want them to use these amazing machines to take some knowledge and have some fun with it, exercise their creativity,” Gopal says. “Build a prototype. Who cares if it works? It’s the process that’s important. That will stay with them.”


P H OTO BY R OA R K J O H N S O N


BEYOND T H E C L A S S RO O M

ALUMNI

GAMING GURU Jon Kefaloukos ’14 is a former professional video game player who lives with his parents. He’s not living up to some millennial or gamer stereotype. Kefaloukos, known in the gaming world as Falloutt, has become such a success in the esports world that owning his own home just doesn’t make sense. He spends most of his life circling the globe as a professional “shoutcaster,” esports content developer and senior solution sales professional with Microsoft. For Kefaloukos, it all started back in high school, when most people thought the word “esports” was a typo. He turned a rivalry with his brother and friends into a dominance of the online platform, entering Gears of War tournaments with six-figure payouts and becoming one of the first gamers to stream his play live on what would later become Twitch.tv.

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“I thought that was the coolest thing in the world,” Kefaloukos said.

“I was placing in the top 10 and started getting sponsors. With scholarships, I made almost enough to pay for college.” At Elmhurst, Kefaloukos threw himself into the college experience— helping launch the lacrosse team and serving as president of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity—while gaming professionally. Inside the classroom, Kefaloukos majored in marketing with an eye toward a career in health care administration. “In college, everyone called me the Energizer Bunny. I embraced a mentality of sink or swim,” he said. “And I failed sometimes, but Elmhurst was a place where I could fail and still be supported by faculty and staff.”

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Jon Kefaloukos has made a name for himself on both sides of the controller.

As a senior, Kefaloukos got a job at a Microsoft store and entered the other side of the esports business. After graduating, he convinced Microsoft to use its store theaters to host Xbox tournaments, and he developed and managed the rollout nationwide. Now he’s selling Microsoft cloud technology to enterprise customers in the Chicago area. Kefaloukos hung up his controller professionally in 2011, but he’s still a prominent figure at major esports tournaments around the world. He calls the action as a shoutcaster— think color analyst for football—and he recently announced a deal to create esports content for ASUS Republic of Gamers, a major player in the gaming hardware industry. “I’m pursuing my dream, creating a platform to do video blogs wherever I go and interviewing gamers,” Kefaloukos said. “I get to motivate people and teach them how to do all these things that I’ve loved.”


P H OTO BY J O E B R A DY


SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

KICK-STARTING TWO CAREERS Keegan Thompson is shooting for two life goals: a career in dentistry and a place in pro soccer.

Preparing for dental school exams would be challenging enough for most students. But for Keegan Thompson ’19, dentistry is just one of his goals—he also wants to play professional soccer. That’s why he spent the months after his midyear graduation not only studying, but also working out relentlessly in weight rooms and on soccer fields. A standout winger and two-year captain for the Bluejays, Thompson was invited in January to try out for a spot with Forward Madison FC, a USL League One team just below the major leagues. He leaped at the opportunity.

“Professional soccer is something I always aspired to. I knew I didn’t want to look back one day and regret not having given it a shot,” Thompson said. But he wasn’t ready to give up on his dental school plans just yet. “I want to keep that option open, too.” Thompson’s interest in dentistry was sparked by childhood visits to the dentist in his hometown. “It’s all about teamwork,” Thompson said. “A dentist, the dental assistant and the patient really operate as a team. That’s something I can appreciate as a soccer player.” Thompson’s path to the brink of professional soccer was not an easy one. He missed what would have been his


P H O T O B Y S T E V E W O LT M A N N

junior season after he suffered a pelvic stress fracture and then was diagnosed with celiac disease. Just as Thompson was enduring the long, painful rehabilitation after the fracture, the second setback forced him to overhaul his diet. “The hardest part was learning how to eat. For a guy who loved his pizza, it wasn’t easy to adopt a whole new dietary routine.” Thompson’s determination to return to the soccer field impressed his coach. “He always attacked any setbacks head on,” said Dave Di Tomasso, head soccer coach at Elmhurst. “He was just relentless with his rehab.”

Thompson not only came back, but won College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin first-team honors and led the team in goals and assists. His performance at Forward Madison’s invitation-only tryout was good enough to earn him a callback to play with the team during its preseason schedule and compete for a spot on its final roster. His tryout, and Madison’s season, was postponed by the coronavirus shutdown. But however the tryout eventually goes, Thompson will go into it with typical determination and perspective. “My goal is to play well and appreciate every moment,” he said.

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ARTS SPOTLIGHT

ON THE AIR AND UNDERGROUND Adela Skowronski showcases the Chicago music scene on her hit radio show. 

Adela Skowronski ’20 is a cellist, a music business major and the station manager at WRSE, Elmhurst University’s radio station, where she co-hosts The Underbelly Hours, a live show and podcast about the Chicago indie music scene that’s won fans on and off campus. 

“The show started out as a way to interview people I knew who were releasing awesome music,” says Skowronski, an Elmhurst native who has played in bands since high school. “Now we’re expanding to behind-the-scenes people— engineers, local merch designers—so people can see how big this ‘underground’ scene is.” Any Elmhurst student can host a radio show at WRSE after learning the ropes. That’s how Chicago-area DJs Terri Hemmert ’70 and Justin Roman ’00 got their start. Jennifer Anthony ’18, station advisor at WRSE, says that most student DJs stick to the station’s rock/variety format, but that’s starting to change, thanks in large part to the popularity of The Underbelly Hours.


