This Month at Illinois Wesleyan

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Anticipating winter’s arrival and the holiday season, we made the final push to the end of the semester, whether that meant preparing for presentations or performances. Yet, we still found time to find joy in things large and small: each other’s faith traditions, the first snowfall of the season, and late-night study sessions, when sleep deprivation rendered everything absolutely hilarious.

Here we present a pictorial record of our December, and we wish you joy and peace in the year to come.

Perera, Breyer, and President Jensen

Associate Professor of Physics Thushara Perera (far left), senior and physics major Fiona Breyer and President Eric Jensen check out their selfie photo at the annual Senior Dinner for students who finish their coursework in December. Students may invite a faculty or staff member who has been instrumental in their Illinois Wesleyan experiences. Breyer has worked with Perera since her sophomore year in his research at the intersection of physics and astronomy. He encouraged her successful application for a highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates position this past summer. Breyer has also worked on Perera's NSF-funded grant to construct a custom-made spectrometer. "I'm very grateful for the opportunities Dr. Perera has given me," said Breyer. "He's always believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself, and he's made me feel confident about my abilities to do lab work and to be a physicist." (Photo by Marc Featherly) 

Josiah Snow

“First snow on campus and I’m in love!” Josiah Tennent ’20 posted to his Instagram account on Dec. 4. The Sunday snow blanketed the campus with about three inches, allowing for a few study-break snowball fights. Warmer temperatures the next day melted the snowmen and igloos that had appeared on the Quad.

Write for Rights

Students, faculty and staff wrote more than 80 letters petitioning for the end of human rights abuses and for the release of Prisoners of Conscience at Write for Rights, an annual event sponsored by the Amnesty International Registered Student Organization. Tung Nguyen '17 (left) from Hanoi, Vietnam, and Megan Zsorey '19 of Chandler, Ariz., write in support of halting construction of the Site C Dam, which has been legally challenged as a threat to Indigenous cultures and ways of life in British Columbia. Professor of French Chris Callahan is pictured in the background. (Photo by Kim Hill)

Co-Choir at ChurchAn excited Victoria Morford ’20 shared this photo of fellow first-year Collegiate Choir members following the Christmas Choral Concert. “So blessed to have these amazingly talented people in my life!” she wrote. Those people are (from left) Keara Corbett, Andrew Johnson, Morford, Jake Scheuring, Elisabeth Williams and Maren Flessen. Morford said her Collegiate Choir experience has been among the greatest factors in her growth as a person and a musician in her first months at Illinois Wesleyan. Choir Director J. Scott Ferguson “pushes himself as much as he pushes his students, which is something I admire as a music education major,” Morford said of Ferguson, who is also professor of music and director of Choral Activities. “The dedication and higher standards he holds for himself inspire us to work together as a team, and most importantly, a family.”

Men's Basketball

Trevor Seibring ’17 (far left), Alec Bausch ’17 and Nick Coleman ’19 defend against a North Park player during the Dec. 3 game at the Shirk Center. The Titans have been ranked in the top 25 poll the entire season. (Photo by Jeff Findley)

School of Art Sale

Arts patron Linda Ritter of Normal, Ill., ponders which beauty to purchase among the works of Matt Urban, the owner of Furnace Urbini Glass Works in Normal. Glasswork, ceramics and prints produced by School of Art faculty and students, as well as local artists, were available for purchase during the school’s annual holiday sale. (Photo by Kim Hill)

Course Cluster

Hundreds of people listened to presentations from nearly 100 students in nine cluster courses associated with this academic year’s intellectual theme, “Women’s Power, Women’s Justice.” A closing symposium, held in The Ames Library, featured posters as well as Prezi and video presentations. The symposium format provides a relatively low-pressure opportunity for students to succinctly summarize coursework or research projects with further opportunities to offer their interpretations orally, faculty organizers said. (Photo by Kim Hill)

Light the Night 1

Multifaith Ambassador Meghan Manian ’17, a member of the South Asian Student Association, prepares a Diwali lamp during the University's fifth annual "Light the Night: A Multicultural Celebration of the Season of Light" in Evelyn Chapel. The popular event includes readings, songs and icons from several faith traditions and registered student organizations. (Photo by Anna Kerr-Carpenter ’17) 

