Mar 102023

Wilson earned a B.F.A. at Illinois Wesleyan University School of Drama (1975) where he studied under Edward Pisoni, an M.A. at San Francisco State University (1979) where he studied under Eric Sinkkonen, and completed an M.F.A. at Carnegie-Mellon University School of Drama (1982) where he studied under Oren Parker and Lynn Pektal. Wilson is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and was an Assistant Professor for 9 years at Stanford University before joining the faculty of the Theatre Arts Department at San Francisco State University where he taught for 23 years. He retired as a Professor Emeritus in 2020, and lives in San Francisco with his partner and husband of 35 years.

Wilson’s extensive San Francisco Bay Area credits include scenic designs for American Conservatory Theatre, Theatreworks, The American Musical Theatre of San Jose, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre, both San Francisco and California Shakespeare Festivals, Artists Confronting AIDS, San Francisco Opera Center, the original Eureka Theatre, and others.

Nationally, Wilson’s design work extends to New York City, Chicago, Washington D. C., Los Angeles, Houston, Princeton, Newark, Buffalo, Malibu, Louisville, and Wichita. Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards, including ten Bay Area Critics Circle awards and five Hollywood Drama-Logue Awards, the Theatre L.A. Ovation Award, the Garland Award, and the Barbara Bladen Porter Award for Continued Creative Excellence.

Congratulations on a wonderful career, John!

Mar 072023

Tom Wetzel ’72 received the Silver Beaver from the Pathway to Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which represents Chicago and over 100 suburbs. The award is the highest given by a council to adult volunteer Scouters for their distinguished service to youth and their community. Tom has been active in Scouting for over a quarter-century having served in many leadership positions.

Jan 252023

Jack Herrmann ’74 retired from the University of Illinois in 2021 and was awarded Professor Emeritus by the Board of Trustees. He still enjoys presenting as a guest lecturer on subjects from the health impacts of climate change to emerging infectious diseases. Additionally, Jack was recently re-elected as Vice-Chair of the Illinois State Board of Health.

Jan 182023

Roger Danchik ’71 recently released his new novel, Villa and the Doomsday Affair, published by Atmosphere Press on December 13. The books has already received positive reviews from Kirkus and The Feathered Quill.

Villa and the Doomsday Affair can be found now from most places where books are sold, as well as online retailers.

To read more about the book, including a full list of reviews, please visit

Jan 172023

Jerrilyn McGregory ’71 recently had a book, “One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World”, published about the first comprehensive study of how Boxing Day is celebrated across The Caribbean. You find the book here. The book was also the winner of the Chicago Prize in Folklore in 2022. You can read more about the award here.

Jan 172023

Roscoe (Ross) Fraser ’78 a larger-than-life presence in the Chicago communications, non-profit and theater arenas for more than four decades, passed away on Jan. 1. He liked to say he found his people when he arrived at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in 1974 as a theater major. Ross had a memorable role in Truman Capote’s Among the Paths to Eden and directed his senior show, the Steven Tesich play The Carpenters. But at IWU, he is best remembered as a genuine force of nature on the social scene. Ross seemed to know everyone and everyone knew Ross. The dramatic training helped Ross later in life, but all the skills for getting on in this world were forged at Illinois Wesleyan. You can read the full obituary here.

Dec 142022

The Pantagraph Holiday Spectacular brought another year of cheer to Bloomington-Normal during performances on Dec. 3-4. The production was written by Nancy Steele Brokaw ’71, directed by former faculty member Lori Adams, and featured performances by Marketing Director Andy Kreiss ’86 and Assistant Professor of Music Bob Mangialardi. Read the full Pantagraph article here.

Dec 052022

Richard McCoy ’74 and his wife Laurie McCoy were recently featured in a My Journal Courier article about their experience in Jacksonville theater. They have been involved for over four decades, and could be considered the “first family” of local theater. Read the full article here.