P H O T O B Y K A S I A K O WA L I K

“Ever since Adela started her show, we’ve seen more students who are willing to go off the beaten path and have their own specialty shows,” says Anthony. “They see the success of her show and think, ‘I want to do that.’”  As student station manager, Skowronski trains new DJs and helps organize events including Elmhurst’s annual Battle of the Bands, a campus showcase for local music.  “What I really want to get across to listeners is that there are people who write and create music because it’s beautiful and fun, not just to make $100 million a year,” she says.

Elmhurst is the ideal environment for aspiring musicians and music lovers, Skowronski says. Chicago is only a 30-minute train ride away, and Elmhurst music professors are professional gigging musicians as well as dedicated mentors.  “At a big school, you’re one of maybe 500 people in a class,” she says. “Here, I have my professors’ cell phone numbers on my phone. They’re always willing to help me out.”

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BY D E S I R E E C H E N I L LU S T R AT I O N S BY DAV I D D O R A N

THE UNIVERSITY ERA After nearly 150 years, our new name kicks off the next leg of our journey.

July 1, 2020, marked a new day for Elmhurst—our first day as Elmhurst University. It also brought us one historic day closer to our 150th anniversary next year. By capturing the essence of what Elmhurst has become over a century and a half, and unlocking the potential for greater opportunities, our new name honors both tradition and innovation, longevity and change. “Becoming Elmhurst University allows us to leverage this unique point in our history—to make sure that Elmhurst, with all it stands for and does so well, gets the wider recognition it deserves,” said President Troy D. VanAken. The transition to Elmhurst University builds on years of institutional growth and development, including the addition of highly regarded graduate programs. Grounded in a robust strategic plan that reaffirms the institution’s core values and lays out ambitious goals, Elmhurst is embarking on its new journey from a position of confidence and strength. University status will allow Elmhurst to offer programs at the doctoral level—a logical and important next step in fast-growing fields such as nursing and occupational therapy. At the same time, leaders are dedicated to preserving and elevating Elmhurst’s core strengths, which include shared values, strong community, personalized teaching and a liberal arts foundation.

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“Knowing everything I’ve done and accomplished here, I feel like Elmhurst hasn’t gotten enough credit. So now we can put our new name out there and show that we’re doing these incredible things.” AR I ANA CAR DE NAS ’ 2 0 Double Major in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Intercultural Studies

“Shared values are the glue that holds the place together. Our shared values are not going to change; that’s who we are. We’ll remain true to the spirit of Elmhurst. We may change some things, but we’ll retain what’s important.” BEAT RIZ GÓM EZ AC UÑ A

Chair, Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Associate Professor, Spanish

“Changing our name is as much about better describing what we are as envisioning what we’re going to become,” said Brian Wilhite, associate professor of physics and interim associate dean of the faculty. “It’s a positive step that will build our momentum moving forward.”

This isn’t the first time the institution has changed its name to better reflect its identity. Since its founding in 1871, it has been called German Evangelical Proseminary, Elmhurst Proseminary, and Elmhurst Academy and Junior College before becoming Elmhurst College in 1924, when it began to offer its first bachelor’s degrees. The move to university status has generated excitement across the entire Elmhurst community, on campus and beyond. Trustee L. Bernard Jakes ’97, a vocal advocate for the name change ever since Elmhurst began offering graduate programs, plans to commemorate the change by requesting an Elmhurst University diploma. “I see Elmhurst continuing to grow and evolve,” he said. “I’m very excited about the possibilities the name change presents for our current students as well as our alumni.” For his part, Alex Hall ’21 is eagerly looking forward to May 2021, when he’ll become the first member of his family to graduate from college, and also part of the first class to graduate from Elmhurst University.

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“The great benefit of a small school like Elmhurst is that we can have those one-on-one relationships where we can let students know it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to change your mind and you’re going to come out perfectly fine.” MI CHE L L E DE L UCA ’07

Assistant Dean of Students; Director, Niebuhr Center

“There’s a strong sense of community, and it’s very personal. It’s also about how expansive the learning experience is, and how Elmhurst is able to serve and educate students with multiple interests.” EDWA RD J. M OM KUS ’74

Chair, Board of Trustees

“I’m excited to be in the first class to start that Elmhurst University tradition, to begin that legacy,” he says. Elmhurst marked its first day as a university with the release of a celebratory video that included a first look at the new Elmhurst University arch atop the Gates of Knowledge. Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley proclaimed July 1, 2020, Elmhurst University Day, and the University hosted a Virtual Bluejay Bash to welcome incoming students. More celebrations are planned in the coming months. The University also commemorated its new name by commissioning associate art professor Dustan Creech to create a bronze Elmhurst University seal for the iconic fireplace in the Frick Center. Creech invited several students to work on the project, in part to give them a sense of ownership in the new name. “Whenever they come back to campus they can say, ‘I helped to make that,’ knowing it will live on forever,” he said. Amid the excitement of a new chapter for a storied institution, Elmhurst leaders say there’s one thing that won’t change: the personal, hands-on learning that sets Elmhurst apart. “We’ll continue to be the best of what we’ve always been—a student-focused liberal arts institution where excellent teaching, small class sizes and professional preparation are the hallmarks,” President VanAken said. Those same traits will also be key to Elmhurst’s success under its new name, he predicted: “Elmhurst will become known as one of the most intimate, personally attentive universities a student could ask for, with university-sized opportunities.” Learn more at elmhurst.edu/NameChange.

Name Change FAQ Why did Elmhurst change its name?

