Prospect Magazine, Fall 2022

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THE MAGAZINE OF ELMHURST UNIVERSITY

TAKING ROOT Leading the Way in STEM Education

FALL ����


Fall 2022

v o l u m e v, n u m b e r

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C OV E R A N D I N S I D E F R O N T C OV E R P H OTO S BY B O B C O S C A R E L L I

The Magazine of Elmhurst University

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F E AT U R E S

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Elmhurst is leading a regional effort to help more students find a home in STEM careers.

Through Elmhurst’s broadcast station, WRSE, students find their voices on the air.

A partnership with a local community organization boosts kids’ reading skills while expanding horizons for Elmhurst students.

Taking Root

D E PA R T M E N T S

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CAMPUS NEWS

39 ALUMNI NEWS

Radio Active

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40 HOMECOMING

I N T H E CLASS ROOM

Crossing Borders: Sociology Capstone B E YON D T H E CLASS ROOM

Alex Grossman, Game On! Brenda Gorman, The Language of Learning

4 3 C L ASS N OT E S

Kamauri Cowsen, A Champion of Support

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

18 Read the magazine online at elmhurst.edu/Prospect.

Nurturing Literacy

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

Sporting Chances: �� Years of Title IX A RTS S P OT L I G H T

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The Magazine of Elmhurst University

Fall 2022

volume v , number

11

INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

Lauren Galvin SENIOR DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS

Desiree Chen CREATIVE DIRECTION AND DESIGN

Laura Ress Design EDITOR

Margaret Currie PROJECT MANAGER

Natalie Bieri ’18 CONTRIBUTORS

Emily Ayshford, Leo Ebersole, Molly Heim, Amy Merrick, Brian Moore, Andrew Santella, Scott Steinberg PHOTOGRAPHY

Justin Cook, Bob Coscarelli, Lenny Gilmore, Rob Hart, Steve Kuzminski, Sarah Nader, Stacey Wescott/ Chicago Tribune/TCA ILLUSTRATION

Bruce Hutchison, Captain Kris, Keith Negley, Lucie Rice, Geraldine Sy ALUMNI NEWS AND CLASS NOTES

Jon-Pierre Bradley, Andrew Knap, Colleen Radzevich, Amy Young ’21 CONNECT WITH US

We welcome your comments! Email us at marketing@elmhurst.edu.

P H OTO BY B O B C O S C A R E L L I

Prospect is published twice a year by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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Elmhurst University 190 Prospect Ave. Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 © 2022 Elmhurst University All rights reserved.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

MAKING HISTORY— AGAIN

Our sesquicentennial celebrations may have ended this past spring, but we’re continuing to make history. This fall, we welcomed our largest group of new students ever, including a record number of first-year undergraduate and graduate students. Over the summer, the University also completed its best-ever fundraising year, surpassing $10.1 million for the first time. And, building on a trend of significant philanthropic contributions to the University over the past several years, the funds raised in fiscal year 2022 recently helped us exceed the historic $50 million goal of Elmhurst 150: The Campaign for Elmhurst University. It is gratifying to see that, as our student population has grown, support— academic, institutional and philanthropic—from across our campus community is rising to meet their needs. In this issue of Prospect, you can read about how an alliance of schools, led by Elmhurst, supports and nurtures students majoring in STEM; how our venerable radio station has given generations of students the opportunity to find their voices; and how an innovative literacy program enables our students to work with underserved elementary pupils on developing their critical skills. I know I say it often, but it is truly an exciting time to be at Elmhurst. And in this season of giving thanks, I could not be more appreciative of how we come together to help our Bluejays spread their wings and soar.

TROY D. VANAKEN

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IN THE

CLASSROOM

CROSSING BORDERS

THE CLASS

Sociology and Criminal Justice Capstone Seminar

THE PROFESSOR

READY FOR THE NEXT STEP

Emily Navarro

Since one of the goals of capstone courses is to prepare students for the work they will do after graduation, we emphasize experiential learning outside the classroom. The students apply what they have learned so far in their major to their specific career goals. The course prepares students for their next steps, the work they will do after graduation, in jobs or in graduate school.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY

POWERFUL ENCOUNTERS

In a capstone course for sociology and criminal justice majors, students work with young immigrants seeking asylum.

Students in my course did service work at two hospitality homes in Chicago that serve young immigrants seeking asylum. Residents of these homes have aged out of the detention centers for children under 18; the homes provide not just housing but also help finding jobs and educational access. My students designed and led self-care workshops for the residents. They were working with young people of almost exactly their age, so they could imagine themselves in the situation of an immigrant trying to navigate a new culture. Hearing their stories firsthand helped my students understand the courage of these young people. A PASSION FOR RESEARCH

I became interested in immigration when I was in high school and got to

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know a few migrant students in my hometown in Michigan. After working in refugee resettlement and teaching English in migrant camps there, I made childhood immigration the subject of my doctoral dissertation. My new book, Unaccompanied: The Plight of Immigrant Youth at the Border (NYU Press), is based on interviews with young immigrants and the aid workers, attorneys and others who try to help them. It is gratifying to see my students become interested in the topic that I am so passionate about. Some of them have decided to make immigration their focus. To have them come to share my passion for the topic—that’s what any researcher in any field hopes for. WORKING WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART

As sociology and criminal justice majors, some of my students will be working in difficult environments and with people who have experienced significant trauma. In my work, I read and hear about horrific things every day. So we have conversations about secondary trauma, and about how to protect yourself and care for yourself. It is an important concern for them in their future careers: How do I engage in this work with my whole heart, without letting it consume me?


THE STUDENT VIEW

“I am grateful I had the chance to get to know the women I worked with at Bethany House of Hospitality. We all came from different places and had completely different life experiences, but that didn’t prevent us from bonding and forming relationships.” — AMANDA BISCEGLIE ’23

I L L U S T R AT I O N BY K E I T H N E G L E Y

SOCIOLOGY MAJOR

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CAMPUS

NEWS

OFF THE CHARTS Elmhurst University recently closed the books on its best fundraising year in institutional history.

During fiscal year 2022, the University raised over $10.1 million, the most ever raised in one year by the institution and nearly $130,000 more than the previous fiscal year.

CAMPUS TREES ���

In Elmhurst’s 150th anniversary year, more than 2,350 individual gifts were made in support of scholarships, the endowment, the annual fund and other priorities.

“Our sesquicentennial gave us a number of wonderful opportunities for our students, alumni and friends to come together around our shared bonds with the University,” President Troy D. VanAken said. “It also was a time to celebrate the impact and importance of philanthropy for our campus.”

HASHTAG

HIGHLIGHTS

It’s a great time to be a Bluejay! From a kayak expedition to an alumnus on TV, we’re covering it all on social media. Follow us on your favorite channel to see what’s trending.

At the southwest edge of the University Mall stands a young Castor aralia, a deciduous tree featuring large leaves with five to seven lobes. With its dense canopy and small white flowers, the tree brings a tropical vibe to this corner of campus. Elmhurst University Alumni Association Alumni Kayak Outing 2022: Had a blast with Alumni and friends at the SOLD OUT alumni Kayak event! Attendees gathered to traverse the Chicago River while experiencing the beautiful sights and sounds of the city.

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@eu_theatredance summer highlights: round 3 Kevin Patrick: Kevin has spent some time this summer working as an actor for Chicago Med and Fire!

🚒🔥


SPEAKER

Q&A STEPHANIE IZARD

Chicago Dish: A Chefs Roundtable

RICK BAYLESS

BEVERLY KIM

Prospect spoke with acclaimed Chicago chefs Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard and Beverly Kim when they came to campus on Oct. 6 to dish about their craft and advocating for others.

through that same strange experience, and having that network helps with other things in my career.

How did you become chefs?

KIM: The pandemic slowed my pace and finally let me work on creating The Abundance Setting, a support network and community for working mothers in the culinary industry. There are systemic issues regarding why women drop out of the industry, and addressing those is something I really care about.

