This Month at Illinois Wesleyan

▷  See more photos

We’re going on record with this declaration: April is the busiest month for a majority of folks living and working at Illinois Wesleyan, and this year, we added the inauguration of President Jensen to an already jam-packed calendar. Whether through John Wesley Powell research presentations, art show openings and senior recitals, athletic competitions, or end-of-the-year awards ceremonies and luncheons, students had a lot to accomplish and to celebrate at IWU in April.

The campus seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief when exams were finally over, papers were all turned in and graded, and Mother Nature's sunshine coaxed trees and flowers to bloom. It also gave students time to reflect on how quickly a crazy-busy year had passed. As one junior noted on Instagram, “...just like that, college is three-fourths of the way over...”

Breathe for a moment, and take a look at our April.


Senior Dinner

After the annual Senior Dinner, the Class of 2016 gathered to hear shout-outs to those who made their four years at IWU memorable. In addition to heartfelt thanks given to faculty and staff, seniors shared funny and irreverent shout-outs to, among others, the “Shirk Family for the Shirk Center expansion where non-athletic real people can work out without judgment” and to “[newly reopened pizza pub] Flingers, for teaching us to never take good pizza or Flinger rolls for granted. We are so thankful you are back in our lives.” (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Investiture Ceremony

Newly invested President Eric Jensen acknowledges the crowd seconds after Board of Trustees Chair George Vinyard ’71 (left) and Trustees Secretary Jean Baird ’80 present him with the medallion emblematic of the University presidency. (Photo by Marc Featherly)


Music theatre major Juna Shai ’18 plays the rebellious and sultry “Carmen” in the School of Theatre Arts’ production of Fame: The Musical. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Jonathan All In

All In For Wesleyan is more than a one-day giving campaign. It’s also a chance to celebrate IWU and all the people who make it special. Provost Jonathan Green participates in fun and games on the Quad, including a ride-around on an adult tricycle. Social media photos of the joyful, bow-tied Green prompted one admirer to dub him “the most interesting provost in the world.” (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14)

Abby Shirk Setup

The considerable design skills of Hart Career Center staffer Abby Reel ’04 were on full display at the Presidential Inaugural Backyard Barbecue and Bluegrass, as Reel and a committee transformed the Shirk Center Activity Gym into a springtime backyard oasis. Here she puts the finishing touches on one of the five barbecue grills borrowed for the occasion. (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14) 

Inez White '16

Graduation renders many conflicting emotions. Speaking at Multicultural Graduation, Inez White ’16 spoke tearfully of her journey over four years from lonely, frightened first-year student to confident college graduate. The annual event highlights the accomplishments of multicultural senior students, each of whom receive a certificate as well as a Kente stole they can wear at Commencement. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)

Honors Convocation

The Teaching Excellence Award has long recognized and celebrated the vital role that teaching plays at Illinois Wesleyan. Kemp Foundation Award 2017 honoree Rebecca Gearhart (right) beams alongside 2016 award winner Linda French at the Honors Convocation. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Crabapple Trees

In what may be a record for IWU’s social media platforms, this unedited iPhone photo of the row of Profusion Crabapple trees on the east side of Holmes Hall drew some 1,600 likes on Facebook -- proving Photoshop is still no match for Mother Nature. (Photo by Kim Hill)

Kristen Andersen '17

Kristen Andersen ’17 is ready to present her work on Wewelsburg, Heinrich Himmler and the Chiemsee Kettle at the German Undergraduate Research Conference, the only undergraduate research conference in the country that takes place entirely in German. If you'd like to brush up on your German, you can read items from the conference proceedings in the IWU Digital Commons. (Photo by Cong Vu ’16)

Fame backstage

Steven Schur ’17, playing “Schlomo Metzenbaum,” waits for his cue backstage during final dress rehearsal for Fame: The Musical. In many ways, the production was a response to the Fame film franchise as opposed to a basic musicalization. (Photo by Anna Kerr-Carpenter ’17)


Physics major Zhenghao “Andy” Ding ’18 explains his research on nanovaterite synthesis and processing to Jacob Henry ’16, who would present his own work on mathematics later in the day at the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Patrick Foster '19

Patrick Foster ’19 clears the high jump bar at Wheaton's Don Church Twilight Meet on April 16. (Photo from Cathy Renk)

Is It On Me?

“Is It on Me?” a work by Rachael Schamberger ’16, won the Sipich Alumni Purchase Award, a recognition award sponsored by Amber Sipich ’12, at the annual BFA/BA Senior Art Exhibitions. 


Just before their final performance of the year, University Choir members Kathleen O’Shea ’18 (left) and Weronika Pach ’19 pose for a photo. The choir’s program included composer Stephen Chatman’s Due North, a nature-inspired piece requiring the singers to portray the majesty of mountains, the persistence of woodpeckers, and even the buzzing of mosquitoes through their voices.


President Jensen’s wife, Elizabeth (center, with lei) celebrates with family and friends at the Backyard Barbecue and Bluegrass social gathering following President Jensen’s inauguration ceremony. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Alumni Showcase

Six alumni, including Dr. Stephen Ondra '80 (center), were invited to share their stories at an Alumni Showcase, a Presidential Inauguration event. Ondra ’80 shares a laugh with his mentor, Professor Emeritus of Biology Bob Hippensteele, and biology major Blake Beehler ’16 (right). A neurosurgeon, Ondra performed a complicated spinal surgery several years ago on Beehler’s older brother, inspiring Beehler to strive to become a physician, too. (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14)

Civic Engagement

Student Senate Treasurer Alex Stogin ’18 was one of dozens of students attending the Civic Engagement Banquet. Sponsored by Student Senate in collaboration with the Action Research Center, the event celebrates students, faculty, staff and community partners for their significant contributions to community service. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)


Faculty and staff celebrating employment anniversaries or impending retirement are encouraged to have their photos taken for a slideshow that's always a highlight of the annual recognition celebration. Many employees choose to take a playful tone in their photo sessions, such as this gem of Head Baseball Coach Dennis Martel, who celebrated 30 years at Illinois Wesleyan. (Photo by Jim Plath)

All In Kickoff

In keeping with the "Soaked in Spirit" theme, students gathered at Hansen Student Center to drench themselves and each other in 100 gallons of paint to celebrate the launch of this year's All In for Wesleyan. Nearly 2,000 donors contributed over $539,800 in the one-day giving challenge. (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14)