The term “university” more accurately reflects who we are and what we do—after all, we’ve been offering graduate programs since 1998. It will also help us recruit a broader group of students by clarifying our status. What impact will the change have on an Elmhurst education?

Our new name better reflects the curriculum that we already offer. Our commitment to a liberal arts education, professional preparation, small classes and a close-knit community remains as strong as ever. Can I update my resume to reflect the new name?

Yes, you’re welcome to include the new name on your resume. You may also request a free Elmhurst University diploma to show your Bluejay pride, at elmhurst.edu/udiploma. Are we still the Bluejays?

Yes! Victor E. Bluejay will continue to cheer us on at athletic contests and other events. Our institutional logo and seal have changed slightly, but they remain true to the Elmhurst spirit.

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BY B R I A N WA L L H E I M E R

An affiliation with a prestigious vet school gives Elmhurst students early advantages.

THE PET WHISPERERS When Americans arrive home at the end of the day, the majority can expect to be greeted by a wagging tail, the purr of a puss or the chirps of a feathered friend. That’s not to mention the fish, ferrets, rabbits, reptiles and many others that inhabit our homes. Nearly 57 percent of American households have pets, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Our nicknames for them—man’s best friend, fur babies, four-legged friends—signal the undying affection many of us have for our pets. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people are inspired to take care of animals. Veterinary medicine ranks in the top three professions people aspired to as children and was the No. 1 choice in eight states, according to a Moneypenny survey. Career choices tend to change, but those who stick with it find fierce competition to get into veterinary school, with few seats available and a small percentage of applicants being admitted each year. Long odds or not, Elizabeth Walaszczyk ’21 decided in high school that she wanted to become a veterinarian. “I’ve loved working with animals since I was little,” said Walaszczyk, a biology major from Homer Glen, Ill. “I took an anatomy class in high school and learned a lot about how the body works. It just clicked, and I knew what I wanted to do.”

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THE PET WHISPERERS

So when she heard that Elmhurst had a program that could boost her chances of getting in to her preferred vet school, Walaszczyk was sold.

E L M H U R S T A D VA N T A G E

Thanks to an affiliation agreement with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Elmhurst students can apply to veterinary school at the end of their first year of college. Illinois residents who are accepted and continue to meet all of the requirements at Elmhurst have a significant advantage in securing one of UIUC’s few seats. Without the affiliation program, students with similar qualifications may have a better-than-average shot of getting into UIUC’s vet school, but it’s not guaranteed. In the fall of 2019, the school received 1,020 applications for just 130 spots. But early admission to vet school is just one of the program’s benefits. Participants can start graduate work after their junior year of college, earning both a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of veterinary medicine in less time and at less cost. And with admission after freshman year, students don’t have to bother with the GRE. “Finishing my undergrad education in three years and going straight toward my graduate education is going to be helpful,” Walaszczyk said. “I know quite a few of my peers who are applying to vet school and are starting to prepare for those tests, and they have to do it along with their education. That’s a major stressor I don’t have to deal with.

“It allows me time to do independent research with my professors and enhance my education because I’m not having to focus on these tests.” Erica Ashauer, Elmhurst’s director of preprofessional advising and a health professions advisor, said the partnership has been in place for more than a decade and offers significant advantages for aspiring veterinarians. “Some students think that they need to go to larger schools or a school with a veterinary college for undergrad, but our students have some great options,” Ashauer said. “Our students are strong when they come out of school. They

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Cats, dogs, birds … and horses?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 890,000 American households had pet horses in 2018.

PATHS TO A PROFESSION

Elmhurst students go on to programs in optometry, medicine, radiation therapy and more.

Elmhurst’s affiliation agreement with the University of Illinois’ vet school is one of 16 that give Elmhurst students special consideration or early entry into graduate school in various health fields. The programs support students planning to go into chiropractic medicine, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and many others. Students go on to do graduate work or enhance their degrees with work at Rush University, Northwestern

Memorial Hospital, the Hines VA Hospital and more. “These programs allow students to take a strong Elmhurst education and continue it seamlessly in their fields,” said Erica Ashauer, Elmurst director of preprofessional advising. “The health care industry is growing rapidly, and these affiliations show potential students that Elmhurst is set up to make them attractive candidates in their chosen professions.”

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THE PET WHISPERERS

have strong science and liberal arts backgrounds that give them well-rounded experiences going into vet school.” Jonathan Foreman, a professor and associate dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine at UIUC, said Elmhurst is one of only two schools that partner with UIUC to offer this program. “There’s clearly an incentive for these students to do well academically based on them having to meet a 3.5 GPA before they come into our program,” Foreman said. “The value to us is that we get very competent students.” He also noted that students who skip a year of school, if they choose, can leave school in less debt.

“The students get to save a year of private school tuition,” Foreman said. “The cost of attendance of seven versus eight years of college and vet school is a big issue.” GETTING AHEAD

Melissa Giese ’13, a veterinarian at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital in Skokie, said the program gave her extra time to pursue enrichment opportunities. After being accepted to the early admission program, she was able to focus more of her time and energy on gaining experience as a volunteer at exotic animal shelters. “I learned so much in a hands-on role during that time. I’ve always loved exotic species, and this experience allowed me to be much more prepared for that when I entered vet school,” said Giese, who earned her DVM at UIUC in 2017. “Elmhurst was an easy choice when I was looking at undergraduate schools because of this program.” Like Giese, Walaszczyk has her eye on working with exotic animals, and she’s eager to get started on her career. “I really want to learn as much as I can about these animals and start practicing in the field,” she said. “Getting into graduate education early will allow me to get closer to my everyday life as a vet.”