KIM: When I was 16 my sister said I should look into

becoming a chef, so I wrote letters to famous chefs in Chicago asking if I could shadow them. One who wrote back was Sarah Stegner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. I worked for her and fell in love with the dance in the kitchen. BAYLESS: I was born into the restaurant business; my family

owned a barbecue place. In college I studied Spanish, linguistics and Latin American studies, and went to graduate school, but eventually found my way back to food as an expression of my interest in culture. And in 1987, I opened Frontera Grill. IZARD: When I went away to college, I didn’t even think about cooking as a career. But when I decided to go to culinary school, the moment I set foot in my first class, I knew I had found my people.

Was competing on Top Chef as hard as it looked? BAYLESS: Psychologically, it was incredibly difficult—you never knew what was going to get thrown at you. You’re just trying to quickly come up with an idea for something that’s not going to make you look stupid. But I enjoyed the spontaneous creativity of it. KIM: It was so difficult to be away from my support system for so long, especially my child. But it gave me a lot of strength to do other things that were really hard in my life. IZARD: The best thing I got out of it was the friends I made

there. Now, in any city I go to, I meet chefs who also went

Tell us about your advocacy work.

BAYLESS: I’m one of those chefs who sees a need and wants to figure out a way to solve that problem. That’s how we started the Frontera Farm Foundation. We needed the few farms we were working with to produce more stuff. Over the last 18 years we’ve invested in about 200 farms and given away $3 million in microloans. IZARD: During the pandemic I worked with Equality Should Be Normal, which was helping folks on the South Side of Chicago to find their way—finish high school, get into college, have a safe space to come to. Also Common Threads, a great organization that celebrates the common thread among all of us—food.

What keeps you inspired? IZARD: Chefs are all a little bit crazy. There’s almost an addiction to opening new restaurants and doing new things and encouraging people on your team to grow. KIM: Doing hard things, creating solutions, is really powerful. BAYLESS: One of the things that keeps me going is the people

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CAMPUS

NEWS ON TO THEIR

NEXT ADVENTURES Two esteemed members of the University community retired in the fall. Please join us in wishing them well.

Admission Record-Setter

TIMOTHY RICORDATI led the University’s admission

operations and recruitment initiatives for the past five years as the vice president for admission. Under his leadership, the University experienced record enrollments, including the largest class of new students in Elmhurst’s history—1,410—for the 2022–23 academic year. The University also saw increases in graduate student and international student enrollment. Ricordati began at Elmhurst in 2012 as the founding dean of the School for Professional Studies (now the School of Graduate Studies). In addition to his work with admission, he co-chaired the University’s Innovation Committee.

Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers For two decades, when the University’s education students were ready to try teaching in a real-life classroom, JUDITH KAMINSKI was there to help. As field director in what is now the School of Education, Kaminski established long-standing partnerships with school districts throughout DuPage and Cook counties that allowed teacher candidates to gain hands-on experience with veteran teachers and their students. Kaminski leaves a lasting legacy at Elmhurst because of her efforts to develop and continue this network of districts for 20-plus years, helping to influence and inspire many future educators.

NEWS BRIEFS KIMBERLY LAWLER-SAGARIN,

PROFESSOR

HUGH MCLEAN is the new

associate dean of the faculty,

THOMAS SAW-

chair of the Elmhurst Univer-

was selected to participate in

YER, chair of

sity Board of Trustees. He first

the 2022–23 Senior Leadership

the psychology

joined the Board in 1998 and has

Academy, a prestigious

department,

served on several committees,

professional development

won several

including audit and business.

HAILEY NICHOLAS ’23

opportunity sponsored by

medals at the

RECEIVED a prestigious Udall

the Council of Independent

American Taekwondo Asso-

Undergraduate Scholarship

Colleges and the American

ciation’s 2022 Worlds tourna-

from the Udall Foundation. An

Academic Leadership Institute.

ment. At Elmhurst, he teaches

environmental studies major,

a First-Year Seminar on the

Nicholas is the first Elmhurst

martial arts.

student to win the award.

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R ECOR D -SET TING

ENROLLMENT

This fall, Elmhurst welcomed its largest class of new students ever, including record numbers of first-year undergraduates and graduate students. A total of 1,410 new students started at Elmhurst in fall 2022, a 16 percent increase over last year. At the same time, an increase in the rate at which first-year students return for a second year helped raise the University’s total student headcount to 3,780, compared with 3,564 in fall 2021.

The new class includes a diverse group of more than 600 first-year Bluejays, half of whom identify as first-generation college students. They are joined by nearly 350 transfer students, 45 distance-learning nursing students, 361 graduate students and 17 students in the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA). Also included among the new students are 112 international students representing 21 countries. “When students have a welcoming and seamless experience before they even apply to Elmhurst, all the way to the point of registration and the first day of classes, we know we have served them well,” said Christine Grenier ’06, vice president for admission. “We’re delighted to welcome the largest class in Elmhurst history.”

BY THE

NUMBERS Elmhurst University shattered enrollment records this fall when it welcomed its largest class of incoming students in school history. Here are some of the numbers that tell the story. TOTAL NEW STUDENTS

1,410 FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

617 FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS OF COLOR

53% NEW TRADITIONAL TRANSFER STUDENTS

349 NEW GRADUATE STUDENTS

361

NEWS BRIEFS

Camino de Santiago

THINKERS360 RECOGNIZED Cascading Leadership, a podcast co-hosted by MBA

TWO MEMBERS OF THE

Program Director

ELMHURST UNIVERSITY

Lawrence Brown, as

COMMUNITY were invited to

a top 100 thought-

participate in a panel about

leadership podcast.

the Camino de Santiago at

The program highlights

William & Mary. Professor

the leadership journeys

Beatriz Gómez Acuña presented

of women, minorities

a paper on mindfulness, and

and immigrants.

HOME STATES AMONG STUDENT BODY

40 NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

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Gabe Galindo ’23 spoke about his video project.

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CAMPUS

NEWS

� FRIENDS, � GOAL

Three alumni, friends for more than 50 years, have endowed a scholarship to encourage more African American students to attend Elmhurst University. Anthony Boone ’71, Rosie Phillips Davis ’71 and Steven Jemison ’72 established the scholarship fund this fall to support not only African American students but also their alma mater. Jemison is the retired chief legal officer and secretary of Procter & Gamble Company and a member of the Elmhurst University Board of Trustees. Davis is a professor of counseling psychology at the University of Memphis, as well as an Elmhurst trustee. Boone is the associate general counsel at Pentair Water Pool and Spa Inc., in Sanford, N.C. The three met at Elmhurst as students in the late ’60s—Boone and Davis arriving from Memphis, Jemison from Chicago—and hit it off right away. Years later, after noting a decline nationally in the number of African American students attending college, they decided “to do something about it, from our little corner,” Jemison said.

“We all came from very poor backgrounds, but Elmhurst decided we were worth it and gave us enough to go, and the idea that we can come full circle and make a difference as three good friends after all these years is very meaningful for us.” To contribute to the Boone, Jemison, Phillips Davis Scholarship Fund, visit elmhurst.edu/Give.

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SURPASSING THE GOAL

In October, the University officially exceeded the overall $50 million goal of its comprehensive fundraising campaign, the largest in University history. ’

“This is wonderful news and demonstrates our commitment to the success of both current and future Elmhurst students,” President Troy D. VanAken said. “I am confident that we can sustain the momentum until all of our campaign priorities are met.”

A GAME-CHANGING GRANT The University has been awarded a $3.4 million federal grant that will significantly enhance support for Hispanic and underserved students on campus, and will help to establish a “one-stop” resource center for students and their families. The goal of the Elmhurst Center for Excellence and Achievement/Centro Para la Excelencia y el Logro will be to assist students not only with academic resources but also with social services to help remove barriers to pursuing an education. Other goals include supplementing the “FirstYear Seminar” program to ease students’ transition to college; hiring additional staff; starting a fund to help students participate in internships, study away and research; and providing faculty development on culturally responsive pedagogy. “I am so excited for the opportunities this grant will create—not only for our Hispanic students, but for our entire campus community,” President Troy D. VanAken said.


ON THE RISE

Elmhurst University is among the top 10 colleges and universities in the Midwest when it comes to social mobility and innovation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest college rankings.

A DEFINING

STUDY

The University also rose to No. 13 among the overall Best Regional Universities in the Midwest—and to No. 1 in that category in the state of Illinois.

