Class Notes

Below are Class Notes for this issue. To see all Class Notes, click here.


In Memoriam

Robert Britz ’42,

December 11, 2021 (Gamma Nu).

Warren Musch ’43,

July 27, 2022 (Phi Alpha). MM

Morley Piper ’45,

May 12, 2022.


In Memoriam

Elaine Athey Spizzo ’50,

April 2, 2022 (Chi Beta).

Jerry Murphy ’51,

September 2, 2022.

Don Polzin ’51,

September 14, 2022 (Phi Alpha). SS

Joan Harber Roberts ’53,

April 28, 2022 (Chi Beta).

Fred Gemoules ’54,

June 13, 2022.

Marilyn Horn Black ’54,

March 23, 2022 (Chi Beta).

Bruce Samoore ’55,

July 27, 2022.

Dovie Sooy Sittler ’55,

March 26, 2022 (Gamma Delta).

Joy Alamar-Pulvers ’56,

January 25, 2022 (Chi Beta).

Conrad Damsgaard ’57

was a dedicated, active alumnus who had a vision for raising the profile of the institution. He and his late wife, Patricia Carlson Damsgaard ’53, remained active supporters of the College throughout their lives. Over the years, Conrad Damsgaard served on the Board of Trustees and as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 1987, he was honored with a distinguished service award “for his devotion to Illinois College as evidenced by thoughtful alumni involvement.” The Damsgaards’ philanthropy made them members of the Julian Monson Sturtevant Society and the Illinois College Society.

As a student, Damsgaard was elected student body president and was an active member and leader in Phi Alpha. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, economics club, the Hilltoppers dramatic organization, student forum, social committee and intersociety board. 
He was first sergeant of the Army Reserve unit on campus and served in the Army from 1954 to 1956. He started his career in sales with Shell Oil Company and went on to have a long career in sales and marketing management at Shell, Swank Motion Pictures and Psychological Associates. 

The Damsgaards had three daughters, Susan Damsgaard-Brand ’81, Kristine Damsgaard and Beth Damsgaard Rodriguez. Susan and their granddaughter, Rachel Brand ’18, carried on the family’s legacy as IC alumni. He was 88 when he died March 23, 2022.

Edward Harrell ’57,

April 3, 2022.

Richard “Dick” Troxell ’58,

February 17, 2022 (Alpha Phi Omega).

Robert Hembrough ’59,

May 11, 2022.



Rick Vuylsteke ’66

joined the faculty at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies as a professor Jan. 3 after serving as president of the East-West Center in Honolulu for five years.

James Alexander ’69

completed 11 half marathon races in 11 days, from June 1-11, in 11 states. Each half marathon was 13.1 miles and he ran 144.1 miles in total during that time. Next, Jim plans on doing a race in all lower 48 states and so far has raced in 38 states.

In Memoriam

Bill Jacob ’61,

April 28, 2022 (Sigma Pi).

Donald Mantle ’61,

August 16, 2021.

Donna Moore Stewart ’62,

August 25, 2022 (Sigma Phi Epsilon).

David Moore ’63,

May 1, 2022.

Ken DeFrates ’63,

May 26, 2022.

William Ross ’64,

July 23, 2022.

Richard Veith ’64,

December 14, 2021 (Sigma Pi).

Paul Huddleston ’67,

June 20, 2022.

Jim Reilly ’67,

a top debate team member and student journalist during his time at IC, went on to have a successful decades-long career in public service, leaving his mark on Chicago and on Illinois state government. Reilly was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of both Illinois College and the University of Chicago Law School. On the Hilltop, he became editor of The Rambler as a sophomore and was elected Student Forum President, in addition to being an active member and leader in Phi Alpha, Pi Kappa Delta forensic fraternity, Hilltopper drama group, IC’s Young Republicans chapter and being named in “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” He was also on one of the most successful debate teams in College history. As a first-year, he was on a two-man team with John Betonte ’64 that, at a tournament, defeated debaters from Harvard University twice and won seven out of eight rounds against some of the largest universities in the country.

After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972, Reilly practiced law in Jacksonville and served as city attorney for three years. He was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1976 and went on to run three more times, serving in a number of important committee roles and sponsoring the Illinois Human Rights Act and Emergency Medical Services Act, among other legislative accomplishments. Reilly stepped down from his House duties in 1983 to serve as general counsel to Gov. James R. Thompson. Within a year, he became Thompson’s chief of staff and eventually, in 1987, was tapped to be Thompson’s deputy governor. He returned to Springfield in 1993 to serve as Gov. Jim Edgar’s chief of staff.

Outside of his career in state government, Reilly led multiple important Chicago organizations through expansions and challenges in the 1990s and 2000s. He served as chief executive of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and later became a trustee of the organization and a life trustee on Navy Pier’s Board of Directors; led the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau; was chairman of Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority; and served as chairman of the Illinois Capital Development Board.

Reilly was involved in numerous civic and community organizations and had many philanthropic interests throughout his life, including his continued support for Illinois College and organizations serving the Jacksonville community. He was the first recipient of the College’s Young Alumnus Award in 1981 and was awarded a Distinguished Service Citation in 1987, and served as president-elect and president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Reilly is survived by his wife of 30 years, M. Veronica Lynch. He was 77 when he died April 4, 2022.

Dwight Collins ’67,

August 5, 2022 (Alpha Phi Omega).