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Melissa Giese’s love of pets runs deep. Her first, from a shelter where she volunteered with her mother, was a mutt named Domino. “Taking care of him really convinced me to stay on my path as an advocate for other species,” Giese said. Since that first dog, Giese has owned leopard geckos, cockatiels, frogs, a crayfish, a bearded dragon, a hedgehog, hognose snakes and even a few bugs. Caring for such a wide range of animals—both at home and in her job as a veterinarian at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital—is a stimulating exercise for her. “The work is lot more challenging because you have to know so many more species,” Giese said. “Each animal is different, and you’re always learning something new.”

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BY A N D R E W S A N T E L L A I L LU S T R AT I O N S BY G R AC I A L A M

In an increasingly connected world, a new program trains students to solve puzzles, crack codes and hack into systems—ethically.

VIRTUAL WARRIOR The professionals responsible for protecting American businesses and governments from cyberattacks are an overworked lot these days. It’s not just that data breaches are growing more frequent and attacks more sophisticated, or that cybercriminals now threaten everything from our power grid to our elections to our personal data. It’s also that security professionals are trying to fight the bad guys shorthanded. Even as threats proliferate, the cybersecurity world is facing an acute talent shortage. Estimates suggest that by next year, more than 3 million cybersecurity jobs worldwide will go unfilled because of a dearth of qualified candidates. So if ever an academic program seemed custom-fit for a crisis moment, it would be Elmhurst’s new undergraduate program in cybersecurity. Launching this fall, the program aims to prepare students to meet the nation’s growing demand for professionals in the field. “A data breach can mean millions of dollars in losses, so companies are devoting more resources to security,” said Dean Jensen ’00, M.S. ’02, the director of Elmhurst’s program. “They need more cybersecurity professionals, and the need is growing every year.” A U N I Q U E A P P ROAC H Jensen said the program’s focus on both software and hardware makes it unique among academic programs in the area—most programs focus on one or the other.

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VIRTUAL WARRIOR

“Cybersecurity involves both hardware and software, and we want students to understand how they work in relationship with each other,” Jensen said. “This is a major for students who want to be very hands-on with technology.” Taking courses in computer science, information systems and advanced mathematics, cybersecurity students at Elmhurst will learn about cryptography, cloud security, incident response, risk management, digital forensics, ethical hacking and penetration testing. Jensen hopes to enroll 20 majors for fall 2020. The new program joins Elmhurst’s existing offerings in the field, which include a certificate program for adult students and an undergraduate minor. And it’s launching against a background of election security concerns and costly personal data breaches, including 2017’s massive hijacking of customer information at Equifax, a credit-reporting agency. This year’s response to the COVID-19 crisis focused attention on online security, too, as businesses rushed to go virtual and employees transitioned to remote work. And with everything from cars to home appliances increasingly connected to networks, vulnerabilities are on the rise. A G ROW I N G N E E D Companies determined to strengthen their defenses against cyberattacks have created a huge demand for professionals trained in the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 32 percent growth rate for cybersecurity jobs over the next decade, including analysts, engineers, cryptographers and forensics experts. According to the employment resource

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CyberSeek, more than 504,000 cybersecurity positions were open in the United States in 2019, with nearly 18,000 in Illinois alone. And these jobs pay well: The median annual salary for an information-security analyst is $98,350, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Elena Santiago ’20, who studied information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity at Elmhurst, entertained offers from several companies as she approached graduation. She accepted a position in technology risk advising with RSM, the fifth-largest accounting firm in the United States, and will begin work this summer. “It blew my socks off to get those offers,” Santiago said. “I think this field was a pretty wise choice for me.” She credited her professors with preparing her for her new career. Last year, for example, Santiago won a scholarship from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association after adjunct professor Kenneth Schmidt urged her to join the group as a student member. “I can’t say enough about the faculty and how accessible they are,” she said. Though Santiago began her studies without much knowledge about information technology, she said her classes quickly gave her a foundation of technical knowledge. She especially appreciated courses in forensics and cybercrime investigations. “The hands-on exercises are super-cool,” she said. “They reminded me of something out of Forensic Files.”


“Students want to know, ‘How do hackers break into systems?’ We give them the tools to figure that out ethically and to use that knowledge to make systems more secure.”

CRACKING CODES In the program’s course on ethical hacking, students learn to consider the same security problem from two perspectives: How would a cybercriminal attack a vulnerable system, and how could that attack be foiled or prevented? “This stuff is fascinating for students. There’s an inherent curiosity about cracking codes and solving puzzles,” Jensen said. “They want to know, ‘How do hackers break into systems?’ We give them the tools to figure that out ethically and to use that knowledge to make systems more secure.” Industry experts project the demand for cybersecurity professionals to remain high. At a congressional hearing on the cybersecurity workforce earlier this year, House Research and Technology Chair Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) said that colleges are not producing enough graduates with the needed skills and hands-on expertise. She added that the need to attract more women to the field is clear: Women account for only 20 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce. At the same hearing, Sonya Miller, human resources director for IBM Security, urged educators to emphasize soft skills such as communication and teamwork as well as technical expertise. Jensen said Elmhurst’s liberal arts focus is ideal for providing those skills and preparing well-rounded technology professionals. “Our students are not just taking math and computer science courses, they’re taking a history course, they’re taking political science, they’re taking ethics,” Jensen said. “We live in a digital environment now, and as cybersecurity creeps deeper into our daily lives, it’s no longer just theoretical or esoteric. It’s a very exciting time to be doing this.”

