Erin Simpson ’00 passed away on August 14, 2019. An accomplished academic, she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University in 2003. She published an article on Asthma in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and was also a free-lance editor and researcher. She is survived by her sister and friends. Read the full obituary here.
In March, Kris Kaneta ‘00 took on a new role as Chief Product Officer for MMIT. MMIT is the leading provider of software, data and analytics supporting drug and therapy market access.
Burke Nihill ’00, in his fifth season with the Tennessee Titans, is being elevated to President/CEO of the Titans. In February of this year, Burke was promoted to Senior Vice President/Business Operations & Chief Legal Officer with the franchise.
During his time with the Titans, Burke has been involved in many different facets of the organization. As Vice President and General Counsel, he was responsible for the organization’s legal, human resources, and government relations functions. Following his promotion earlier this year, he also began overseeing stadium and facility operations. In addition to his core responsibilities, Burke has also taken the lead on other strategic projects for the team. He was instrumental in the effort to secure and execute the 2019 Draft in Nashville and is currently overseeing the renovation and expansion of Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Burke joined the Titans in 2016 with 15 years of professional experience working as an attorney and strategic business counselor with companies ranging from technology startups to Fortune 500 businesses.
“I am exceedingly grateful for and humbled by this opportunity,” Burke said. “I am inspired by Amy’s [Amy Adams Strunk is the Titans controlling owner] vision for our franchise and look forward to collaborating with my talented colleagues to serve our fans, partners, and communities. From the NFL Draft on Broadway to a magical run to the AFC Championship, last year was a special season for Titans fans, but as an organization we believe the best is yet to come.”
You can read the full article at Titans Name New President: Burke Nihill Elevated to President/CEO as Steve Underwood Retires from Full-Time Role.
Sharon has been able to continue working with her students through video platforms and says that they’ve been finding comfort in routine. “They seem to still be practicing, which makes me happy, and I guess that people turn to the arts when times are difficult, and I see it happening with my students.”
But Sharon said for her own music, virtual connections just aren’t the same. A lot of her work involves collaborating with other musicians, which means that isolation has been a challenge. “That part has been really hard for me. I didn’t realize how much I would miss that, actually collaborating with people and playing. I had an emotional moment about a week ago where I actually did have to go into a rehearsal with a pianist because she wanted to get a recording before she went away for the summer. And so we collaborated and it was the first person I played any music with, really, in a week and a half, and it was quite moving for me because I didn’t realize how much I needed that, and how I did sort of crave that interaction, said Sharon. But don’t worry, Sharon added, “We did stay our 6 feet apart.”
Lately, Sharon has found a way to embrace her solitude. She’s been playing Bach in her bathrobe. She sent a video to her friends who encouraged her to record more sessions and post them to social media. Now #bathrobebach is a thing.
Sharon says it’s the small acts of beauty that keep us going. “I do think that in any sort of difficult time people like to hold on to things that are beautiful and artistic. We kind of need those things, I think, as an escape. And so even though sometimes for me it may not feel like what I’m doing is very much or maybe it just seems kind of silly, hopefully I can bring some kind of sense of relief to someone else I’m reaching out to,” said Sharon.
Other artists featured in the article include Nick Africano, Pokey LaFarge, and Dan Hubbard.
To see the entire article, you can visit Pandemic Takes Emotional Toll on Musicians at WGLT.
Sharon Chung ‘00 is using her violin and viola as a way to focus on beauty and joy during COVID-19.
When Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered Illinoisans to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharon had to make a sudden adjustment to her professional and personal life. A professional classical musician and private instructor who normally teaches out of her home, Sharon performs on her viola and violin with orchestras and symphonies across Illinois, with later springtime being a normally busy time. But that night of the governor’s announcement, Sharon began receiving email after email about her concerts being canceled.
Sharon and her husband, who teaches music at Millikin University, were able to adjust their schedules to be home with their young daughters. And her in-person lessons with students are now being conducted over FaceTime and Skype.
However, if one good thing has come from the pandemic, it’s the opportunity to bring people together. Every evening, weather permitting, Sharon will grab her violin and practice outside in her gazebo for her neighborhood to enjoy.
“I think we need to focus on these things that bring us beauty and joy,” she says. “I’m happy that I’m able to do these little things outside. Since the weather is getting a little nicer I’m thinking about doing pop-up concerts around town. I’m just trying to find ways to keep playing.”
You can read more about Sharon and her music at The Pantagraph website.
- To share a word of support for your classmates at this time, submit a post to your class newsletter by emailing your editor or if your class does not have an editor, send your post to email@example.com.
- You can provide support to the Titan Student Emergency Fund. This fund will provide relief to students with needs such as housing, travel, moving and storage, transportation and vehicle repair, and technology needs related to remote learning.
- If you have expertise or a career opportunity that you can share with students, please connect with a Hart Career Center staff member for a phone or video appointment through a Handshake account here. You can also post job and internship opportunities on the site. View FAQs here.
- University Archives & Special Collections wants to hear your experiences and reflections to keep a historical record of the impact of the pandemic on the Illinois Wesleyan community, you can learn more here.
- Assist the IWU Admissions team in student recruitment efforts. Our alumni are the best and most qualified to meet with prospective students to share your IWU experience. Sign up here: Titan Alumni Ambassadors.
- You can see more ideas here.
Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has elevated Burke Nihill ’00 to a senior leadership position on the business side of the organization.
Burke is being promoted to Senior Vice President/Business Operations and Chief Legal Officer. He previously held the title of Vice President and General Counsel for the team. Burke will oversee Legal, Human Resources, and Nissan Stadium Operations. Burke joined the Titans in 2016 after serving as Senior Manager and Senior Counsel at VMware, Inc. an international software company.
For more information, you can read Titans Elevate New Members to Senior Business Staff.
Thank-A-Giver Day (TAG Day) is Monday, February 10. This day provides the IWU campus community with the opportunity to thank donors who support Illinois Wesleyan. IWU celebrates each year in mid-February because it marks the symbolic point during the academic year – about 70% of the way through – when we rely on support from alumni and friends, our endowment, and external grants.
If you would like to be celebrated as a donor today, you can make a gift at iwu.edu/give.
Madison County Associate Judge Ryan Jumper ’00 spoke on November 18 to seventh- and eighth-grade members of the Student Athlete Leadership Team at Liberty Middle School in Edwardsville.
Ryan was appointed to the bench as an Associate Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit in March 2018 and is assigned to the Family Division.
The entire article can be seen at the website for The Telegraph.
Thank you to Dave Malcom ’00 for participating in the Hart Career Center luncheon with students on November 13, which included alumni of finance, accounting, business, and computer science backgrounds.