May 102022

Judy (Thomas) Hannan ’80 recently published an article in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing. The piece, titled “Improving Hypertension Control and Cardiovascular Health: An Urgent Call to Action for Nursing,” “profiles the critical roles for nurses in hypertension control in the form of leadership, education, research, advocacy, and evidence-based care.” Judy currently serves at the CDC as the Senior Advisor for Million Hearts®, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes. You can read her paper here.

Apr 052022

Gary Wester of Normal, Illinois, died March 15, 2022. He was 74. Gary taught computer science as a member of Illinois Wesleyan’s faculty from 1985-87. He also taught at Waycross (Ga.) College. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Western Michigan University. After his teaching career, Gary went on a long and distinguished career with State Farm, from which he retired in 2010 to pursue passions for watercolor and pastel painting. He is survived by his wife, three children, granddaughter, brother, and several nieces and nephews. You can read more here.

 Posted by at 12:19 pm
Apr 012022

Jeff Lockenvitz ’84 retired as principal of Bloomington District 87’s Washington Elementary School at the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year. Jeff’s retirement concluded a 37-year career in education, including the past 28 years as principal at Washington, after also student teacing at the school. Replacing him is fellow Titan Zach Freeman ’07, who also completed his student teaching at Washington School, then taught at Washington for 11 years and now will be the school’s 11th principal in the last 125 years.  Zach will start his job for the 2022-23 school year.

Pictured below is Zach and Jeff.

 Posted by at 11:48 am
Apr 012022

Brian Balestri ’86 is the creator of “Who Said True?!” an online party game played on phones where players secretly answer fun true/false questions about themselves. Players are awarded points for accurately guessing how many other players answered “true.” The game produces fun conversations and stories and is perfect for nights out with friends, family get-togethers, and even Zoom team meetings. Brian left his position as chief technology officer at GrandPad in order to focus full-time on “Who Said True?!”

Check out Who Said True?!’s website at:

 Posted by at 11:33 am
Mar 292022

Mario Mancinelli of Bloomington, Illinois, died March 15, 2022. He was 99. Mario served as a faculty member in Illinois Wesleyan’s School of Music for 35 years. He was hired in 1948 to teach strings and chamber music, and conduct the student orchestra. He retired in 1983 with emeritus status. Mario attended Ohio State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was also a faculty member at Brevard Music Center for 25 years. He was a member of the American String Teachers Association, American Federation of Musicians, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an honorary member of Phi Kappa Phi. Mario was an accomplished violinist and played regularly in Central Illinois orchestras. He enjoyed crossword puzzles, playing and listening to classical music, playing cards, and watching the Indianapolis 500, World Series and the Olympics. He was a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal. He is survived by two children and a granddaughter. 

 Posted by at 4:27 pm
Feb 252022

Richard Koenig ’89 has recently achieved the urban planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners College of Fellows for his outstanding achievements in urban planning. Congratulations Richard!

 Posted by at 11:16 am
Feb 082022

Robert Donalson died Dec. 22, 2021. He was 87. Bob was a professor in Illinois Wesleyan’s School of Music for 30 years; he retired in 1994 with emeritus status. Bob felt the call to become an educator while serving in the U.S. Army in a mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean War. He obtained a master’s degree at San Jose State University and a doctorate at the University of Colorado Boulder. He began his teaching career at Pepperdine University before landing at IWU. Bob loved beauty in all its forms — nature, art and poetry among them — but music was his emotional home. He was active in religious life and often shared his gift of music in the church. Bob was always learning and educated himself on subjects ranging from theology and philosophy, to computer science and financial investing, to home repair and carpentry. He enjoyed traveling, sports, his cats and, most of all, his family. He is survived by his wife, five children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Bob’s Celebration of Life will be held on February 12 at 1 p.m. CST and will be live-streamed at

 Posted by at 3:08 pm