ILLINOIS’ BEST YO U N G C Y B E R S L E U T H S Looking for the future of online security? Daniels Hall on Elmhurst’s campus is a good place to start. That’s where members of the Elmhurst Cyber Club, from York Community High School, meet each week to practice skills like finding vulnerabilities in hypothetical operating systems and identifying ways to fix them. The club has finished first in Illinois in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for five years running (2014–2019).

“This is a generation that was born into a digital world,” said Dean Jensen, the club’s advisor and director of Elmhurst’s new cybersecurity program. He has seen the group grow from a handful to 24 members in six years. “It shows how interested kids are in getting hands-on. They can pull a computer network apart and find the flaws.”

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C E L E B R AT I N G OUR DONORS

We gratefully acknowledge the essential contributions of our President’s Circle members. Learn more and see the full list of members at elmhurst.edu/PresidentsCircle.

EMPOWER Join an elite group of leaders who are changing student lives. The President’s Circle at Elmhurst University celebrates our most generous donors. Together, these alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends empower more students to benefit from a life-changing Elmhurst education. We invite you to join the President’s Circle with an annual gift of $1,000 or more. Every gift makes a difference, and every gift is deeply appreciated.

M A K E YO U R G I F T elmhurst.edu/Give


ALUMNI NEWS In True Bluejay Spirit When the COVID-19 crisis forced Elmhurst to transition to remote learning and close the campus in March, many students faced unanticipated financial challenges. For some, moving home meant buying an expensive last-minute plane ticket. Others lacked the necessary technology for online courses or struggled with food insecurity.

Did You Know?

That’s where the Bluejay Nest Fund comes in. Established in 2018 to support students with unexpected financial needs, the fund has ramped up in response to the pandemic—and the Elmhurst community has responded in true Bluejay spirit. “We received requests for assistance with payments for essential bills—such as rent, water and electricity—and course materials,” said Monisha Murjani, director of student support services and intervention. “We also connected students to their local food banks and internet service providers for low-cost internet.” Thanks to the generosity of alumni and other supporters, the University raised more than $103,000 for the Bluejay Nest Fund as part of a global day of giving in May. By funding a variety of emergency expenses, those funds have been critical in helping students manage in a difficult time. We invite you to join us in supporting our students through the Bluejay Nest Fund. Learn more and make your gift at elmhurst.edu/BluejayNestFund.

Elmhurst was the summer home of Michael Jordan’s basketball camp for 11 years. In the 1980s and ’90s, children and teens flocked to Elmhurst from all over the country for the chance to learn from the greatest

Welcome Back, Scottie

basketball player of all

In December 2019, Scottie Williams Jr. ’13 returned to campus in a new role—director of alumni engagement.

documentary about Jordan,

As a student at Elmhurst, Williams majored in marketing and was a standout football star, earning All-American honors in addition to the 2012 Gagliardi Trophy for most outstanding player in NCAA Division III. Now he’s bringing his MVP talents to the alumni community at Elmhurst, where his goals include launching a parents club, scheduling monthly Chicagoland events for alumni, and planning Elmhurst’s first Homecoming as a university in October 2020. “As an Elmhurst graduate, you have a large network of individuals who are rooting for your success,” says Williams. “Why not stay connected to help enhance that for other students?”

time. This spring, ESPN’s The Last Dance, sparked fond memories from former campers and counselors.

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ELEVATE Take your career to the next level with a graduate degree from Elmhurst University.

Our graduate programs are practical, flexible and designed to meet your needs. Choose from more than 20 options in health care, business, education and technology—and learn to lead in a collaborative world. Apply Now! Fall classes begin Aug. 31.

N A T I O N A L LY RANKED! Three of Elmhurst’s graduate programs rank among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report: > NURSING > OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY > COMMUNICATION SCIENCES

L E A R N M O R E A N D A P P LY

AND DISORDERS

elmhurst.edu/Grad LEARN MORE

elmhurst.edu/GradRank


CLASS NOTES Our Beanie Tradition

1940s & 1950s

Grace (Janssen) Vyduna-Haskins ’49, Ed.D., published a comprehensive word study program for primary grades, The Spel-Lang Tree, which is now available online for free to schools and others who may be interested. The program, along with her blog, can be found at spel-langtree.org. The Rev. Dr. John Modschiedler ’59 was planning to drive to his 65th high school reunion in New Orleans, but it was canceled due to COVID -19. Even though Modschiedler has lived in Chicago since 1965, he says New Orleans will always be his hometown— and his favorite destination for seafood, gumbo and bread pudding.

1960s & 1970s

Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein ’61, H ’02, was recently elected to membership in the American Academy of Diplomacy. Academy members are individuals who have had distinguished careers in diplomacy or who have made notable contributions to American foreign policy.

1940s–1960s From the day they

arrived on campus until Homecoming, first-years wore Elmhurst beanies at all times—even in class!

Show us your beanie pride! Go to elmhurst.edu/ ClassNotes to share your beanie pic.

William Batte ’63 has served for the past two years on the Patient Quality Board for Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Ill. He recently joined the hospital’s Medical Ethics Committee.