Elmhurst ranks No. 8 this year—up 11 places from last year—in the category of Top Performers on Social Mobility, which recognizes institutions that have successfully enrolled and graduated large proportions of economically disadvantaged students. About half of Elmhurst’s undergraduate students are the first in their families to attend college, and 100 percent receive some form of financial aid. The University ranked No. 9 among the Most Innovative Schools in the Midwest, a category that recognizes innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. Elmhurst also rose two spots, to No. 20, on the list of Best Colleges for Veterans. And it continues to rank among the top 20 institutions in the Midwest in the categories of Best Value and Best Undergraduate Teaching.

A new book by Russell Ford, professor of philosophy, shines a light on the early research of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Experience and Empiricism: Hegel, Hume, and the Early Deleuze (Northwestern University Press, 2022) examines Deleuze’s first book, Empiricism and Subjectivity, and argues that to be properly understood, the book needs to be seen in the context of the larger debate over experience and empiricism. “Ford not only offers a new interpretation of Deleuze’s first book on Hume, but he paints a compelling portrait of intellectual ferment of the post-war period in which it was written,” wrote Daniel W. Smith, author of Essays on Deleuze. “Ford’s book will become the defining study of this early period of Deleuze’s career.”

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT Elmhurst’s tradition of excellence in the classroom has not changed, but the University’s academic structure has, in a subtle but important way. In July, the University’s Office of Academic Affairs launched a reorganization of the 35-plus academic departments and programs on campus into six new schools:

• The School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences • The School of Business • The School of Education • The School of Graduate Studies • The School of Health Sciences • The School of Science, Technology and Mathematics A new academic leadership team guides planning and decision-making, and each school has its own dean.

“A new structure was needed to meet the evolving needs of our faculty, students and academic programs, and I’m pleased that our faculty endorsed this school model,” said Dean Pribbenow, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “I look forward to working with this talented group of deans to provide strategic and meaningful leadership to Academic Affairs and the University.” FA L L 2 0 2 2

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

STUDENTS

GAME ON! A former Top 300–ranked North American player in popular firstperson shooter video game Overwatch, Elmhurst senior Alex “DonCheadleOW” Grossman knows what it takes to compete against the best players in the online gaming world. And as coach of the University’s fast-growing esports team, the digital media major helps other students hone their competitive skills and passes along key insights—both in-game and out. “I get to help people achieve their maximum potential in both the real and virtual worlds,” he says with pride.

senior year in high school has grown into a passion for esports coaching and management. Grossman got involved with Elmhurst’s esports team when members noticed him streaming his games online, saw that he had a knack for strategy and reached out to him. What started small—with just a group of Elmhurst gamers dedicated to playing Super Smash Bros.—has blossomed under his tutelage into a thriving team that now competes in popular titles such as League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, Apex Legends and Valorant.

Seeing his role as little different than Growing up with now-classic systems that of a traditional sports coach, such as the original Microsoft Xbox Grossman says he enjoys teaching life and Nintendo’s GameCube, Grossman lessons every bit as much as giving (who also boasts a minor in film studies) gameplay tips. envisioned making films for a living. But a chance encounter with the “Inside the game, we can work on professional gaming scene during his players’ aim and situational awareness,

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As the coach of Elmhurst’s esports team, Alex Grossman helps his peers put points on the board. as well as their attitude and ability to keep a cool demeanor,” he says.

“But outside of the game, we’re also making sure that our players develop persistence and discipline and are getting enough sleep, exercising and actively socializing. We also work on promoting accountability and good sportsmanship.” Grossman plans to continue his career in esports management after graduation. Meanwhile, he anticipates that Elmhurst’s esports team will remain one of the most popular activities on campus during the 2022–23 school year. “I fell in love with the program and saw its potential,” he says. “It’s a super fun experience for everyone involved.”


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I L L U S T R AT I O N BY C A P TA I N K R I S


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

FACULTY Professor Brenda Gorman is helping to make continuing education and professional development more accessible to health care professionals across Ecuador.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEARNING As hard as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, it hit developing nations even harder, putting further strain on already limited health care resources and funding.

“Access to information and resources is such a privilege, and we here in America often take it for granted,” Gorman notes. “Illness isn’t bound by any borBrenda Gorman, a bilingual speechders, and from health care to language pathologist and professor of education and disability, we all communication sciences and disorders have responsibilities that we at Elmhurst, has worked extensively have to meet as global citizens.” with diverse populations. So when the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association invited her to help bring professional development tools and training methods to health care professionals in need across Ecuador, her answer was an enthusiastic yes.

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the chance to collect data, contribute to training programs and experience firsthand what it’s like to conduct research abroad. “The program has provided many learning opportunities, and it’s been an awesome experience overall,” she says. The project, which is ongoing, isn’t just providing education to health care professionals. It’s also helping government and academic leaders in North and South America build bridges to opportunity.

Working with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health, Gorman has brought live and virtual health care programming to more than 100 “What I observed in Ecuador was speech-language therapists and other incredible—so many extremely caregivers throughout the nation, dedicated and hardworking people providing training on everything from finding creative ways to adapt to alternative communication techniques ongoing challenges,” Gorman says. to best practices in telehealth. “We’re thrilled to help provide them with greater access to information, She also studied the impact of these continuing education and professional efforts and involved several Elmhurst development.” students in the project, giving them


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

ALUMNI

A CHAMPION OF SUPPORT Kamauri Cowsen found confidence on the field— and now advocates for at-risk teens in his hometown.

For Kamauri Cowsen ’22, much of his success in life can be attributed to one thing: a good network. Though he struggled early in life with Asperger’s syndrome, he found confidence at his high school in Calumet City, Ill., where he played offensive line for the football team. The team, his coaches and teachers all helped him succeed, encouraging him to work hard to secure his future. Cowsen’s mother made sure he applied to colleges and suggested Elmhurst. After visiting campus and learning about the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA), a postsecondary certificate program for young adults with differing abilities, he decided to apply. “It was a good fit,” he says. “I just felt comfortable. I felt like I belonged.”

fans—and he found that they helped build team chemistry. Cowsen knew he had found a group that would always have his back. Even after a torn ACL sidelined him, he stuck around on the team.

“Even though I wasn’t on the field with my brothers, I still had that bond with them,” he says. After graduating, Cowsen leaned on his network to find a job as a dean’s assistant at the Center for Alternative Learning, an alternative school in his hometown for high school students at risk of dropping out or failing. Now, he helps kids get back on track so they can improve their GPAs and return to their home schools.

“Some of these kids are dealing with a At Elmhurst, Cowsen found his lot of personal problems, and my goal new support system on the football is to reach them,” Cowsen says. “I tell team, where he played defensive line. them that not long ago, I was in their Game days were his favorite experishoes. I stay on them and work to be ence—playing on Saturday afternoons, that support system for them so they feeding off the excitement of the can succeed.”

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I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y L U C I E R I C E

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SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

SPORTING CHANCES Elmhurst celebrates the transformative impact of Title IX. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 has created an explosion of opportunity for women in varsity and youth sports that would have been unimaginable a half-century ago. That legacy is most visible in athletic departments such as Elmhurst’s, where women now compete in 10 varsity sports. Nationally, nearly 3.5 million girls play high school sports and more than 200,000 women play NCAA sports. Elmhurst offered athletic opportunities for women long before Title IX became law. Women competed in intercollegiate tennis in 1940, just a decade after the college welcomed its first female students, and 18

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there were intramural teams in archery, badminton, basketball, field hockey, table tennis and volleyball. But at Elmhurst and at colleges and universities across the country, interest and opportunities in women’s sports truly took off in the wake of Title IX. Since it became law, thousands of women have competed for Elmhurst, graduated and gone on to professional success, helping to increase representation for women in the process. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, here’s a look back at some of the women who helped create Elmhurst’s legacy of athletic opportunity.


CHAMPIONSHIP TRADITION

The volleyball teams of the 1980s earned their place in college history with an unprecedented run of success. The 1983 volleyball team won the NCAA Division III championship, the first national title for any Elmhurst team. The volleyballers then repeated that accomplishment in 1985, before finishing as national runnersup in 1987. All three teams were inducted into the Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame.

