This Month at Illinois Wesleyan

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As March dissolved into April and the winter-that-wasn’t gave way entirely to spring, it was full throttle toward the end of the academic year at Illinois Wesleyan. Presentations, exams, papers, performances, celebrations, competitions, playing, living – you kind of forgot to breathe, and sleep seemed like a foggy memory.

Stop for just a moment, and have a look at our April.

Steph Alvarez

Steph Alvarez ’18 was among many students gathering on the Quad in their best (or perhaps most expendable) white t-shirts to commemorate Holi, a spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal. In the IWU version of the free-for-all festival of colors, students threw tinted powders and doused each other with water balloons. The fourth annual event was sponsored by the South Asian Student Association. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)


Pat Mollo ’17 connects on a homer in the April 9 game against Carroll University. The slugging Mollo was named Division III National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Hitter of the Week for the first full week of April, batting .688 with 11 runs, two doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI. (Photo by Steve Frommell/D3Photography)

Jenia and Robert Wilson

Music theatre majors Robert Wilson ’19 (left) and Jenia Head ’17 take a leap in “Cross Currents,” a piece choreographed by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Jean MacFarland Kerr, for the Faculty Choreographed Dance Concert. Directed by Sheri Marley, the concert was entitled Momentum. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Vickie and RebeccaThe University’s Teaching Excellence Award has undergone several name changes over its 50-plus-year history, but its purpose has remained constant: recognizing and celebrating the vital role of teaching at Illinois Wesleyan. The 2017 recipient of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, anthropology professor Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy (right) beams alongside the 2018 recipient, Caroline F. Rupert Endowed Chair of Nursing and Director of the School of Nursing Victoria Folse, who is also a member of the IWU Class of 1986. Folse's award was announced at this year’s Honors Convocation, where Mafazy was the featured speaker. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’17)

Writing Thoughts 2

Celebrating all those in the IWU community who make significant contributions to community service, the Civic Engagement Banquet includes opportunities for students and staff to express their ideas on the importance of giving back. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)

Mandy Vicary

A camera crew for a major cable channel makes last-minute lighting adjustments in preparation for an interview with Assistant Professor of Psychology Amanda Vicary, whose expertise includes research on the popularity of true crime stories among women. Contractually, Vicary can’t reveal more about her April 8 interview or the cable channel conducting it until closer to the program’s air date this fall. (Photo by Kim Hill)

Meg Stanely at JWP

Secondary education and history major Meg Stanley ’17 presents her research on student study skills in high school history at Inquiries into Teaching and Learning, an Educational Studies research conference held in conjunction with the annual John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Ed Studies event. (Photo by Makenna Merritt ’17)

Blacklight Dance PartyStudents kicked off the fifth annual All In for Wesleyan with a black light dance party at Hansen Student Center. The annual giving day invites alumni, parents and friends from around the world to give back to move Illinois Wesleyan forward. At day’s end on April 5, more than 2,300 donors in 45 states and six countries had given over $700,000. (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14)

Multicultural Graduation Group

Several members of the Class of 2017 pose for photos following Multicultural Graduation. The annual event celebrates the accomplishments of Multiracial, African-American, Latino-Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American graduates. The stoles, which the seniors will also wear at Commencement, represent a student’s heritage. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)

Men's Golf

The men’s golf team finished in first place and the “B” team finished in sixth place at the Augustana Invitational on April 15. Conner O’Neil ’18 finished in first place in the 111-player field. (Photo courtesy of Head Coach Jim Ott ’91)

International Letters

In response to the first executive order on immigration in January, alumna Vera (Leopold) Miller ’05 organized a card-writing campaign so every international student currently enrolled at IWU —  all 161 of them — felt supported and encouraged. Miller, her husband David ’05 and several alumni friends gathered to write cards in her home (bottom, right), while nearly 20 other alums wrote from their residences. “The attention and support from this letter really assured me that I am warmly welcomed and appreciated here at IWU,” said Linh Le ’19, a native of Hanoi, Vietnam. “I feel connected to [writer Kat Garibaldi ’05] through her writing about her personal experiences with IWU and her aspirations, even though we have never met.” (Photos of students and cards by Phone Vilailuck ’18)  


The Honorable Gro Bruntland, the first female prime minister of Norway, delivered the Adlai Stevenson Memorial Lecture on April 13. Bruntland also served five years as Norway’s Minister of the Environment and chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development, which popularized the concept of sustainable development. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’17)

Tanya Gupta

Psychology major Tanya Gupta ’17 presents her research on social exclusion at the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference. Chair and Professor of Psychology Jason Themanson mentored Gupta’s research. (Photo by Makenna Merritt ’17)

Cocoon By Anna

“Cocoon,” a photograph by Anna Kerr-Carpenter ’17, won the Dyke Alumni Award during the 30th annual Juried Student Art Exhibition and BFA/BA Senior Art Exhibits. Calling the photo a “self-portrait of sorts,” Kerr-Carpenter is underneath the blanket. The photo represents the desire “to crawl into a cocoon of blankets away from the world when things get stressful or scary, but always re-emerging renewed, like a butterfly,” Kerr-Carpenter said of her inspiration in setting up the shot.  

