Alumnus Keith Bohr says he might not have been the best student at Illinois State, but he was one of the most active, working at Vrooman Dining Center and as supervising usher at Braden Auditorium and serving as chair of the University Forum Committee, chair of the Student Legal Service Board and member of the Law Club and Parachute Club. Bohr did all this while working several jobs to finance his education.
“All those great experiences helped me develop leadership skills and allowed me to meet tons of great people, many of whom are still good friends,” Bohr said. “I was a big Redbird hoop team fan, and we were very good back then, even making it to the NCAA tourney, with Dwayne Tyus as my favorite player. I still follow our Redbirds.”
Bohr said he remembers, perhaps not fondly, wearing a hairnet when he worked at Vrooman; seeing lots of early MTV bands like the GoGos, Prince, Flock of Seagulls and INXS, along with many other great shows; bringing Watergate and Chicago 8 speakers to campus; visiting the Pub II and the Cellar as well as bartending at I M Hungry; and playing intramural sports with nary a championship, but lots of good competition in softball and flag football.
While working on his bachelor’s degree in Politics and Government, Bohr interned at the Town of Normal in the city manager’s office with the goal of becoming a city manager. After attending graduate school at Arizona State University in the urban management and planning program, Bohr was hired by the City of Huntington Beach in the Department of Economic Development, working on revitalizing the downtown area.
“I became more and more interested in real estate and, eventually, went private and became a developer,” Bohr said. “I thought my combination of both public and private sector experience would be a good fit for serving on the City Council. It also helped me close the loop on my former city manager goals by becoming one of the bosses of the city manager and shaping policy for Surf City USA.”
Bohr is currently managing partner for TEAM Companies, an environmentally conscious real estate and construction company dedicated to historic preservation and urban infill mixed-use development. They are currently holding a grand opening for the LaSalle Lofts project, a 32-unit condo project located in the Southern Los Angeles’ San Pedro area.
All of his private and public sector experiences led to being elected as a Bill Clinton delegate in the 1992 and 1996 Democratic Conventions as well as being elected mayor of Huntington Beach, which is currently celebrating its centennial. Bohr’s vision is to transition his city into a world-class tourist destination with the addition of the Shorebreak Hotel, Orange County’s first W Hotel and a third hotel in the waterfront complex.
In a true giving back spirit, Bohr has served as chair of Orangewood PALS, an auxiliary of Orangewood Children’s Foundation that funds scholarships and provides mentoring and positive role models to foster youth. He serves on the board of Huntington Valley’s Boys & Girls Club and previously volunteered as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate) for a teenage foster youth. Bohr and his wife, Elizabeth Propp-Bohr, sponsored a foster child through a degree at the University of California-Irvine. Elizabeth, who is passionate about rescuing and stopping abuse of animals, has encouraged Bohr to embrace her efforts, while embracing his. The two are expecting their first baby, a boy, in July.
Bohr has supported Illinois State University in the Hibbert Roberts Teaching Excellence Recognition Award Annual Fund and the Politics and Government Annual Fund. “Jamal Nassar was my favorite political science professor,” Bohr said. “Middle Eastern politics taught by a moderate Palestinian—great stuff.”
“Illinois State University was a great experience for me and helped me to accomplish all I have,” Bohr said. “At 20,000 students, it was big, but not too big. I received a well-rounded liberal arts education plus all the extra curricular activities and great friendships. I have been blessed with good health, business success and a family that gave me so much love. Because of these blessings, I absolutely feel the need to give back and help others in my daily life. I do so because I think it is the right thing to do, but also because I very much want to make a difference.”