IN A LEAGUE OF HER OWN

Audrey Wagner ’50 earned 1948 Player of the Year honors in the AllAmerican Girls Professional Baseball League, batting a league-leading .312 for the Kenosha Comets, while a student at Elmhurst. (School came first for Wagner, who skipped the team’s spring training trip to Havana in 1947 to focus on her studies.) After graduation, she earned a medical degree at the University of Illinois and practiced medicine in California. She died in 1984.

BUSY BLUEJAY

It would be hard to top the success track and cross-country star Kathleen Brice ’04 had in the 2002–03 school year, when she earned three All-America honors. In total, Brice captured six All-America honors in her four years as a Bluejay.

WINNING NUMBER

Therese Dorigan ’88 is the only Elmhurst student-athlete to have been honored by having her number retired. A member of the 1985 national championship volleyball team and the 1987 runners-up, Dorigan was a two-time All-American, three-time Academic AllAmerican and National Player of the Year in 1987. Her No. 14 jersey is proudly displayed in the lobby of Faganel Hall.

HALL-OF-FAME FIRST

Charlotte Scott Bell, a 1972 graduate and tennis standout, was the first woman to be inducted into the Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame, in 1982.

A TRADITION CONTINUES

Elmhurst’s women continued to collect athletic honors in the 2021–22 school year, with the volleyball, track and field and lacrosse teams earning team academic excellence awards from their respective national coaches organizations. FA L L 2 0 2 2

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ARTS SPOTLIGHT

IN THE KEY OF LIFE

P H OTO S B Y J U S T I N C O O K

Gina Venier’s musical journey lands her in the spotlight.

Gina Venier ’12 is gaining recognition today as a Nashville singer and songwriter, but her career has been the work of a lifetime. At age 6, she learned to play the drums. At 13, she convinced her parents to buy her a guitar by performing a set of Avril Lavigne songs. High school brought talent shows and band practices. At Elmhurst, Venier continued developing as a musician, posting videos on YouTube and booking gigs at the Roost and the Frick Center. She also played on the softball team and suited up as Victor E. Bluejay, the school’s mascot, for women’s basketball games. “I loved every second of college,” she says. “I have some of my best, closest friends that I found there.” 20

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Kevin O’Donnell, Elmhurst’s Catholic co-chaplain at the time, also became a mentor. Venier accompanied him on mission trips to Bolivia and Mexico, and they still talk monthly. Through her college experiences, Venier felt accepted—as an individual and as a person of faith. “Elmhurst was very open about diversity and all walks of life,” she says. “It was one of the first schools to ask on its application about being part of the LGBTQ community.” Venier studied communications and envisioned becoming a sports broadcaster, but the pull of music was stronger. After trying out the Chicago scene for a year, she moved to Nashville. Competing on Season 14 of American Idol,


where she made it to the top 24 female contestants, helped her book more shows and festivals. In 2020, Venier began putting out her own music, which she describes as “altcountry,” heavily influenced by R&B and pop. Her breakthrough single, “Nora Jane,” released in 2022, describes her real-life experience of coming out to her family. “I’m afraid everyone I love won’t love me the same/ When I tell ’em your name, Nora Jane,” Venier sings. Though the song is about her personal story, Venier’s fans often tell her that it’s their story too. “I had a lady come up and say, ‘My Nora Jane was my Black husband who I

brought home 35 years ago,’” she recalls. “She started crying, and then she brought him to the show the next night.” Buoyed by her recent success, Venier is getting bigger opportunities. This year, she took the main stage at Nashville Pride and played at Lollapalooza. Now she’s writing songs for her next project. “It’s still all that grind, just more intentional, more polished,” she says. “I’m shifting focus, figuring out who I am as an artist and exactly what I want to say. That’s life’s goal: to be your truest self.”

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BY ANDREW SANTELLA PHOTOGRAPHY BY BOB COSCARELLI

TAKING ROOT

Elmhurst is leading a regional effort to help more students find a home in STEM fields.

Norbaya Durr ’22 spent much of the summer of 2021 on the roof of the Frick Center at Elmhurst University. Durr, who will graduate in January, was conducting plant ecology research with Assistant Professor Kelly Mikenas, and their laboratory was the 4,000-square-foot green roof the University planted atop the student union in 2019. Battered by sun and wind, green roofs can be inhospitable to all but the most tenacious plant species. Mikenas and Durr wanted to test ways to adjust soil conditions on the roof so that more plant species could thrive there. So most days, Durr would clamber up to the roof via a fixed ladder deep inside the Frick Center, sometimes lugging plant trays or a backpack full of gear. The climb never failed to thrill.

“Working on the roof was like stepping out of my own world and into another one,” she said. “I liked feeling immersed in nature and able to do valuable work with my hands. That’s when I decided that I wanted to pursue plant ecology in graduate school.”

First Steps Toward STEM Careers

Durr is just one of many students who have taken their first steps toward careers in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics— with a leg up from $2.75 million in grants from the National Science Foundation. The grants from the NSF, beginning in 2019, established a pair of projects, each funded for five years, to support students at Elmhurst and other universities who are from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. The FASST (Financial and Academic Support for STEM Transfers) program provides scholarships for high-achieving, low-income transfer students, as well

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Norbaya Durr ’22 (left) and Assistant Professor Kelly Mikenas study plants on the green roof atop the Frick Center.

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TAKING ROOT as a summer course on the scientific method and other activities to promote academic preparedness and a sense of community. The PUMA-STEM (Promoting Underrepresented Minorities in Academic STEM) program created an alliance of eight Chicago-area colleges and universities to provide summer research experiences for undergraduates. Elmhurst is the lead institution and awardee of the PUMA-STEM grant, and Elmhurst President Troy D. VanAken is the grant’s principal investigator. “The members of this alliance all share the desire to increase success among underrepresented students in STEM areas,” VanAken said. “Elmhurst is honored to be taking the lead on this grant.” Students from any of the Alliance’s member colleges and universities may apply to collaborate with participating faculty researchers from any of the Alliance institutions, dramatically increasing the number and variety of research opportunities for students.

“This is all about institutions working together to support our students, and to help them graduate,” said Assistant Professor Eve Mellgren, the PUMA-STEM project director. “It’s a unique alliance and our hope is that what we’re doing will become a model for the formation of additional alliances of primarily undergraduate institutions.”

Addressing a National Concern

The two NSF-funded programs help Elmhurst address what has become a national concern: the need to educate a larger and more diverse pool of students in STEM fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth in STEM fields will be stronger than the economy-wide rate of job growth in the decade ahead. And the number of graduates in STEM fields from U.S. colleges and universities has increased dramatically since 2010 and is poised to continue growing, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. But Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce, as do women. That’s a problem for all of us, as it diminishes the pool of creativity and innovation that economic competitiveness depends on. Nor is the challenge simply to get more students to declare STEM majors. Too many students abandon STEM majors for other fields, and others “stop out,” leaving college altogether. Though students of all backgrounds enter STEM majors at roughly equal rates, Black and Hispanic students leave the major at nearly twice the rate of white students, according to a study published in the journal Education Researcher. Financial hardship, family obligations and feelings of alienation from the academic world may all draw students away from school. 24

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THE

PUMA-STEM ALLIANCE

Led by Elmhurst University, an alliance of eight Chicago-area colleges and universities has formed to provide summer research experiences for undergraduates.

As part of his PUMA-STEM research project, computer science major Samuel Bustamante ’23 studied the impact of different types of cryptography on the security of bank account numbers and other sensitive information. In October, Bustamante presented his work at a STEM conference in Schaumburg. “The PUMA-STEM experience allowed me to branch out and explore a new area of study,” he says. “It also opened the door to new opportunities and connections.”