Adrienne and Eli

Utilizing a red band as prop to connect her dancers, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Jean MacFarland Kerr choreographed “Tapestry” for the Faculty Choreographed Dance Concert. Eli Miller ’17 and Adrienne Snider ’18 performed the emotional work. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Jason and Spectrometer

Jason Chen ’17 prepares to install an optical window, which he designed, into a cryostat that's coupled to a Fourier Transform Spectrometer. Chen and several other IWU physics students played important roles in construction of the instrumentation, which will be used to learn more about cosmic dust and its relationship to the evolution of galaxies and stars. The project – three years in the making – was funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Associate Professor of Physics Thushara Perera. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Quincy and Karla

Quincy Butler ’17 wraps Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall in a hug at Multicultural Graduation. Butler interned in the Dean of Students Office, working on social media and marketing for the 2016-17 intellectual theme “Women’s Power, Women’s Justice.” (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)

Ames by Reilly

Assistant Manager of Grounds Services and horticulturalist extraordinaire Ken Detloff identifies the tree framing The Ames Library as Floribunda crabapple. We just call it ‘beautiful.’ (Photo by Reilly Kasprak ’17)

Abby and Mandy

A slideshow featuring faculty and staff celebrating employment anniversaries or upcoming retirements is a highlight of the annual recognition celebration, with some employees taking a humorous approach to their photos. Here, Assistant Professor of Psychology Abby Kerr (right), celebrating five years at IWU, holds one of the mice critical to her research on vascular plasticity in behavioral outcome following ischemic stroke. Her colleague Amanda Vicary, assistant professor of psychology, prepares her best cat-like pounce. (Photo by R. Forrest Colwell Chair and Professor of English James Plath, a member of the Recognition Committee)

Performer Puta Oka Mardiana

Kemp Foundation Teaching Excellence winner Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy (seated at left) incorporated special music into her Honors Convocation presentation. Students enrolled in Mafazy’s course “Theatre, Performance and Spectacle” joined students in Associate Professor of Music Adriana Ponce’s class “Exploring Musics From Around the World” in performing on the University’s gamelan, an orchestra indigenous to Bali. Putu Oka Mardiana performs the heroic Baris Dance, which features gestures and facial expressions that communicate the emotions of Balinese warriors. Mardiani’s husband, I Ketut Gede Asnawa (seated with hand drum) conducted the orchestra. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’17)

Peyton Letko

Peyton Letko ’19 discusses her ethnographic research on the Titan women’s swim team with Outreach Librarian and Professor Sue Anderson. Letko and dozens of other students enrolled in more than 20 courses associated with the intellectual theme "Women's Power, Women's Justice" presented their research at an event closing the semester. (Photo by Reilly Kasprak ’17)

Women's Lacrosse Senior Day

The only women’s lacrosse senior, Maggie Krause ’17, was honored on Senior Day April 15. Krause scored three goals and had one assist in the Titans' win over the University of Dubuque. (Photo by Claire Hoverson ’17)

Quincy and Friends

During All In for Wesleyan’s day of giving, students could record their thanks to donors for the gifts that make an Illinois Wesleyan education possible. Emcee Quincy Butler ’17 (right) breaks up (from left) Emily Snider ’17, Danny Baker ’19 and Rachel Westerkamp ’18 during their attempt to record a video message.  (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14)

Jumping at Holi

Multifaith Ambassador Carly Floyd '17 (in floral dress at right) reads a passage at the dedication of a redbud tree in the Multifaith Meditation Garden located directly behind Evelyn Chapel. The new tree celebrated Earth Day, multifaith diversity and environmental sustainability, with stones engraved with teachings from many faith and secular traditions placed around the tree. The garden started as the senior seminar project of Nicole Chlebek '16, now an Admissions Counselor. (Photo by Reilly Kasprak '17)

Jumping at Holi

Celebrating spring, friendship, joy, being drenched in colored powder and water, and all that makes Illinois Wesleyan wonderful (from left): Vera Louis Perez ’20, Maisha Rahman ’20, Tayyibah Ahmed ’20, Evan Nautiyal ’20 and Jasmine White ’20. (Photo by Phone Vilailuck ’18)