Dianne Pruitt Potter ’77

retired after 36 years as human resources manager for Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Frank Bridgewater ’72

retired as vice president and editor of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He was editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin until 2010, when it acquired the larger Honolulu Advertiser and the papers were merged. Before Honolulu, he received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and worked in New York at The Wall Street Journal as night news editor and then The New York Times as assistant financial editor.

Jim Spizzo ’74

is honored to report that his photo, “Superstition Saloon Tableau,” has been selected by the jury for inclusion in the upcoming Americana Photography Exhibition, sponsored by the Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita, Kansas. He shot the photo in Tortilla Flat, Arizona.


Randy Akers ’71,

Illinois College extends its sympathy on the death of his wife, Mary Alice Akers, on Jan. 17.

Keith Bradbury ’73,

Illinois College extends its sympathy on the death of his father, Elmer Bradbury, on April 17.

In Memoriam

Bruce Bernardi ’74,

July 16, 2022.

Frederick Zarf III ’74,

September 26, 2022 (Pi Pi Rho).

Madelyn McDade ’79,

May 4, 2022 (Chi Beta).


In Memoriam

W. Jon Henson ’81,

March 25, 2022.

Theresa Norton Greco ’85,

September 16, 2022 (Gamma Delta).


Brad Cushman ’84

retired in April after overseeing the art department and gallery at University of Arkansas, Little Rock.

Dan Layzell ’85

has been named vice chancellor of finance and operations at Appalachian State University.

Andy ’86 and Lori Petermeyer Smith ’88

were recognized with Prairieland United Way’s Helen Baldwin Distinguished Service Award.

Teresa Wallbaum ’88

has been appointed as an administrative law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Arlington, Virginia. 

Jennifer DeGroot Wieties ’89

has accepted a position as an account tech with the Department of Corrections.

Leslie Smith DeFrates ’89

is the new executive director for the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation.  



Erika Rasch Hunt ’96

started a new position as project director at Regional Office of Education 17.

Vance Martin ’96

is currently the master of Mahomet Masonic Lodge in Mahomet. Each year the organization awards scholarships to local students and the master usually has the privilege of handing them out. This year’s recipient at Mahomet Seymour High School was Haylie Orton, who plans to attend IC in the fall. Vance felt honored as an alumnus to be part of helping a future IC student start on her own pathway.


Kristin Nurss Johnstone ’90,

Illinois College extends its sympathy on the death of her father, Jim Nurss, on April 30.

In Memoriam

Jody Benedict ’92,

May 12, 2022 (Chi Beta).



John Allison ’02

has been named the new football coach at Sacred Heart-Griffin in Springfield.

Lindley Hanley ’02

received her fifth National Achiever Award in Wealth Management at JPMorgan Chase for being in the top 5% of producers in private banking across the company.

Samantha Bentley Renaud ’04

has accepted a position as an ag loan administrator with Green Belt Bank & Trust in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Dylan Dudley ’05

has been named the new head basketball coach at Alton High School.

Christopher Miller ’05

was recently named one of the “100 St. Louisans to Know to Succeed in Business” by Small Business Monthly. He also joined the board of directors at University City Children's Center.

Frank Arnolts III ’06

has been hired as principal of Tri-Valley High School in Downs.

In Memoriam

Adrienne “Ada” Dickerson Range ’03,

May 10, 2022.



Daniel Hackett ’10

has been promoted to district director for community and specialty pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen.

Megan Bettis Kirkhart ’10

started a new position as a career development coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in January.

Kayla Graven ’11

is celebrating four years at Downtown Springfield, Inc.

Will Barefield ’13

started a new position as district director of enrollment planning and  external partnerships at City Colleges of Chicago.

Taylor Thomas ’14

graduated from Pittsburg State University in May with a master’s degree in human resource development.

Morgan Zytseva ’15

started a new position as staff accountant at National Mortgage Insurance Corporation, also called National MI.

Jovanny Nava ’16

started a new position as summer associate at Polsinelli.

Meeko Reddick ’16

started a new position with DHS as a disability claims adjudicator.

Austin Dearing ’16

started a new position as vehicle dynamics engineer at Rivian.

Shelby Gill ’17

was accepted into the Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Science program at Rutgers University.

Heath Bruce ’17

started a new position as assistant director of marketing at University of Illinois Springfield.

Braedon Sheppard ’17

started a new position as associate video producer at Riot Games.


Megan Bettis ’10

and Jared Kirkhart, October 9, 2021.

Erin Rutledge ’12

and James Clark, December 11, 2021.

Leilani Pecher ’17

and Michael Reyes, April 15, 2022.

Faculty & Staff

In Memoriam

Danny Deweese,

April 13, 2022.

Friends of the College

In Memoriam

Anita Rundquist H’97,

April 11, 2022.

Liliana Costa H’15,

May 24, 2022.



Monica Pappas ’20

started as a subcontract administrator in the aerospace and defense industry with United Launch Alliance.

Nely Munoz ’20

started a new position as associate functional consultant at Sikich.

Nazar Otunchiev ’20 

started a new position as front-end developer at Ernst & Young Global Consulting Services. 

Madelyn Budd ’20

started a new position at FORVIS.

Kourtney Pollitt ’22

has accepted a position as a communication specialist for the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

Fidel Chilchoa ’22

started a new position as a currency analyst at Mesirow.

Ellie Abell ’22

has accepted a position at Waverly School District as a junior- and senior-high school math teacher.


Dillon ’20 and Andi ’19 McCombs Hallemann

welcomed a daughter, Elsie Lynn Hallemann, on March 26, 2022.