Jan 112021
Kevin Kyes ’75 died Dec. 23, 2020, in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 67.
Kevin was active in Sigma Chi and a member of the baseball and basketball teams at Illinois Wesleyan. Kevin began a teaching and coaching career at Williamsville (Ill.) High School in 1975, and started a 40-year career at Bunn-O-Matic, in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, in 1981. The job took Kevin and his wife to White Lake, Michigan, and eventually, Birmingham. Kevin lived an active lifestyle and loved coaching, especially his grandchildren’s baseball teams. In 2011, he was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame. Kevin was active in his faith as a member of the Church of the Highlands Greystone in Birmingham. He is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren, his mother and two siblings.
You can read the full obituary here.
 Posted by at 10:51 am
Dec 222020

Norm Eash ’75 has been featured in a Pantagraph article about enduring a full year without football games. Read it here.

 Posted by at 4:19 pm
Dec 182020

Bill Dunbar ’78 of Bloomington, Illinois, died Dec. 11, 2020. He was 64.

Bill studied insurance at Illinois Wesleyan, where he was an active member of the tennis team and Sigma Chi. More importantly, he met his future wife Julie (Parsons) Dunbar ’80 at IWU. Shortly after graduation, Bill began a 35-year career with State Farm Insurance. He started at the company’s home office in Bloomington but quickly transferred to Arlington, Texas, where he and Julie lived for 18 years. They returned to Bloomington in 2000 when Bill accepted a new job in education and training, and Bill thoroughly enjoyed his time in the classroom. After retiring in 2015, Bill volunteered at Midwest Food Bank, led outreach efforts at Calvary United Methodist Church, built Habitat for Humanity homes, and served on a variety of committees in support of his neighborhood homeowners association. Bill loved traveling and being outside. He ran four marathons and enjoyed bass fishing, golfing, walking, hiking and biking. He loved his family and being a dad, and will be remembered for his gentle spirit, generous heart, twinkling blue eyes, remarkably full head of silver hair, and outstanding sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a sister.

You can read the full obituary here.

 Posted by at 12:20 pm
Dec 112020

Carol (Claus) Barnes Schmedake ’78 died Nov. 8, 2020, in Normal, Illinois. She was 64.

Carol earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Illinois Wesleyan, where she was active in professional organizations Phi Gamma Nu, Green Medallion and Alpha Lambda Delta. She worked as a certified public accountant. Carol loved traveling, especially to national parks and Hard Rock Cafe locations in the cities she visited. She is survived by her husband, son Eric Barnes ’07, sister Janet Claus ’81, and two aunts.

You can read the full obituary here.

 Posted by at 12:44 pm
Dec 102020

As the results of late-stage clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine are announced, Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group director Dr. Gregory Poland ’77, an Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus, is being called upon by national media outlets to provide an expert analysis.

Poland, one of the nation’s leading vaccinologists, recently appeared on NPR’s Here and Now to discuss the promising results of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine trial. According to early data, Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective. This news came a week after Pfizer announced that its vaccine is more than 90% effective.

“As a physician and a scientist, you always want to temper your enthusiasm,” Poland said during the Nov. 16 episode of Here and Now. “On the other hand, for a COVID-weary world, this looks like a home run. To have a vaccine 95% effective is a big deal in the world of vaccinology.”

Although Moderna’s data has yet to undergo peer-review, and mass distribution of any vaccine is likely months away, Poland said he has hope that widespread public vaccination could begin around the spring or summer of 2021.

Despite the promising development, Poland emphasized that news of a forthcoming vaccine should not make Americans complacent, and that it will take a combination of a vaccine and current public health measures to curb the spread of the virus.

“The efficacy measures that we have are, if you will, vaccine plus masks plus social distancing. What happens when it’s the vaccine alone? That’s something we’ll see and come to understand over time.”

The Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, studies the efficacy and genetic drivers of novel vaccines through funding from the National Institutes of Health. Since founding the group in 1989, Poland’s research in vaccines for measles-rubella-mumps, smallpox, influenza and other viral infections has contributed greatly to the field of immunogenetics and public health.

Read the full article here.

