Larry Rollings Paul Halvorsen

Clockwise from above: Larry Rollings '66, Loyalty Award; Paul Halvorsen '91, Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; and Barbara Lavallee '64, Distinguished Alumna Award

Barbara Lavallee

IWU Celebrates Homecoming, Honors 3 Alumni

September 21, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University will celebrate its 2006 Homecoming week Oct. 6-8, and include a performance by Grammy-award winning artist Dawn Upshaw on Friday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts (BCPA), 107 E. Chestnut St., in Bloomington.

Tickets for the Upshaw concert are $30 for the general public and may be purchased at the BCPA box office, by phone at (309) 434-ARTS (2787), or online at at the link for "Arts Partner Events."  IWU students may purchase tickets for $15 with their student ID and must pick up their tickets in person at the box office.

IWU will also honor three alums at Homecoming: Barbara Lavallee, class of 1964, will receive the University's Distinguished Alumna Award; Larry Rollings, class of 1967, will receive the Loyalty Award and Paul Halvorsen, class of 1991, will receive the Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

The awards will be presented Saturday, Oct. 7, at 11:30 a.m. at the alumni luncheon in the Shirk Center, 302 Emerson St., in Bloomington.

The Distinguished Alumna Award is presented annually to an alumnus/na who has made a distinguished contribution to society, has achieved professional distinction, or has demonstrated civic leadership.  Lavallee, who earned her degree in art, is nationally known as an award-winning illustrator of 16 children's books.  She received the 1991 Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers for excellence in illustration for Mama, Do you Love me? 

Lavallee began her career teaching art on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona.  In 1970, she moved to Sitka, Alaska and taught Native students at Mt. Edgecombe boarding school.  In 1976, she left teaching to paint full time.  Lavallee's watercolor paintings reflect her interest in people, especially Alaskan natives.   She creates about 150 paintings a year, many of which are reproduced into prints.

The Loyalty Award is presented each year to alumni and friends who have benefited Illinois Wesleyan either through service to the University, strong financial support, or both.  Rollings, an independent insurance agent with Diamond Brothers Insurance Agency, has displayed unfaltering loyalty to IWU, currently serving as secretary of the Alumni Association Executive Board, president of the Champaign region, and class chair for the University's Annual Fund.  Rollings' past contributions include hosting IWU regional connections, serving as class agent for the Annual Fund and serving as past president and recording secretary for the Alumni Council.  Two of his three daughters have also graduated from Illinois Wesleyan.

Rollings has served as president of the Arcola Chamber of Commerce and the Douglas County United Way.  He is vice president of the East Central Illinois Independent Insurance Agents, as well as past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois.

The Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, named for a 1968 alumnus and former IWU Alumni Director, is presented to young alumni for their outstanding professional achievement, civic leadership, or both.  Halvorsen, co-owner of SMF, Inc., a metal fabrication shop, graduated from IWU with a bachelor of science degree in accounting.  After working for five years in Bloomington as a public accountant, he joined SMF, Inc. as production and purchasing manager.  In 2003, he and two colleagues purchased the company, which had approximately $13.5 million in sales and 95 employees.  Since taking ownership, the company has grown to a $30-million-plus company, operating at three locations, with a current employment of around 200 people.

Alumni Homecoming Activities

Homecoming activities planned include a book signing with Dave Kindred, class of 1963, and author of Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship on Friday, Oct. 6, from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. in The Ames Library's John Wesley Powell Rotunda, 100 Ames Plaza, in Bloomington.  The book recreates the unlikely connection between heavy weight broadcaster Howard Cosell and heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.  Kindred, a native of Atlanta, Ill., has been a newspaper columnist for 37 years, covering sports for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Washington Post and Golf Digest. He is the 1991 winner of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism, as well as a multiple winner of the "National Sportswriter of the Year," award, and has authored seven books.

Also on Friday, there will be a series of free lectures presented in the "Back to College" program.  The 50-minute presentations include:

* "Strength Training 101," Missy Smock, Director of Wellness, 10 a.m., Shirk Center Classroom

*"Media, Money and Momentum: The 2006 Midterm Elections," Tari Renner, professor of political science, 10 a.m., Beckman Auditorium in The Ames Library

* "Want to Write a Biography? Here's How," Dave Kindred, class of 1963, 11 a.m., Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library

* "Italian 101, part 1: A Crash Course in Italian Language Survival Skills," Scott Sheridan, associate professor of French, 1 p.m., Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library

* "Antarctic Marine Biology: A Short Course," 2 p.m., Will Jaeckle, associate professor of biology, 2 p.m., Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library

* "IWU's Excavations at Ancient Sepphoris, Lower Galilee, Israel: A Final Report," Dennis Groh, class of 1961, University Chaplain and professor of humanities and archeology, 2 p.m., Room 218 in the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art Building

* "Will Foreign Policy Affect the 2006 Elections? A Look at Past Elections," Michael Weis, professor of history, 3 p.m., Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library

At 11 a.m. on Friday, there will be an Alumni and Friends Golf Outing at Prairie Vista Golf Course, 502 Sale Barn Rd., in Bloomington.

From 4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. there will be tailgating at the Shirk Center Parking Lot and at 6:30 p.m. students will participate in the annual Titan Games.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, at 8 a.m. will be the Ryan A. Beaupre '95 5K Run/Walk at the IWU track, located in the 400 block of E. Kelsey St., north of the Shirk Center.

Also on Saturday morning from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. is the 7th Annual Classic Car Show on the Eckley Quadrangle, organized by Roger Garrett, assistant professor of clarinet and music at IWU and a member of the McLean County Automobile Club.  The IWU Titan Band will perform on the steps of Sheean Library as well

In addition, the University will honor Jean L. Heideman, class of '82, as this year's Distinguished Alumna for Nursing Excellence on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the School of Nursing Homecoming Brunch, held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Center for Natural Science Learning and Research Commons, 201 E. Beecher St.

An Alumni Luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Shirk Center's performance gym, and the IWU Titans football team will take on Carthage College at 1:30 p.m. at Wilder Field, located behind the Shirk Center.

A "Grande Finale" Dinner Party will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Conference Center (Veterans Parkway at Brickyard Dr., Bloomington) on Saturday, Oct. 7, starting at 9 p.m.  Erin Mulliken, class of 1990, will perform, as well as the IWU Jazz Band, directed by Tom Streeter, professor of brass instruments and theory.

On Sunday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m., there will be an All-University Homecoming Service at Evelyn Chapel (1301 Park St., Bloomington), followed at 11 a.m. by the Minority Alumni Network Recognition Ceremony and Service in the chapel.

Contact: Meg Dubuque, (309) 556-3181