Ali Collage

Friends of Ali Stevenson ’15 gathered in front of Stevenson Hall on Dec. 12 to dedicate a seven-son flower tree planted in her memory. A nursing major and member of the Titan women’s golf team, Stevenson was a registered nurse in Bloomington-Normal, remembered for "going above and beyond" for her patients. She died in an auto accident this summer. (Dedication photos by School of Nursing Recruitment Coordinator Kim Schultz)

Light the Night

Students, faculty, staff and community guests gathered in Evelyn Chapel to let their lights shine in celebration of the season during the annual "Light the Night" multicultural event. (Photo by Anna Kerr-Carpenter ’17)  

Track 2004 Indoor Champs

Prior to the Titan First Chance/Alumni Track meet held Dec. 3 at the Shirk Center, Titan national individual track and field champions who won their first place in years when the team did not win the NCAA title were presented with championship rings to honor their achievements. Among those champions were NCAA Division III 2004 Indoor 4x400 relay champions (from left) Katie O'Rourke Mavros ’05, Gena Rawlins Melick ’05, Nichole Williams-Reiser ’04, and Gianina Taylor Baker ’04.

Emily Brown '17 & Trevor Luu '16

Studying for finals requires the right snacks, plenty of hydration to go with all that caffeine, and, in the case of Emily Brown ’17 and Trevor Luu ’17, the appropriate headgear. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’18)

Light the Night 2

Students listen to readings during the popular "Light the Night" event, a multicultural celebration of the season of light. Multifaith Ambassadors Carly Floyd ’17 and Chaepter Negro ’19 coordinated the program, which included vocal and musical performances, readings and songs of celebration. (Photo by Anna Kerr-Carpenter ’17) 

Fundamental Astronomy

Professor of Physics Linda French is shown in one of her last sessions of teaching the course “Fundamental Astronomy.” French is retiring from classroom teaching, but will become an IWU research professor as she begins her duties early next year as a program director in astronomy for the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va. An internationally respected astronomer, French has encouraged undergraduate research in planetary astronomy by using a hands-on approach to observing and data analysis and by arranging for students to observe at the world's major observatories. “I believe IWU graduates who are educated and enthusiastic about science are vital forces for our society and the future of our planet,” French said of her duties regularly teaching the "Fundamental Astronomy" course designed for non-science majors. Many of these students “are surprised to learn that they not only can do science, but that they enjoy it.” French was the 2016 recipient of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, the University's highest teaching honor. (Photo by Makenna Merritt ’17)

McGraw Basketball

Molly McGraw ’18 leads the women’s basketball team in scoring as the Titans head into the second half of December. McGraw, who is also an NCAA Division III high jump champion, is pictured taking it to the basket in her game-high 12 point performance in the team’s win over Rose-Hulman. (Photo by Claire Hoverson ’17)

Acacia Party

Faculty including Professor of French and Italian Languages and Literatures Scott Sheridan (far left) dropped by a holiday open house sponsored by the men of Acacia. Also celebrating the season are: (second from left) Preston Sheridan ’20, Jack Wingo ’20 and Brent Baughan ’19.

Tommy at Christmas Party

Spreading enough holiday joy this month to rival Santa Claus, Tommy Titan made an appearance at the Children’s Christmas Party sponsored by the Bloomington & Normal Labor & Trades Assembly and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Director of Government and Community Relations Carl Teichman ’80)

Late Night Breakfast

A long-standing tradition: Illinois Wesleyan's president and members of his cabinet serve all students a late-night breakfast on Reading Day before finals begin. The long line of students waiting for bacon, eggs, pancakes and potatoes may indicate Provost Jonathan Green (left) and President Eric Jensen should keep their day jobs. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’18)

Dave Shiers

Among several employees retiring this month was Dave Shiers, manager of Custodial Services, who has worked at the University for an astonishing 46 years. Physical Plant hosted an open house for Dave and his well-wishers on Dec. 8. (Photo by Stew Salowitz ’76)

Steven Snow

Chemistry and German double major Steven Landeweer ’17 captured this peaceful image of the first snowfall of the year near midnight on Dec. 4.