2008 Alumni Awards
Currently in his 22nd year as mayor, Roger Claar has overseen dramatic growth in the Village of Bolingbrook since 1986, including seeing the population grow from 35,000 when he took office to more than 71,000 today. In that time, more than 10,500 new homes have been built, 24,500 jobs have been created and more than 29 million square feet of industrial, distribution and manufacturing facilities have been constructed. Under his guidance, the village has reached two major milestones not seen in Illinois in 25 years: the opening of the first newly cited hospital, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital; and the opening of a 1.2 million-square-foot full-service lifestyle mall, The Promenade Bolingbrook. In his capacity as mayor, Roger has responsibility for 410 employees and manages a $68 million operating budget. He has been a member of the Illinois Municipal League for 11 years, including a term as president, and also served on the board of directors and various committees for the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
One of his proudest associations is his lifelong membership in the Sigma Pi Fraternity, which began in 1964 while he was a student at EIU. A former educator, he earned a bachelor’s degree from EIU in 1967 and his master’s in 1968 – both in business education – as well as a doctorate from Kansas State University. Roger and his wife, Patricia, have been married for 33 years and have one daughter, Lindsey. Pat is an assistant principal at Bolingbrook High School, and Lindsey is the director of Heart Haven Outreach, an organization that provides assistance to troubled teens.
Ken Damann has served on the faculty in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology at Louisiana State University since 1974. During his tenure at LSU, he has developed an internationally recognized research program related to the management of mycotoxin contamination of corn. Due to the severity of mycotoxin contamination and its associated impact on yield, his research has dramatic implications for corn production around the globe. He has authored numerous publications and received several awards related to his research.
Damann graduated from Eastern in 1966 with a degree in botany and a minor in zoology before completing his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas and his doctorate at Michigan State University. A 1962 graduate of Charleston High School, he resides in Baton Rouge with his wife, Katherine Ann.
Daryll Fletcher is the vice president of quantitative research and analytics for the Allstate Insurance Co. In his position, he is responsible for the company’s applied research and catastrophe-modeling capabilities. He has held various positions and experienced several relocations across the United States in his 32 years with Allstate, with roles including assistant vice president of urban/Hispanic markets, regional vice president of the capital region and vice president of risk management/underwriting, overseeing the field operations for 49 states.
He earned his undergraduate degree in speech communication from EIU in 1975 and his master’s in guidance and counseling in 1976. A past executive-in-residence with EIU’s School of Business, he has also volunteered with numerous community-based organizations throughout his career. Daryll enjoys golf and spending time with his wife of 30 years, Janice Ripley Fletcher. They have one child, Daryll D. Fletcher II, who resides in Maryland.
A reporter at the Chicago Tribune since 1991, Ted Gregory was one of six reporters at the paper who contributed to the 2007 series “Hidden Hazards,” which highlighted dangerous children’s products – including cribs, car seats and toys – that were overlooked by the industry and the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission. He and his five colleagues were honored for their work with the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting.
A former editor-in-chief of The Daily Eastern News, Ted has received numerous awards throughout his career, and he returns to campus frequently to mentor current students. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1981.
A former educator at the junior high level, Barbara (Shelton) Hundley began her 30-year career at the University of Illinois in 1977 as assistant director of career development and placement. She later created and developed the Alumni Career Center in Chicago to serve the institution’s graduates. Barbara has received the highest awards bestowed by the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers – the Superior Leadership Award in 1999 and the Founders Award in 2001 – while serving in many nationally elected leadership roles with career service organizations. In 1999, the university chancellor asked her to return to the Urbana campus to become associate chancellor of alumni relations and vice president of the Alumni Association. Her retirement in 2007 marked the end of a 42-year career of being with students and touching the lives of thousands of individuals while serving on various boards for community organizations.
Raised on a farm south of Bethany, Barbara enrolled at EIU, where she excelled in sports and earned athletic honors before earning a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1965, and a master’s in guidance and counseling in 1969. She resides in Champaign and Naperville with her husband, Charles.
A native of Vandalia, Bob Manion is a former member of EIU’s Board of Trustees, former president of the EIU Alumni Association and a founding member of the EIU Accounting Advisory Board. After earning his degree in accounting from Eastern in 1966, he spent his 31-year career with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) before retiring in 1997. Manion was admitted to Andersen’s worldwide partnership in 1976, and named managing partner of the St. Louis consulting practice in 1979; he later served as managing partner for Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Canada, as well as in several other management positions. At the time of his retirement, he was chief financial officer for the Global Enterprise Group.
He currently owns a John Deere dealership and, along with his daughter, owns a successful children’s clothing store called Duck Duck Goose in Hinsdale, where he resides with his wife, Sally.
Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award
Jim Erdmann, a 1959 physical education graduate and former EIU football player, has been a volunteer in support of the athletic department for decades. A volunteer clock operator at football and basketball games for more than 20 years, Jim also assists with numerous golf outings each year and has chaired the committee that spearheads the department’s annual Spring Fling event – generating funds in support of Eastern’s student-athletes – four times in the last six years. A member of the EI Club’s hall of fame committee and a three-time past president of the Panther Club, he was inducted into the hall of fame as a friend of athletics.
He has also received the athletic department’s Glen Hesler Award, the highest honor bestowed upon volunteers. Jim and his wife, Judy, as well as their children, Teri and Rob, reside in Charleston.
Distinguished Educator Awards
The principal at Pleasant Plains Middle School, John Marsaglia was named the 2006 Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association. He has been active in education-related organizations throughout his career – including serving on several boards – while also serving as a presenter at numerous conferences. In 1992, he won a contest sponsored by "America’s Funniest Home Videos" based on “what crazy things principals do to promote reading.” The 1976 EIU graduate later earned a master’s degree from Sangamon State in educational administration.
A Springfield resident, he also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield in the teacher-education program.
An art teacher at schools in Paris and Charleston since 1989, Dorothy Bennett received the Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year award from the Illinois Art Education Association in 2002 and 2008. She also received the 2006 Distinguished Service in the Profession of Art Education award from the IAEA. In 1994, she was named the Outstanding Service/Illinois Art Teacher of the Year at the annual Media and Methods Conference at EIU.
Dorothy graduated from EIU in 1974 with a bachelor’s in studio art, and in 1980, she received her master's in metalsmithing and sculpture. She obtained her teacher certification in art in 1988, and certification in English and language arts in 1993. An adjunct instructor in art education at Eastern, she is also director of the university’s Summer Art School for high school students and serves on the Tarble Art Center Advisory Board. Dorothy serves on the Illinois Art Association’s board of directors and is a regular workshop presenter at both the Illinois Art Association and National Art Association conferences.
Outstanding Young Alumnus
A recipient of the Coles County “20 Under 40” award sponsored by the local newspaper, Anthony Pleasant is vice president of Coles Together, where he was instrumental in promoting Mattoon as the site for the revolutionary FutureGen energy project. Before joining Coles Together, he worked at the Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission as an assistant planner.
As a student at EIU, Anthony was the recipient of several scholarships and academic honors; he earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from EIU in 2006. He currently volunteers as a member of the strategic planning committee for EIU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and coaches co-ed youth soccer in Charleston. He has also volunteered as a teacher for the Junior Achievement program. The Robinson native and his wife, Kate, reside in Charleston.