Stephen Danko ’63 is enjoying his fourth year of retirement after practicing law for 50 years. He reports that he and his wife, Donna, are enjoying their time together. William Iliffe ’69 and his wife reside in Indiana, where they spent their shelterin-place time at home with their horses and alpacas. Tim Beecken ’70 recently published Mystery at Lake Nojiri (Outskirts Press) under the pen name Titus Ivan Maundrei. The novel is about an 8-year-old boy who travels to Japan and unravels a mystery while coping with bullies. Meant for advanced child readers of age 8 or older, the book is also suitable for adults. Charles Grippo ’72 presented a program, “New Opportunities to Finance Live Stage Productions,” at the National Conference of the Alliance for Jewish Theatre (AJT) in November 2019. He is a board member at large of the AJT. An entertainment attorney, commercially produced playwright and theater producer, Grippo is the author of The Stage Producer’s Business and Legal Guide and Business and Legal Forms for Theater (Allworth Press). Douglas Gorham ’73, Ed.D., coauthored Engineering Education Through Social Innovation: The Contribution of Professional Societies with Nnamdi Nwulu, a professor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E

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CLASS NOTES

Dale Haase ’76 was recently appointed to the board of directors for Affluence Corporation, a telecom infrastructure company. Haase retired as CEO of Metal Parts & Equipment Company and has more than 45 years of diversified manufacturing experience. Phyllis Anderson ’82, M.A. ’01, is the executive director of the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a nonprofit that funds medical research to improve health and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. In her spare time, Anderson is an avid bicyclist and yogi, makes handcrafted jewelry, and spends time with her daughter and two cats.

Please join us in giving a warm Bluejay welcome to Sabrina Ruff ’09, the new president of the Elmhurst Alumni Association. A political science major at Elmhurst, Ruff spent several years practicing law at a Chicago law firm before going back to school to pursue a nursing career. Prior to taking on the presidency of the Alumni Association, she served as the association’s vice president of engagement. In March, Ruff was featured as the Alumni Association’s #AlumniOfTheMonth.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Career Touchdown If you were watching the sidelines of Super Bowl LIV, you might have spotted a familiar Bluejay. Mike LaFleur ’10 returned to the Super Bowl this year as the passing coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. LaFleur’s last trip to the big game was in 2017, when he was a coach for the Atlanta Falcons. His coaching history dates back to Elmhurst, where he played as a quarterback and safety before becoming a student coach. Rev. John C. Spooner ’73 is an ordained minister. He recently published a book, Inclusive Love: Heaven’s Cry for Racial Reconciliation, which can be found on Amazon. In 2019, Spooner and his wife, attorney Pamela (McNease) Spooner ’74, celebrated 42 years of marriage.

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Richard Jeffrey ’74 is a composer for Concordia Publishing House and has written more than 100 songs and two books for the Lutheran Church– Missouri Synod. Jeffrey was a member of the Squires fraternity during his time at Elmhurst, and he continues to help organize reunions for the group. You can find his music on YouTube under the username Richard Jeffrey Composer.

1980s & 1990s

William V. Malpede ’88 won the 2019 Illinois ACDA Choral Composition Contest for “Duet,” a piece for choir based on a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. A prolific composer, Malpede has many film and television credits

to his name, including Spider-Man 3, Brokeback Mountain and Rango. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the 2017 film Cries from Syria. Paula (Akouris) Burzawa ’92 published her third award-winning book, Eternal Stones and Other Memories of Greece, a collection of travel essays based on her many trips to her family’s ancestral homeland of Greece. She is currently working on the sequel to her second novel, Tasso’s Journey. Burzawa also began a new position as a recruiter for Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights. Following her long career as an IT recruiter, Burzawa now joins the health care industry recruiting CNAs, LPNs and RNs. Marilyn DeVries ’96, MBA ’05, is the president of South Elgin, Ill.-based Nordic


Crafts, which has refocused all of its efforts into making and donating masks for local emergency and essential workers in response to the COVID -19 pandemic. Daniel Fries ’99 was named one of America’s Top Wealth Advisors for 2019 by Forbes. He also ranked No. 2 in the Best-in-State category for 2020. Fries, a wealth management advisor and certified financial planner for Merrill Lynch in Chicago, has worked in wealth and investment advisory since 2000. His philosophy is to help clients meet their personal and financial goals while minimizing risk and increasing tax efficiency to ensure an income stream during retirement, or to pass on to future generations.

FUELING A HEALTHY WORKPLACE A health services manager with CITGO Petroleum Corp., Stephanie (Green) Size ’13 oversees health services for 530 employees in the company’s Lemont refinery. Because CITGO produces petroleum and petroleum products for a variety of industries, it was deemed an essential business and remained open during the COVID -19 crisis—so Size pivoted quickly to help the company adjust its protocols to keep employees distanced and healthy. “My job is to make sure our people can safely do their jobs,” Size explains. “Our big challenge is keeping our employees healthy and working.” A nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing, Size credits Elmhurst with preparing her for success. “Elmhurst gave me a strong foundation,” she says, “and my professors helped me believe in my ability to reach my goals.”

2000s

Betsy Ortiz ’01 and her partner, Jorge Martin, welcomed a baby girl, Clarisa Itzel, on Aug. 28, 2019. Clarisa joins Lucia Sarai, who is proving to be a very loving and helpful big sister. Rev. Jason Churchill ’03 was elected chair of the board of directors for Pacem in Terris, a nonpartisan, interfaith, member-supported nonprofit that has been on the front lines of creating positive, peaceful change on the local, national and global levels. The organization is based in Wilmington, Del. D. Vincent Thomas Jr. ’04 and his wife, Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas, welcomed a baby girl, Joëlle Meshé Kizart-Thomas, on Sept. 8, 2019. A 2014 recipient of Elmhurst’s Alumni Merit Award, Thomas is a commissioned officer for the U.S. Coast Guard and a political science professor at DePaul University. He has a Ph.D. in public policy and governmental administration.