PRESENTATION SKILLS

Undergraduate research is a big part of the PUMA-STEM Alliance, and for researchers, the ability to present findings is a crucial skill. So undergraduates in the program don’t just work with faculty mentors on summer research projects. They also deliver poster sessions and conference presentations at regional STEM meetings. “Presenting your work is fundamental for researchers, and in many ways, it is the most challenging part of what we

do,” said Álvaro Castillo, a chemistry lecturer at Elmhurst. “It is essential that we be able to explain why our work is important and valuable.” Last year, Castillo worked with Victor Alvarez ’23 on a research project in computational chemistry. Alvarez’s poster abstract, “A DFT Study of the Formation Energetics of CO2 and Formaldehyde from Acetylene Ozonolyis,” was cited as a top poster abstract at the 2021 Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence annual conference. FA L L 2 0 2 2 P RO S P E C T M A G A Z I N E

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TAKING ROOT So Elmhurst is seeking, in ways both big and small, to promote a sense of community among STEM students and to keep them engaged in their major. Young STEM majors, for example, pair with senior peer mentors who can provide older-siblinglike advice, support and social connections. The University also hosts networking events and campus visits from prominent STEM professionals in academia and industry, offering what Mellgren called “a window into the world of STEM.” “We want to build a supportive community, both at Elmhurst and among the Alliance institutions,” Mellgren said. Undergraduate research projects such as Durr’s work on the roof of the Frick Center are another central component of the PUMA-STEM program. Educators have found that offering undergraduates the chance to do meaningful research not only prepares them for graduate school and work but provides many other benefits as well: rooting them in their chosen field of study, building confidence and helping them learn to navigate unexpected obstacles.

The PUMA-STEM program’s goals are ambitious—to double the number of STEM degrees awarded across the Alliance and to increase the number of students doing graduate work in STEM fields. “We want to be part of the national solution to this problem,” Mellgren said.

Research That Inspires

The problem Durr and Mikenas were tackling on the roof of the Frick Center last summer was also a matter of diversity—but in this case, diversity in the plant world. Green roofs like Elmhurst’s are typically planted with sedums and other succulents with a talent for retaining moisture, making them suitable for the harsh rooftop conditions. But what if conditions could be tweaked so that a greater range of plants, even Illinois natives, might take root and thrive on the roof? Durr and Mikenas tested several hypotheses, including one based on the beneficial effects of certain kinds of fungi on plant root systems. But the intervention that showed the most promise involved planting certain groups of complementary species in proximity to encourage survival and growth. Durr presented her conclusions in poster sessions and at regional conferences, as do all the program’s participants. Her research findings were important, but she learned equally valuable lessons about herself: She found she could thrive in a physically and intellectually demanding environment. She is planning to apply to graduate programs in plant ecology in fall 2023. A love of science, it seems, has taken root. 26

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RADIO ACTIVE Longtime campus station WRSE helps students find their voices on the air.

Just two years out of college, Hannah Brummer ’20—or Hannah B, as her fans call her—is living her radio dream. Up before dawn each weekday, she spends her mornings on Star 96.7-FM as co-host of Eddie Volkman in the Morning with Hannah B. A quick midday break, then she’s off to be the afternoon voice of WXLC 102.3-FM. Add to that weekend gigs, her Monday Motivation with Hannah B podcast and her burgeoning social media accounts, and she’s got more than a full-time schedule—but Brummer is enjoying every minute.

P H OTO B Y B O B C O S C A R E L L I

“I definitely spend more time at work than at home, but when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work,” she says. “I just love the engagement and interaction with listeners, with music. It’s all about creating a conversation.” Over the years, Elmhurst has sent a number of alumni on to successful broadcasting careers, whether in TV, radio or now podcasting. Many got their start at the campus’s radio station, WRSE 88.7-FM, though they may not have arrived on campus looking for a career in broadcasting. Instead, the University gave them the room and opportunity to explore, gain experience and find their voice.

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ALUMNI ON THE AIR

Trailblazer Terri Hemmert ’70, H ’17 has been an institution at Chicago’s WXRT 93.1-FM for more than 45 years. Since starting as an overnight announcer in 1973, she has blazed a trail for women deejays, becoming the first female morning drive personality in Chicago in 1981. An expert on the Beatles, she became host of the Sunday morning show Breakfast with the Beatles in 2002. In 2017, Elmhurst awarded Hemmert an honorary doctoral degree for her contributions to the field.

News Legend Len Walter ’62, a longtime radio journalist for WBBM NewsRadio 780-AM, retired in 2021 after 52 years at WBBM. His long list of awards includes the Edward R.

Murrow Award for international investigative reporting and Best Radio Reporter from the Illinois and Michigan Associated Press.

Radio MVP After graduating from Elmhurst, Justin Roman ’00 launched a 15-year radio career at WBBM 96.3-FM and WUSN 99.5-FM as half of the popular deejay duo Stylz & Roman. He was the Chicago Bulls and NBA All-Star entertainment host and now hosts The MVP Game on Marquee Sports Network with his fiancée, Kenzie K.

The Voice of the Rays As the radio voice of the Tampa Bay Rays,

“I get paid to watch base-

Dave Wills ’88 has been entertaining baseball fans

ball. I get paid to talk about

in Florida for close to 20 years. He didn’t set out to

baseball. It definitely beats

become a broadcast icon—he started his career as

working for a living,” he says.

a baseball coach—but an Elmhurst mentor sent his play-by-play tape to the Kane County Cougars, and the rest is history. Wills credits his experience at Elmhurst with giving him the skills and connections he needed for a dream career.

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“And there’s no doubt that Elmhurst University is the reason why I am where I am right now.”


RADIO ACTIVE

‘Can I have a radio show?’ Charlie Roumeliotis ’14 was a lifelong Chicago sports fan when he arrived at Elmhurst in 2010 with a goal of parlaying that love into a career. He quickly found his home at WRSE. As a first-year student, he had his own sports talk show that aired from 10:00 p.m. until midnight. “I knew no one was listening, but it was good practice for me,” he laughs. The show aired throughout his college career, leading to an internship with what is now NBC Sports Chicago. That led to a part-time job, and then a career as a journalist covering the Chicago Blackhawks. Now he’s NBC Sports Chicago’s official “Blackhawks Insider,” writing for the website, acting as on-air TV talent and hosting a podcast of the same name. “I’ve had a lot of doors open for me at the right time,” he says. “And then when the door opens, you just put your head down and work hard.” As a journalist, he says, one of his most valuable skills is building relationships, because that’s how he creates trust with sources to gain access to information. He learned that skill at Elmhurst, he says, both at WRSE—where he ultimately became station manager—and as a writer for The Leader. Both opportunities would have been hard to come by elsewhere, he says. “At other schools, it can be hard to distinguish yourself,” he says. “But at Elmhurst, you can just walk into the radio station and say, ‘Can I have a radio show?’”

Finding a voice From its humble roots as a low-power carrier current station in the 1940s, WRSE has grown into a fertile training ground for Chicago radio deejays and journalists. When Lizzie Baumgartner came on as the station’s faculty advisor last year, she set about bringing the station into the 2020s, updating the playlist, getting the transmitter fixed, building out a broadcast schedule and ensuring continuity amid graduating and incoming students. “We began to make a real investment in the station, which is ultimately going to make it 10 times better for students,” she says. FA L L 2 0 2 2

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RADIO ACTIVE

“People say radio is dying, yet 89 percent of individuals still listen to the radio consistently. It’s important to make this station even better while giving students transferrable life skills.” Students who are involved with WRSE dedicate at least four hours a week to the station, whether in production, social media or promotion, or as a deejay. Some students host their own shows. For example, Stephanie Cipolla ’24, a music business major, hosts Bluejay Bugle, a mix of news and alternative music. “COVID really messed things up socially, but when I started working at the station, I learned how to talk again,” Cipolla says. “It really helped me get myself out there and learn to communicate effectively.”

P H OTO S B Y: B O B C O S C A R E L L I ↑ L E N N Y G I L M O R E ↓

Though Cipolla ultimately hopes to have a career in radio, that’s not the case for every student who works at the station, Baumgartner says. “College radio is a really great thing for students to have access to,” she says. “I don’t care if they go into broadcasting or the music industry or anywhere else. I just want them to know that they can do well in whatever they do.” Baumgartner’s efforts have already paid off. She and three students were named finalists for prestigious Intercollegiate Broadcasting System awards this year. She believes more nominations—and wins—are coming in the future. “I want this radio station to be well known and respected,” she says.

