Mar 282021
 

Matthew Dearing ’00 participated in a Careers in Technology Panel with the Hart Career Center at Illinois Wesleyan University on February 24, 2021. Moderated by Andrew Shallue, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Matthew and other alumni discussed careers in technology, software development, consulting, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity with IWU students.

Matthew is currently an AIOps Technical Lead and Applications Development with Argonne National Laboratory as well as a Freelance Sci+Tech Editor (AI/machine learning) in Chicago.

Mar 182021
 

Paul Vranas ’00 received a 2021 Neighborhood Star Award by Denver’s Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation organization. In addition to working in software consulting and shuttling around two little kids, Paul has also been working on the following initiatives:

  • Creating the Lowry Coronavirus Help Group, a local mutual aid organization for neighbors to assist those in need
  • Starting the “Federal Benefits During a Pandemic” Facebook group, where 11,000 people nationwide help each other navigate complex government aid programs
  • Organizing neighbors to overturn a ban on lawn signs that existed in our Homeowners Association.
Feb 052021
 

Monday, February 8 is Thank-A-Giver Day at Illinois Wesleyan and we’re eager to celebrate generous Titans!

Thank-A-Giver (TAG) Day is the symbolic point during the academic year — about 70% of the way through — when tuition dollars are exhausted and Illinois Wesleyan relies on donor generosity to continue providing a world-class education and rewarding collegiate experiences.

Each and every year, every gift matters. Contributions benefit students and faculty, enhance academic excellence, and strengthen the IWU community.

Thank you to all who give back to move IWU forward.

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Jan 252021
 

Lucinda (Lucy) Shair ’00, mother of two and Founder and Principal of Lucy Shair Financial, passed away January 6, 2021. At Illinois Wesleyan University, Lucy studied French and International Business and lived in the international house on campus, where she met many of her lifelong friends and fostered her love of languages, becoming fluent in French, and cultures. She later earned her Master’s in Accounting from the University of Southern California and achieved her CPA.

Lucy enjoyed music, singing in different choruses throughout her life, and playing the trumpet in orchestras and jazz bands into college. She enjoyed travel, nature, and many hobbies associated with it, including hiking, fly fishing, kayaking, and gardening. She could identify many trees, plants, and birds and loved to purchase and inherit various plants and flowers. She loved reading and spreadsheets, planning and organizing, dancing and singing, most of all with her children and wider family.

She also possessed a profound, lifelong sense of justice. In the pinnacle of her forensic accounting practice, she managed a section of the federal effort to compensate victims of the September 11 attacks, working for over a year on the Victim Compensation Fund under Special Master Kenneth Feinberg. She developing a recycling program at multiple schools and businesses. And through the children’s schooling and community involvement, Lucy nurtured her passion for school policy and political activism.

You can read the full obituary for Lucy here.

Oct 122020
 

Meg McKeen ’00, Founder/Chief Confidence Builder with Adjunct Advisors, hosted mock virtual interviews on September 18. McKeen has worked in the insurance industry for the past 20 years and was eager to share her experience of interviewing with students.

 Posted by at 12:07 pm
Aug 032020
 

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.

 Posted by at 12:57 pm
Jun 162020
 

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.

Congratulations, Kris!

 Posted by at 11:26 am
May 262020
 

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.

May 202020
 
Sharon Chung ‘00, a professional violinist and violist, discussed her experience as a local musician during the stay-at-home order in a story featured on WGLT, a public radio station broadcasting out of Normal, Illinois.

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.

Apr 282020
 

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.