American humorist Garrison Keillor, whose popular public radio network show has kept audiences laughing for 30 years, will kick off the 20th anniversary season of the Arts & Issues series Sept. 21. The SIUE School of Education and Partners Bank of Glen Carbon are co-sponsoring Keillor's appearance.
Arts & Issues, which has a long-standing tradition of bringing world-class performers and noted speakers to Southwestern Illinois, has put together an exciting playbill for the upcoming season that also includes Grammy Award winner Kathy Mattea, the powerful a cappella singing of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and the thought-provoking political views of Marlin Fitzwater and Joe Lockhart.
And, in a special encore engagement from last year's sellout concert, The Blind Boys of Alabama will return to the Arts & Issues stage with their exciting "funkified" gospel music as a result of overwhelming audience demand.
"For two decades the Arts & Issues series has been the benchmark of quality entertainment and distinguished speakers for Southwestern Illinois audiences," said John Peecher, coordinator of the series. "But this year, we've brought together a special anniversary season that continues our tradition as we enter the third decade of Arts & Issues.
"We are very thankful for the enthusiastic support from our patrons over the past 20 years and for the generosity of our donors, as well as the continued sponsorship of the university, making Arts & Issues a cultural staple of the region," Peecher said. "Without such support, we would never have been able to provide such a quality series. This will be a season to make our sponsors very proud."
Storyteller Keillor, the host of "A Prairie Home Companion," will appear at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in Meridian Ballroom. One of America's foremost humorists, Keillor will beguile the audience with remembrances of his "hometown," Lake Woebegone, Minnesota, in an unforgettable evening.
On the eve of the presidential election, political pundits Fitzwater and Lockhart-both press secretaries for former presidents-will offer provocative debate on critical issues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in Meridian. Fitzwater, who was press secretary for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, has been a Washington insider for more than two decades. Lockhart, press secretary for Bill Clinton, is also an award-winning journalist.
Grammy winner Mattea, the popular singer-songwriter who brought us "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and "Where've You Been?" will present an evening of musical delights that showcase her modern country sound sprinkled with Celtic influences at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 2005, in Dunham Hall theater. The delightful singer brings a touching array of emotions to her work.
To say "back by popular demand" would be an understatement for The Blind Boys of Alabama, who last year sold out faster than any other Arts & Issues event in recent memory. The singers will hit the stage "rockin'" with their special blend of gospel and blues at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, 2005, in Dunham Hall theater.
The most noted practitioners of the a cappella style of singing born in the mines of South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19, 2005, in Dunham Hall theater. As musical ambassador of its homeland for more than 25 years, the male chorus gained worldwide acclaim when it collaborated with American songwriter-singer Paul Simon on his landmark album-Graceland.
Other Arts & Issues 20th anniversary appearances include: the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Holiday Tour, 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, Dunham Hall Theater; The Acting Company with its rendition of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona in a 3 p.m., Sunday matinee, Feb. 27, 2005, Dunham Hall Theater; and the Dallas Brass, 8 p.m., Friday, April 22, 2005, Meridian Ballroom.
Subscription tickets are on sale with seven events offered for $115; students $57.50, or seven events plus the added attraction of the Blind Boys, $133, students, $66.50. More information is available by contacting John Peecher, (618) 650-2626, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscriptions also may be purchased at the Web site: artsandissues.com.
SIU President James E. Walker recently announced the appointment of Jerry D. Blakemore to serve as the new SIU general counsel.
Blakemore, who had been CEO of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), took over duties July 16 from Mark Brittingham, who has been serving as interim general counsel since the departure of Peter Ruger earlier this year.
The general counsel is the chief legal officer for the university and has joint responsibilities in reporting to the President and to the SIU Board of Trustees. The general counsel supervises a staff of attorneys responsible for providing advice and counsel on a wide variety of legal matters to the President, the Board, and the administrators, faculty and staff of SIUC and SIUE.
Blakemore brings nearly 25 years of legal experience in both the public and the private sectors. His career has included stints as legal counsel to former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, and as managing partner of a private law practice.
Blakemore was CEO of ISFA for more than seven years. ISFA is a municipal corporation that owns, operates and manages U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park) in Chicago, Blakemore also brings a deep knowledge of higher education, having served on the Illinois Board of Higher Education since 1992, including a term as its chair. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently reappointed Blakemore to another four-year term on the IBHE.
Walker believes Blakemore's wide experience will be an asset for SIU. "Jerry Blakemore brings a deep and strong set of skills and experiences to this university," Walker said. "His wide experience in the legal profession along with his keen interest in higher education will make him a very valuable member of the SIU community. I'm pleased Jerry will be joining our team."
Blakemore said he is looking forward to serving the President, the Board of Trustees and the university community in general. "Southern Illinois University is an outstanding academic institution whose significance goes far beyond its immediate surroundings and reaches every corner of our state and most parts of the world.
" I am especially grateful to (BOT Chairman) Glenn Poshard, the entire Board of Trustees, and to President Walker for this wonderful opportunity to combine my passion for higher education and my professional experience and training as a lawyer. Their support is appreciated."
Blakemore earned a bachelor's in Political Science at Princeton University, where he received the Frederick Douglas Award for academic and community service achievements, and a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
As a young man, Chuck Mecum came to work at the Edwardsville campus about 10 years after it opened, but he found quickly that memories of the university's stormy beginnings still lingered.
Two documents from those early days were discarded in an attempt to forget some of the unpleasant resentment harbored by residents who preferred the university be established elsewhere. But, sensing the documents might have historic value in the future, Mecum retrieved them from the trash.