A real connection with listeners It’s a big goal, but as Hannah Brummer says, “Elmhurst tells students, ‘Don’t be afraid to chase after your dreams.’” And for Brummer and other alumni, those dreams sometimes come true. Asked what she’d like to do next, Brummer is hard-pressed to name another job that would give her the same bond with her fans. “A lot of people do podcasts now, but the thing about radio is that it is live and local,” she says. “You have a real connection with listeners. When they get in their cars, I want them to feel like I am their friend.”

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BY M A R G A R E T C U R R I E I L LU S T R AT I O N BY G E R A L D I N E S Y

NURTURING LITERACY A partnership with a local community organization boosts kids’ reading skills while expanding horizons for Elmhurst students.

“Many of our students are behind in school, whether that’s Lindsay Piña Garcia ’20 understands all too well the pain because they lack English-language skills or because of of being unable to communicate. Born in Mexico, she their recent immigration status,” says Mindy Inman, moved to the United States as a young child and didn’t speak English when she started kindergarten. “I didn’t have director of volunteer services at the center. “This program meets that specific need.” any friends because it was really hard to communicate,” she recalls. So when Piña Garcia had the opportunity to tutor local dual-language children in reading and writing as part of the University’s York Literacy Project, she signed up right away. “I’m motivated to help others learn to express their wants and needs, because I remember what it feels like when you can’t do that,” she says. Established in 2018, the York Literacy Project connects Elmhurst students with underserved elementary students, many of them English-language learners, at York Community Resource Center in Lombard. Some 10 to 15 Elmhurst undergraduates visit the center once a week during the school year to work with kids on reading, writing, spelling and comprehension. 34

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A FOCUS ON STORIES

The program uses a story-based curriculum that supports development in both English and Spanish. The Elmhurst students work with one or two students at a time, reading stories in both languages and talking about how the various elements of a story fit together. “A robust body of academic research shows that kids with stronger narration skills are better readers and writers and do better in school,” says Brenda Gorman, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Elmhurst and a program leader. “Stories are a wonderful way to celebrate children’s rich home cultures and languages while simultaneously strengthening language skills and comprehension.”


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NURTURING

LITERACY

Or as Allison Skiple ’23 puts it, “The students at York slowly begin to understand those story parts and realize they can apply these skills when they’re reading at home or taking a standardized test.” Skiple, a communication sciences and disorders major, got involved with the program last year and now serves as the project’s facilitator, training and mentoring other volunteers and overseeing tutors on site. A member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Skiple won a 2022 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant that she plans to use to support the York Literacy Project. She was one of only 13 applicants nationwide to receive the award. “When I saw that PKP offers a literacy grant, I thought that would be perfect for our project,” she says. “The funding will give us a chance to provide more books and to support continued learning in the summer when we’re not there.” Skiple says the $2,500 grant will go toward learning tools like whiteboards, dry-erase markers and books, along with MP3 players and audiobooks that kids can take home over

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summer break to continue working on their skills. The team is also considering building a community library box outside the resource center. “There are a lot of ideas in the works, but I’d love to do anything to help kids foster those important skills,” Skiple says.

BEYOND CHARITY

The York Literacy Project has an enormous impact on the children who participate—not only in literacy skills but also in confidence. “We see their reading scores improve, and we see their confidence and their resilience go up,” Inman says. “It plants a seed and helps them see a future for themselves.” But as part of Elmhurst’s Service Learning program, the project also has a big impact on the undergraduate participants. “Our goal in Service Learning is to transform the server,” says Mary Walsh, director of the Service Learning program and chair of the political science department. “It’s not


about charity. It’s about discovering what you really care about and what you find to be worthwhile.” Participants at York learn valuable skills that connect directly to their future careers as speech-language pathologists or Spanish educators. The project also helps clarify their professional goals. For Piña Garcia, for example, participating sparked an interest in research that she’s now pursuing as a graduate student in communication sciences and disorders at Elmhurst. “The experience contributed to my interest in research using narrative interventions,” she says. “For my master’s thesis, I’m using these interventions as an assessment tool to identify students with language impairment.” Volunteering also expands students’ horizons and connects them with people they might never have met otherwise. “The literacy project is a shining example of how transformative service learning can be for our students,” Walsh says. “It reveals how service learning comes full circle—that in pursuing your own ends, you can make a difference in the community around you.”

SERVING TO LEARN Each year, more than 500 Elmhurst University students contribute more than 10,000 hours of service through the Service Learning program. The program partners with more than 60 community organizations in Illinois and around the world, giving students opportunities to welcome refugee families, mentor first-generation students, provide shelter for abandoned pets, advocate for human rights, promote the protection of the natural world and much more. Service learning furthers the University’s mission of “preparing students for meaningful and ethical contributions to a diverse, global society” by bridging the gap between theory and practice, the individual and the community. FA L L 2 0 2 2 P RO S P E C T M A G A Z I N E

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Before the Clock Strikes Midnight There are only a few more weeks to make your tax-deductible gift in 2022!

Your gift to the Elmhurst University Annual Fund contributes to our students’ education through scholarships and operational and programmatic support. It also extends the transformative experience of an Elmhurst education to more students—in 2023 and beyond. 38

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MAKE YOUR G I F T elmhurst.edu/Give


ALUMNI NEWS CELEBRATING OUR AWARD WINNERS Elmhurst University’s Founders Medal and Alumni Merit Awards honor outstanding contributions by alumni and friends to the University and the world. This year’s winners were recognized at the Founders Recognition Evening on Oct. 13.

FOUNDERS MEDAL

One of the University’s most prestigious honors, the Founders Medal celebrates individuals who have distinguished themselves through philanthropic or personal service to the University. This year’s medal honored Ed Momkus ’74

Did You Know? and his wife, Betsy Goltermann. Both are accomplished business and civic leaders, as well as significant supporters of Elmhurst University. Momkus has chaired the Board of Trustees for the past five years, and the couple have provided generous support to the University’s annual fund, Mock Trial Program, American Dream Fellowship and many other funds over more than 30 years of giving.

ALUMNI MERIT AWARDS The Alumni Merit Awards celebrate Elmhurst graduates who have made exemplary contributions to the community and their alma mater.

LEFT TO RIGHT: SHAHEEN WOLFF, JACOB STELTER, LYNDA F. NADKARNI

The Distinguished Young Alumni award winner this year was Jacob Stelter ’11, a faculty member in emergency medicine and sports medicine at NorthShore University HealthSystem who also teaches emergency medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He also serves as lead physician at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon,

and has been an instructor for the Chicago Police Department. Shaheen Wolff ’87, co-dean of Elmhurst University’s School of Business, received the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater award. Wolff spent more than a decade in mergers and acquisitions within the health care industry, but considers her corporate experience a warmup for her true calling—teaching. She has served for more than 20 years as a faculty member, and on numerous boards and committees.

Elmhurst’s ninth president, Robert Stanger, was born on campus. His father, Christian Stanger, had been a music professor at Elmhurst Proseminary, where he taught for 50 years. Robert Stanger graduated from the Proseminary in 1918, attended Eden Theological Seminary, Yale University Divinity School and the University of Chicago, before returning to teach at his alma mater. He served as president from

Lynda F. Nadkarni B.S. ’87, B.A. ’92, was the winner of the Distinguished Service to Society award. Dedicating her life to service, Nadkarni serves as minister of mission and outreach at Riverside Presbyterian Church, and also is active in her work with RefugeeOne and the Riverside Refugee Resettlement Team, a group of 300 people dedicated to aiding refugees.

1957 to 1965.

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On a bright fall weekend, Bluejays gathered from across the country to reconnect and celebrate with their Elmhurst community. Homecoming highlights included a nighttime drone display, a parade, football and soccer games, and the traditional bonfire and pep rally. A soaring good time was had by all!

Let the Good Times Soar

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See the highlights at elmhurst.edu/Homecoming.



VIRTUAL INFO SESSION

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 6:00 p.m. R S V P T O D AY elmhurst.edu/ChooseElmhurst

EXCEL Advance your career with graduate studies at Elmhurst University.