Chicago’s Muslim History A recent exhibition at the Chicago History Museum explored the city’s Muslim communities through video interviews with more than 100 local Muslims, including Obaidullah Kholwadia ’19. “American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago” combined videos with slideshows, maps, clothing and other objects to paint a vivid picture of Chicago’s Muslim communities. In his interview, Kholwadia talked about the Hijab Vault, a shop he co-founded in 2014. “I’ve been in Chicago since I was 3 years old, and my family has always been involved with the Muslim community,” says Kholwadia. “But seeing so many Muslims from different backgrounds and ethnicities really emphasizes just how involved Muslims are within American culture.” Lindsay Rosasco ’09 published a children’s book, These Words Are for You, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy following a struggle with infertility. Written in a poem format, the story puts into words the overwhelming love a parent feels for her child.

Katelyn Ditzler ’16 graduated magna cum laude with a juris doctor from Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb, Ill. S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E

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IN MEMORIAM

Eunice (Wernecke) Anderson ’45 Jan. 26, 2020, St. Louis Margaret “Peg” (Albrecht) Walker ’47 Feb. 17, 2020, Waterville, Ohio Juliette (Judy) Hance Thompson ’48 Nov. 5, 2019, Elmhurst, Ill.

COMMUNITY LEADER Elmhurst Trustee Daniel Wallace ’91 passed away on April 19. An experienced executive in the transportation leasing industry, Wallace was vice president and general manager of leasing for FreightCar America. Before being appointed to the University’s Board of Trustees in May 2019, he served on the board of the Elmhurst Alumni Association and on the association’s membership committee. As a student at Elmhurst, Wallace majored in business administration and was on the wrestling team.

A Many-Faceted Career

George Howard Baechtold ’50 passed away on December 7, 2019, at age 91. A child of the Great Depression, Baechtold studied math at Elmhurst and joined the U.S. Navy after graduation. He was commissioned as an officer in 1951 and served during the Korean War aboard a destroyer and a mine sweeper. After leaving the Navy as a full lieutenant, Baechtold earned a law degree and practiced law until the 1970s, when he found his true calling as a law professor at California State University Northridge.

Phyllis (Robinson) Best ’49 April 19, 2018, Waconia, Minn. Martin Broer ’51 Sept. 9, 2019, Iowa Falls, Iowa Ramona L. Determan ’51 Oct. 24, 2019, Seminole, Fla. Rev. Glenn A. Nowack ’51 Sept. 21, 2019, Higginsville, Mo. Philip A. Stendel ’51 Nov. 20, 2019, Jenison, Mich. Richard J. Wildberger ’51 Sept. 19, 2019, Minnetonka, Minn. Rev. Kenneth J. Mitchell ’52 Nov. 14, 2019, Claremont, Calif. Rev. Thomas J. Wosikowski ’52 Sept. 15, 2019, Madison, Wis. John W. Hyde Jr. ’54 Nov. 28, 2019, Brodheadsville, Pa. James E. Krieter ’54 Jan. 6, 2020, North Muskegon, Mich. Dr. Armin Daniel Meyer ’54 Nov. 30, 2019, Billings, Mont. Marilyn R. Williams ’56 Nov. 25, 2019, The Villages, Fla. Richard J. Roos ’57 Jan. 26, 2020, Lamar, Ind. Franklyn B. Fullmer ’58 Nov. 5, 2019, Hot Springs Village, Ark. Laura Jane (Pursell) Miller ’58 Nov. 6, 2019, Lemoyne, Pa. Arnold W. Sommerfeldt ’58 Feb. 24, 2020, Edwardsville, Ill.

TRUSTED MENTOR Brenda Forster, retired professor emerita of sociology, passed away on Feb. 28, 2020. An exceptional scholar, beloved colleague and trusted mentor, Forster joined the Elmhurst faculty in 1977 and retired in 2015. In addition to an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology, she had two nursing degrees. At Elmhurst, she played an instrumental role in developing the intercultural studies program and was an early participant in the university’s First-Year Seminar program.

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Rev. Robert W. Koller ’59 Jan. 8, 2020, Green Bay, Wis. Rev. Dr. Jon C. Schultz ’59 Oct. 31, 2019, Madison, Wis. Rev. Lawrence E. Becker ’60 Nov. 1, 2019, Evansville, Ind. Alan J. Kromholz ’60 March 19, 2020, Sebring, Fla. Arlene E. (McBride) Scase ’60 March 31, 2020, McHenry, Ill. Judith (Boese) Rosselli ’61 March 6, 2020, Estero, Fla.