 Posted by at 12:39 pm
Dec 092020
     Well, I could not let 2020 end without checking in with you. These last few months, (Duh! The year!) have been astonishingly arduous. What with Elections, Covid 19, Thanksgivings, and now, vaccine disorganization, we have been catapulted into dismay and discord. Never fear, you sturdy Titan warriors, your respite is coming. 
     I ask that you take a deep breath and exhale slowly, three times. Close your eyes and envision 2021 with hopeful anticipation. See the return to socialization, with family, friends, and co-workers. Look forward to a return of civility, in this our troubled land. Find peace, the peace of Advent as we wait for a jubilant Christmas celebration. I feel your weariness, but I trust in Our Creator and the universe’s response to our needs.
     Please, have a joyous Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or any celebration of love you choose. God willing, I will see you in the Happy New Year of 2021. Take care and stay safe!
Much Love,
Debbie Burt-Frazier
AABD, Class Newsletter Chair
Dec 082020

The Illinois Wesleyan University Athletics Department will be made even stronger with the establishment of The Legends Endowment for Athletic Excellence announced by Athletic Director Mike Wagner, Tuesday, December 1. The new six-figure endowment was made possible through the generosity of Jeff (’74) and Janet (’74) Solberg, Dr. Cal (’73) and Kris Atwell, Pat Busch (’78) and Michelle Zeller, Doug (’73) and Vicky Stewart, and Steve (’73) and Deb (’74) Wannemacher.

“We are so excited to announce the Legends Endowment for Athletic Excellence to the greater IWU community,” Wagner exclaimed. “This new endowment will forever enhance the student-athlete experience at IWU, while providing our coaches with the tools they need to develop future leaders.”

The endowment is named in honor of IWU athletics “legends” who made a lasting impact on the lives of countless student-athletes while also laying the foundation for the success IWU athletics enjoys today: Jack Horenberger, AD and baseball and basketball coach, Bob Keck, track and field and football coach, Don Larson, football and golf coach, Dennie Bridges, basketball coach and AD, Barb Cothren, softball, tennis, and volleyball coach and administrator, and Edgar Alsene, IWU’s first sports information director.

“I would personally like to recognize and thank Jeff and Janet Solberg for their support, generosity and leadership in envisioning and providing the lead gift for this endowment,” added Wagner.  “The Solbergs and all the initial donors have laid the foundation for a fund that will provide perpetual enhancements to our athletic programs that would otherwise be impossible. Every year, funds from the endowment will have an impact on capital improvements, equipment and technology upgrades, student-athlete travel and nutrition, and many other departmental needs. It is a fitting legacy to their love of and commitment to Illinois Wesleyan.”

Illinois Wesleyan athletics has a national reputation for excellence in competition, academics, and service to the community. The Titans have won eight team NCAA national championships, 24 individual NCAA national championships, and 160 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin titles. 

Academically, IWU ranks in the top-30 nationally among all NCAA divisions with 133 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and has seen seven College Division Academic All-Americans of the Year recipients. Furthermore, six Titan student-athletes have earned the NCAA’s “Elite 90” award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average participating at the finals site for the NCAA championships. 

More than one-third of Illinois Wesleyan students participate in Titan Athletics. In the Bloomington-Normal community, IWU student-athletes, coaches, and staff have donated more than $450,000 and completed roughly 35,000 community service hours over the past decade.

Please reach out to Tony Bankston (’91), Director of Titan Athletic Fund or Chris Murray (’91), Advancement Liaison to Athletics for more information about giving to this Endowment.

Read more here.

 Posted by at 4:31 pm
Dec 032020

Gale Strenger Wayne ’78 carries on her family’s long tradition of civic duty through her role as vice chair of the Lake County Community Foundation. Read the full articleabout her at the Daily North Shore here.

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Oct 192020

Carol Brandt ’78 has been recognized by Forbes as a one of the top women wealth advisors 2020. Congratulations, Carol!  Read the full article here.

 Posted by at 11:54 am
Oct 072020

Elizabeth Robb ’78 was named to Governor JB Pritzker’s Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee. More about Elizabeth’s accomplishments can be found here. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

 Posted by at 11:49 am