Mecum, who retired in 2002 after 26 years of service to SIUE, recently restored the documents to the university. "I wanted to return them while David Werner still was chancellor because he may be our last chancellor who has been with the university since its early years." Werner, who joined the SIUE faculty in 1968, retired June 30 after 36 years of service.
In 1976, Mecum was staff assistant to J.P. Davis, who at the time was executive assistant to the president of the university and SIUE's legal counsel. Mecum had been asked to gather documents and materials from the office of a faculty member who had left the university.
"This was some months after the death of John Rendleman in 1976," Mecum said. "What I found was a substantial number of files relating to university land acquisitions and a final site plan dated Aug. 29, 1960, as well as a landowner protest sign that reads: 'GET OUT SIUE' and hand-painted above a skull and crossbones. Mr. Davis handled disposition of the land acquisition materials and I was told to review the other items with other members of the president's staff.
"I was told to throw the site plan and the sign in the trash," Mecum said. "I supposed it was because the items invoked sad memories of John Rendleman who had just died, and also memories of the early resentment of the farming community about the university. "So, I dutifully put them in a trash can in a back office, but when I left that day, I retrieved them and took the items home."
Mecum recently presented the items to Chancellor Werner shortly before he (Werner) retired. The SIUE site plan shows a large stadium and a field house, water and power plants, a train station, and an aircraft landing strip. In addition, the plan called for 80 to 90 buildings and two large lakes in addition to the existing Tower Lake (now Cougar Lake). The sign, Mecum said, hung on a farm fence on land that eventually was purchased by the university.
The university first held classes at East St. Louis and Alton in 1957, but plans included a new campus on more than 2,600 acres just outside the city limits of Edwardsville. In November 1960 a statewide bond issue was passed that established SIU at Edwardsville and also established the University of Illinois campus at Chicago. After the bond issue passed, Myron Bishop, an officer for the university, began acquiring land for the campus.
"I know the president's staff was interested in looking ahead to the future of SIUE as a great institution and didn't want to be reminded of the rough years, but I felt history needed to be served so I've kept the documents," Mecum said.
"But, it was time for these items to rejoin SIUE so that others can enjoy them also, and the university can regain part of its history."
William G. Hendey, who has been acting director of Academic Counseling and Advising for the past year, was named director of that unit effective July 1.
Hendey was named acting director after the retirement of Terrell Martin, who headed the office for 16 years. Hendey served 11 of those years as assistant director under Martin.
Academic Counseling and Advising serves more than 5,000 SIUE students who have yet to declare a major, including students who are undecided regarding their academic objectives, students who are on academic probation, and, the largest group, students who are in the process of completing the declaration eligibility requirements of their intended majors.
As director, Hendey is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the counseling unit, while also serving on the university's General Education Committee, the Curriculum Council, the University Planning and Budget Council, and the University Staff Senate, to name a few.
During the past year, Hendey has helped oversee implementation of AdvisorTrac, a Web-based advising appointment scheduling system for students, and has initiated an advisor liaison system to bring about better communication and increased interaction between the unit and various academic departments within the university.
Before joining the SIUE staff, Hendey spent 17 years in academic advising at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. While at Ball State, Hendey also served as director of the university's liberal arts residential instruction program and designed an individualized baccalaureate program that was subsequently approved by the Indiana State Commission for Higher Education and currently in effect.
In addition, Hendey also had been assistant to the dean of the Honors College and coordinator of Academic Advising for the 1,300 students in the college. Before he was at Ball State, Hendey taught high school English and Social Studies in Indiana.
Hendey earned a bachelor of science in Social Studies in 1962, a master's in European History five years later, and, in 1979, a doctorate in Education Administration, all from Ball State. He also received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in 1968 at the Summer Institute in Sociology.
Harold Melser, executive director of University Development and also director of Planned Giving for the SIUE Foundation, was among 25 professionals from throughout North America chosen to attend the third Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Faculty Training Academy recently at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta.
He joined colleagues from the United States and Canada to study instructional concepts, from adult learning styles to lesson planning and presentation techniques, as well as controlling classroom behavior.
The AFP represents more than 26,000 members throughout the world who are working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs.
Melser said instructors explained and modeled a variety of planning and classroom management skills. "There were many opportunities to share ideas for teaching activities that meet the needs of adult learners," Melser said. "On the final day of the academy participants presented a short lesson that was videotaped and critiqued."
Individuals selected to attend the academy had to meet several criteria including demonstrated success in the nonprofit field and in teaching adult students during the three years prior to their application to the Academy. "In addition, we had to have been granted a professional designation such as ACFRE (Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive), or FAHP, Fellow-Association for Health Care Philanthropy, which I have," Melser explained.
Academy graduates will use what they learned not only in teaching AFP courses but also in training others to be better teachers in their AFP chapters and in the nonprofit organizations for which they work.
"My primary objective in completing the AFP Faculty Training Academy," Melser said, "was to create opportunities for me to make presentations and teaching as part of meeting the SIUE goal of achieving national recognition through the participation of faculty and staff in regional as well as national forums and seminars."
Two SIUE golfers have been named to the Division I, II, and III National Golf Coaches Association's All-American Scholar Teams.
Brittany Auld of Nashville and Kallie Harrison of Decatur were among more than 300 women's collegiate golfers recognized with the prestigious honor.
The criteria for selection to the All-American Scholar Team are some of the most stringent of all college athletics. The minimum cumulative GPA is 3.50 (3.40 for Seniors in Division II and III) and student-athletes must have competed in at least 66 percent of the college's regularly scheduled competitive rounds during the year.