F R E E COURSE

Our graduate programs are flexible, practical and designed to meet your needs. Choose from more than 20 degree and certificate options, including our first doctoral program, the doctor of nursing practice. Alumni of Elmhurst undergraduate programs can take their first course toward a graduate degree for free. Learn more at elmhurst.edu/FreeCourse.

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VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE

CLASS NOTES

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 5:30–8:00 p.m. R S V P T O D AY elmhurst.edu/ChooseElmhurst

1950s

Dr. Charles Kniker ’58 published Spirituality That Makes a Difference in April 2022. He brings 50-plus years of listening as teacher, preacher, observer and writer to a conversation with the reader about the many forms of spirituality that help explore life’s big questions and mysteries.

1960s 1942 The Pep Squad (“inciters of

triumph,” as Elmhurst’s yearbook put it) fostered a strong school spirit and supported a successful athletic program.

Teresa Schreiber Werth ’69 edited the anthology Navigating the Pandemic: Stories of Hope and Resilience. She recruited 38 writers age 18 to 80 from 11 states and four countries to share their personal and professional experiences during the first four months of the pandemic. The anthology contains experiences by and about health care providers, teachers, artists, grief and trauma counselors,

veterans, refugees and undocumented workers, among many others. It focuses on spiritual and alternative coping strategies for loss and isolation, as well as personal stories about humor, pets and Americans living abroad. The book has been featured on podcasts including Connections with Evan Dawson on NPR and Gail Rubin’s A Good Goodbye.

1951 Juniors Drag-on!!! A colorful parade made its way through the streets of Elmhurst ahead of a hard-fought Homecoming game against Concordia.

1970s

1979 - today The Elmhurst Univer-

sity Jazz Band’s discography dates back to 1979 and includes recordings of everything from “St. Louis Blues” to “My Funny Valentine.” Learn more at elmhurst.edu/JazzBand.

Marilyn Nielsen Hinchley ’70 published a children’s book, Grandpa’s Schoolhouse Home, based on her experiences visiting her grandfather’s home in southern Illinois with her twin sister, the late Marguerite Hinchley Hubbard ’70. Christy Whitney ’76 founded HopeWest, a hospice in Grand Junction, Colo., in 1993. Today, HopeWest serves Mesa, Montrose, Delta, Ouray and Rio Blanco counties.

Rev. Dr. Chuck Mize ’77 retired from Glenview Community UCC in Glenview, Ill., on April 1, 2022, after more than nine years as a senior pastor and nearly 42 years in ministry. He is now serving as interim pastor and head of staff at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights, Ill. He and his wife, Jeanie Bond ’76, celebrated their 40th anniversary in May 2022.

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CLASS NOTES

A CENTURY OF ELMHURST CONNECTIONS

Dorothea “DeeDee” Lisenby recounts her family’s history with Elmhurst University with pride. It dates back to 1872, when her great-grandfather Herman Henry Fleer (Class of 1875) enrolled in the University’s second class of students, and continues through the friendship between her grandfather Rev. Joseph Anton George (Class of 1912) in the 1910s and Elmhurst alumni Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr. In 2018, her mother, Dorothea Fleer George Schuch ’47, established the Fleer/George/Schuch scholarship through her will. All told, at least 15 members of the family have attended Elmhurst. The family’s scholarship benefits students with demonstrated need who exhibit leadership qualities and lead a Christian lifestyle—qualities and attributes that were meaningful to Schuch. Lisenby said the inspiration for the scholarship came from her grandfather, who received financial aid. “My grandfather always said, ‘If you ever have any extra money, give it to Elmhurst to pay them back for the scholarships I got,’” Lisenby said. “My mother absolutely took this to heart. … She would be so joyous that the scholarship happened and awards were going out and the message of giving back would get out.”

1980s & 1990s

Barry Richert ’81 recently began writing a monthly column for the Hollywood 360 Newsletter, the official online publication of the nationally syndicated Hollywood 360 radio program. The column examines pop culture, milestones and phenomena of the past and explores how they continue to resonate today. To promote the new assignment, Richert appeared as a guest on Hollywood 360 on Feb. 26, 2022. Thomas Albright ’89 relocated to the Harrisburg, Pa., area to continue his career with Bayer as a senior manager, logistics. He is celebrating 25 years of service with the combined ScheringPlough/Merck/Bayer companies.

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2000s

Brandi Blume Warnock ’04, MA ’06, accepted a position as an inpatient nurse case manager at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.

COVID -19 pandemic across Illinois.

In partnership with the McLean County Museum of History, pt.fwd and other organizations, Breitweiser

Duran Dismore ’04 was named a Forbes Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisor in Texas. Craig Tiede ’04 has been accepted into the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Global Executive MBA class of 2024. He started classes in August 2022. Lisa Petrik ’05 was named a top real estate professional by Chicago Magazine. Edward Breitweiser ’09 received a Viral Silence commission from NON:op Open Opera Works as part of a statewide initiative to capture the impact of the

created “Six Words,” a communal space for sharing the impact of the pandemic in the Bloomington-Normal area. On June 24, 2022, the Museum of History hosted a concert-length performance featuring sounds, visuals and words by area residents who contributed to the project. Holly Golcher ’09 married H. Warren Arnold III at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago on July 9, 2022.


MEDICINE

RUNS IN THE FAMILY Sisters Kristen ’14, Ashley ’16 and Jessica VanZant ’20 grew up loving science. Their shared passion led

Patrick Brambert ’13 wrote, directed and acted in the cooking show spoof Kitchen Spaces, a 10-minute film that was accepted by the Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles. He was in basic training for the Army National Guard when he wrote the script for the film. Alaina Nebel ’19 married Daniel Wiggin ’19 on June 11, 2022, at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, Ill. Many Elmhurst University alumni were in attendance. Briana Janczy ’21 accepted a position as a social media coordinator at Weigel Broadcasting Co. and works with TV shows Toon In with Me and Sventoonie.

CONNECT WITH US Share your news with your classmates! Go to elmhurst.edu/ClassNotes to submit your updates.

all of them to Elmhurst University, where they earned bachelor’s degrees in biology. They are following similar professional paths, too: Kristen works as medical director at a veterinary practice in Hoffman Estates, Ashley is doing a family-medicine residency in the western suburbs, and Jessica is set to graduate from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2023. “No one else in our family is a physician,” Ashley said. “All three of us had a love for science since we were

LEGAL AID Afaaf Amatullah ’21 plans to dedicate her career to providing legal services to underserved communities. This fall, she won a prestigious Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship that will help her reach that goal. One of only about 50 applicants nationwide to earn the fellowship, Amatullah received $8,500 toward her law degree. “It was a great honor to be selected by Phi Kappa Phi alongside other qualified candidates,” said Amatullah, a first-year law student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “This fellowship provides me with the opportunity to pursue my legal career while being connected to a network of highly motivated students.” At Elmhurst, Amatullah majored in English and philosophy. She also conducted research and wrote articles on racial discrimination and unfair housing practices, and earned three awards from the Illinois College Press Association.

young, but it was a coincidence we all decided to go into medicine.” The sisters credit the small class sizes at Elmhurst and the guidance of Health Professions Advisor Erica Ashauer with preparing them for careers in the medical field. “I really felt like starting from Day 1, I had people and advisors who learned about my goal to get into veterinary school and provided guidance and support along the way,” Kristen said. Jessica added, “Elmhurst is a great school for anyone interested in the sciences.”

EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR Like all educators across the country, Baochau Thomas ’04, MTL ’08 persevered through a tumultuous 2021. A pandemic. Staffing shortages. Students adjusting to in-school learning. Public scrutiny of teaching methods and topics. Through it all, she stuck true to her philosophy “to be the teacher my students need me to be to make them feel at home.” That dedication earned her the 2021 Educator of Year Award from Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. At Elmhurst, Thomas earned a bachelor’s in elementary education and a master’s in teacher leadership, experiences she credits with preparing her for success in the classroom. “Many programs are just theory. You don’t know how to apply it,” Thomas said. “Elmhurst does an amazing job evolving the teaching practice and teachers along with it so we are successful.” In addition to teaching, Thomas sits on the Colorado Department of Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet, serving as the commissioner’s sounding board for the implementation of state education policy. FA L L 2 0 2 2 P RO S P E C T M A G A Z I N E

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CLASS NOTES

IN MEMORIAM EDUCATIONAL LEADER

A dedicated educator, Charles J. Caruso ’54 died Aug. 10, 2022, at the age of 92. One of the longesttenured school superintendents in Illinois history, he was superintendent of schools in Deerfield from 1955 to 1991. He held many leadership roles at the national and state levels during his decades of service, and his impact earned him several honors. The Illinois General Assembly recognized him with a resolution upon his retirement, and Charles J. Caruso Middle School in Deerfield bears his name. After graduating from Elmhurst, Caruso earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Walter J. Westermann ’42 Feb. 19, 2022, Elyria, Ohio Rev. Dr. Armin Limper ’45 July 2022, Fountain Hills, Ariz. Rev. Philip A. Desenis ’50 June 24, 2022, Northbrook, Ill. Warren H. Rahn ’50 April 21, 2022, Sarasota, Fla. James W. Smith ’51 June 24, 2022, St. Louis Roger W. Bauer ’52 Aug. 16, 2022, Grand Rapids, Mich. Johanna Haupt ’54 March 29, 2022, Kalamazoo, Mich. Charlotte M. Klein ’54 March 6, 2022, Ackley, Iowa Audrey J. Bickenback ’55 July 20, 2022, Norwood, N.C. Joanne D. Bailey ’56 Sept. 10, 2019, Chicago

CH A M PION OF

EQUALITY AND JUSTICE Elsie Moore Smith ’72, a beloved member of the Arizona State University faculty and staunch advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, died Feb. 21, 2022. She was 72. At Elmhurst, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy before receiving a master’s degree and Ph.D. in human development at the University of Chicago. In more than 40 years at ASU, Smith was a leader who sought to improve diversity. She was a founding member of the Faculty Women of Color Caucus and helped establish the A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations in honor of her late husband, A. Wade Smith, chair of the ASU sociology program. “She advanced against intellectual and cultural adversaries with wisdom, understanding and love,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “She made a difference here at ASU and in our broader world, and will be deeply missed.”

Rev. Robert R. Oleson ’56 May 12, 2022, St. Louis Robert J. Hyde ’57 June 13, 2022, Glen Ellyn, Ill. Lois A. Sexauer ’57 May 20, 2022, O’Fallon, Ill. Ronald J. Kreimeyer ’60 June 30, 2022, Geneva, Iowa Joel Whitburn ’61 June 14, 2022, Menomonee Falls, Wis. Rev. John E. Berges ’62 July 13, 2022, Jenkintown, Pa. Rev. Dr. Ralph D. Kuether ’62 July 6, 2022, Tryon, N.C. Robert Konneman ’63 Aug. 30, 2022, St. Louis Judy K. Mohan ’63 Aug. 22, 2022, Chesterton, Ind. Rev. Fred Berchtold ’64 June 28, 2021, Mundelein, Ill.

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Daral “Jinx” Carlson ’64 April 21, 2022, Punta Gorda, Fla.

ESTEEMED

Christine Christensen ’65 Nov. 23, 2021, Austin, Texas

RESEARCHER

Pamela Arnold ’72 May 2, 2022, Harvard, Ill.

Professor Emeritus Helga Noice, a faculty member for 15 years, a prolific researcher and a leader on campus, died June 14, 2022. She was 82. During her time at Elmhurst, Noice promoted student research, helped start the Research and Performance Showcase and encouraged faculty research through monthly research forums. Her own research, conducted together with her husband, Tony Noice, an adjunct faculty member, earned national recognition. She received many grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust. The Noices broke ground in the field of mental processes, leading a National Institute on Aging project that examined how theatre training could improve cognition and social engagement in older adults.

Henry Harrison ’72 June 21, 2022, Libertyville, Ill. Martha M. Novak ’73 July 28, 2022, Lombard, Ill. Grace C. Dahlberg ’74 July 18, 2022, Sandwich, Ill. Laverne M. Sanders ’74 May 12, 2022, Villa Park, Ill. Robert C. Wayman ’74 May 23, 2022, Troy, Kan. Frank J. Previti ’78 March 6, 2022, Port St. Lucie, Fla. Daniel J. Baase ’80 July 19, 2022, Tulsa, Okla. Ronald J. Huster ’81 April 21, 2022, Goshen, Ind. Debra E. Mattioli ’81 May 28, 2021, Holualoa, Hawaii Linda M. Santucci ’82 Sept. 2, 2022, Wheat Ridge, Colo. Dr. Patricia L. Hoover ’83 Jan. 26, 2022, Hillsboro, Kan. Frances C. Juliano ’85 April 27, 2022, Bozeman, Mont. Michael Jay Baren ’86 Sept. 17, 2022, Villa Park, Ill.

PASSIONATE EDUCATOR A longtime educator, Martha “Marcy” Novak ’73 died July 28, 2022, at the age of 76. Novak dedicated her life to teaching after earning her bachelor’s in elementary education. She taught at Pleasant Lane Elementary School in Lombard, Ill., for more than 20 years; she taught other teachers how to incorporate science into the classroom at annual workshops at the Space Center in Houston; and she wrote a children’s book about the history of Lombard. She was named Lombard Woman of the Year in 1979 and earned the Illinois State Board of Education award for education excellence in 1982.

John P. Gallucci ’92 July 9, 2022, Chicago Stephen T. Wasson ’93 April 29, 2022, Woodridge, Ill. Michelle M. Allen ’96 May 15, 2022, Buffalo Grove, Ill.

At a poignant ceremony during Homecoming, a bench facing Alumni Circle was dedicated to the memory of

David J. Stapleton ’04 June 19, 2022, Wood Dale, Ill.

associate professor of

Patrick Walsen ’11 June 30, 2021, Brookfield, Ill.

Sullivan-Morgan, a

Charles L. Glass ’14 Aug. 23, 2022, Champaign, Ill.

communications Deatra beloved mentor who died in November 2019.

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MY CAREER

PATH

BREAKING BARRIERS

My family is Palestinian, and I grew up in a Muslim community in Lombard, Ill. I was the first child in my family to go to college, and my parents wanted me to stay close. I had heard a lot of good things about Elmhurst, so we drove over to look at the campus. We all loved it. My parents wanted me to be either a doctor, a pharmacist or a dentist. My first year, I was overwhelmed, but I really enjoyed my psychology classes, and I felt this sense that it was the field for me. I had several internships, including one with a psychiatrist, translating for Arabic-speaking clients from Syria who had post-traumatic 48

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stress disorder. It was rewarding and challenging, so I got a master’s degree in forensic psychology from Adler University and became a forensic therapist at Kane County Jail. I really found my niche. My coworkers thought I should apply for a job in law enforcement, but I felt a lot of discomfort about it. I didn’t see a lot of officers who looked like me. But I also had a dream of working as an officer at the federal level, and I knew that becoming a police officer would provide experience on the street. I discussed it with my family. My mom worried about me, but my dad told me he had always wanted to join the police himself.

So I applied and became a police officer in Bartlett, Ill., in October 2020. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I can use my mentalhealth background and my Arabic language skills, and I have been able to break barriers. I’ve met so many women of different backgrounds who have said they’ve never seen someone like me who is a police officer. I’m really proud that this is an empowering opportunity for other women. Now my dad tells me that I’m living his dream, and my mom tells stories about me and my job. And when she does, she is always smiling.

P H OTO B Y S TAC E Y W E S C OT T/C H I C AG O T R I B U N E / TC A

Maha Ayesh ’13 blazes a path into law enforcement.


Your Legacy. Our Future.

Join the 1871 Society Supporting Elmhurst through an estate gift allows you to meet your financial goals while helping us build a bright future for generations of students to come. The 1871 Society recognizes donors who have included the University in their estate plans. Every gift makes a world of difference, and every gift is deeply appreciated. LEARN MORE

elmhurst.edu/1871Society

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Elmhurst University 190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296

A Musical December Celebrate the festive season with music! December events include orchestra, jazz band and choral union concerts, along with our timehonored Festival of Lessons and Carols. View upcoming concerts at elmhurst.edu/Events.

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