From IWU Magazine, Fall 2016 edition
This year’s Homecoming paid tribute to some of Illinois Wesleyan’s many heroes — from a fallen Marine to alumni who helped bring a civil rights legend to campus, as well as beloved professors and more than a few Titan sports greats.
Photos by MARC FEATHERLY & LORI ANN COOK-NESLER
Milestone reached in honoring alumnus
As a U.S. Marine Corps captain, Ryan A. Beaupre ’95 was the first American to give the ultimate sacrifice for his country in Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the past 12 years, the Captain Ryan A. Beaupre ‘95 Memorial Scholarship 5K Run has been held at Homecoming. With funds raised to now fully endow a scholarship in Beaupre’s name, it was announced this year’s run would be the last. In a letter to classmates, Jennifer (Gooch) Keeney ’95 wrote that while the run’s end was “bittersweet ... the achievement of the endowment is important as the University, in partnership with Ryan’s parents, evolves to new ways of honoring Ryan.” Mark and Nicky Beaupre met Cameron Ward ‘17, the winner of the endowed scholarship in their son’s name, at this fall’s annual Benefactors Dinner.
Historymakers recall the 1960s
Eldridge "Skip" Gilbert '67, Mary Harris Melchor '70, Richard Muirhead '66 and Wenona Whitfield '70 were among participants in a Homecoming "Back to College" class. All four discussed the impact of the 1966 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visit to campus and the events that led up to his visit. They also reflected on how this period in Wesleyan history shaped their own social consciences and their lives. In addition to civil rights, Whitfield recalled her involvement in the debate over women's hours: female students could not leave their residence halls after 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and 12:30 a.m. on weekends. (The rules were amended in 1968 and abolished in 1972.) A special guest speaker at the event was Professor of History Emeritus Paul Bushnell, who was active in the early Civil Rights movement and taught one of the first African-American history courses in the country at IWU.
For the Love of Haven cast reunites
Titan theatre legend and emeritus professor John Ficca has written several plays, some which were produced during his tenure in the School of Theatre Arts from 1956 to 2002 — including For the Love of Haven, a political satire set in the microcosm of a small Midwestern college. Members of the original cast reunited to do a reading of the play on the 20th anniversary of its 1996 production. Performed in Evelyn Chapel and attended by Ficca, the reunited cast included T.J. Cimfel '96, Heather Olt '96, Lauren Hansen Brancato '97, Andrew Battles '96, Sarah J. Hayes '96, Jeff Gallenbeck '96 and Heather Lane Gallenbeck '96. Provost Jonathan Green also played a role originally performed by an alumnus who was unable to attend.
1965 football team honored
Members of the undefeated 1965 football team reunited — among them, Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Matthews '66, who played wide receiver. The reunion, coupled with the Distinguished Alumnus honor he received (see page 10), provided "a cool doubleheader," Matthews told the Bloomington Pantagraph. "That was the last Illinois Wesleyan team to defeat Illinois State, which is kind of a nice distinction and one of the highlights obviously." Head Football Coach Norm Eash '75, who has led the Titans for three decades, introduced the players at the Alumni Awards Reception: "We're in our 125th season of football. It's the oldest sport on campus. And there's been 1,021 games played by young men wearing green and white across their chest. ... It's about the alumni and the true Titans, like the 1965 alumni football team, that have allowed all of us to carry the torch of success and dignity."
150-year Fiji celebration
IWU's Alpha Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) celebrated its 150th anniversary during Homecoming, highlighted by a Sesquicentennial Banquet. Now the third oldest continuously functioning chapter of Phi Gamma Delta in the world, Alpha Deuteron was also Illinois Wesleyan's first-ever fraternity and was the first chapter of a Greek letter society chartered in the state of Illinois. David Priess '93 — a former CIA officer and author of The President's Book of Secrets — was the banquet's keynote speaker. Marvin Bower '45 was honored for 75 years of membership, and Bill Martin '75 was given the Lifetime Fiji Award. Randy Dewar '68 was co-master of ceremonies with Jamal Jackson '17. Dewar was the Undergraduate Master of Ceremonies for the chapter's 1966 Centennial Banquet.