Anne K. Geadelmann ’63 Nov. 29, 2019, Cedar Falls, Iowa Paul H. McKee ’66 Nov. 26, 2019, Aurora, Ill. Dr. Harold J. Schippits ’66 Dec. 21, 2019, Bloomington, Minn. Diane (LaBombard) Hall ’67 Feb. 22, 2020, Irving, N.Y. Rev. Jack D. Karpenske ’67 Jan. 12, 2020, Lynchburg, Va. Margery A. Veatch ’68 Oct. 6, 2019, Thomasville, N.C. Walter R. Haden ’69 Dec. 15, 2019, Libertyville, Ill. Laura D. Picerno ’69 March 30, 2020, Oak Brook, Ill. Stephen E. Gothard ’70 Dec. 1, 2019, La Grange, Ill. Pamela R. (Bestwina) Roberts ’70 Feb. 4, 2020, Oak Brook, Ill. Robert Hutchins ’71 April 1, 2020, Nellysford, Va. Patricia (Washington) Hayes-Hunt ’72 March 6, 2020, Glenn Dale, Md. Shirley J. True ’72 Dec. 6, 2019, Downers Grove, Ill. Barbara (Wisniewski) Owings ’75 Jan. 17, 2020, Scottsdale, Ariz. Rita M. (Lersch) Koziol ’79 Nov. 12, 2019, Countryside, Ill. Martin “Marty” Hughes ’80 Dec. 30, 2019, Hillside, Ill. Elaine (Hemwall) Van Wieren ’80 Dec. 12, 2019, Oak Park, Ill.

TRAILBLAZER Suellen Rocca, an internationally known artist and a longtime educator and director of exhibitions at Elmhurst, died on March 26 at the age of 76. Rocca was a founding member of the Hairy Who, a visionary artists group formed in Chicago in 1966 that was known for vibrant, graphic, gleefully insubordinate works. Writing in The New York Times, Randy Kennedy called her “a fiercely original artist whose hieroglyphic, phantasmagoric work poked a finger in the eye of late-20th-century modernist purities.” As curator and director of exhibitions at Elmhurst, Rocca oversaw Elmhurst’s collection of Chicago Imagist and Abstractionist Art, which includes several Hairy Who works. As a member of the art faculty at Elmhurst, she was also a mentor to generations of students.

Putting Students First

Deatra Sullivan-Morgan, associate professor of communications, passed away on Nov. 24, 2019. A member of the Elmhurst faculty since 2000, she was a beloved mentor who always put students first—from buying groceries and textbooks for students in need to creating a safe space where students could be themselves. She received a Faculty Appreciation Award from Sigma Kappa Sorority, served as faculty advisor to the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and was a member of the Honors Committee. Her daughter, Jessica Sullivan-Wilson, graduated from Elmhurst in 2010.

Marvin L. Weitzenfeld ’80 Nov. 16, 2019, Hot Springs Village, Ark. Ronald J. Butcher ’82 Oct. 7, 2019, Des Plaines, Ill. John R. Roth ’82 Oct. 29, 2019, Naperville, Ill. Ruth E. Economos ’87 Nov. 18, 2019, Arlington Heights, Ill. Richard T. Graham ’93 March 15, 2020, Crystal Lake, Ill. CORRECTION In the Fall 2019 issue of Prospect, an In Memoriam story about the Thomas Roberts Family Weight Room neglected to mention that the weight room is located in Tyrrell Fitness Center. Prospect regrets the omission.

LIFELONG LEARNER

Samuel Lee Ostrin, a retired emergency department physician and an enthusiastic noncredit student at Elmhurst, died on October 13, 2019. He was 79. After retiring from Glen Oaks Hospital, Ostrin signed up for a class at Elmhurst and kept coming back. “I’m taking classes I would never have considered in my youth,” Ostrin told the Chicago Tribune in 2003. “If I had to tell what the experience [of going back to college] is like, I would say I have found the fountain of youth. It is five blocks from where I live and it is called Elmhurst College.” S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E

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MY CAREER

PATH

STARTUP JOURNEY Meagan Shaver ’13 came to. Elmhurst to play volleyball. She graduated with real-life. skills and a sense of purpose.

I was able to try so many different things at Elmhurst and grow as a leader, which has helped me throughout my career. I played NCAA Division III volleyball. My roommate and I had a weekly radio show where we talked about college basketball, hip-hop and trending topics on Twitter. I went to Senegal for two weeks with the Black Student Union and felt what it was like to give something back.

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One of my favorite experiences was the Chicago Semester. I lived downtown and learned everything about the city—the neighborhoods, the different cultures, important issues in education and social justice. I also interned at the National Hellenic Museum, shooting videos and creating digital content. The whole experience was eye-opening and confidence-building. Now I’m the founder and CEO of my own startup, Louisville Scoop! After working for a few years in digital

P RO S P E C T M AG A Z I N E S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

marketing and TV, I moved back to Louisville and started a digital media company focused on millennials. We’ve only been around a year, but I hope to branch out to other cities as Scoop News—a destination for the best places to eat, play and work. When I think back on my Elmhurst experience, I’ll always remember the focus on purpose—finding our purpose in life. That’s continued to resonate with me on my career path, trying to always live my purpose and stay on my journey.


OCTOBER 1–4

JOIN US FOR OUR FIRST HOMECOMING AS

ELMHURST UNIVERSITY!

LE ARN MO RE elmhurst.edu/homecoming


Elmhurst University 190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296

The mission of our university, our legacy in Reinhold Niebuhr’s call for social justice, and our concern for our collective future compel us to stand as a community with those who protest the racism that plagues our society. –

E LMHURST UNI V ER SIT Y INSTI TUTIONAL STATEMEN T ON R AC ISM Read the full statement at elmhurst.edu/Statement.

Profile for Elmhurst University

Prospect Magazine, Summer 2020  

The Summer 2020 issue highlights our historic name change, a prestigious pre-vet partnership and the University's new cybersecurity major.

Prospect Magazine, Summer 2020  

The Summer 2020 issue highlights our historic name change, a prestigious pre-vet partnership and the University's new cybersecurity major.

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