Kankakee native and violist Andrew Francois ’11 has been studying music since he was 10. Francois’ hard work over the years paid off when he was chosen as a violist for the LA Philharmonic Resident Fellows program. At Illinois State, Francois was a private instructor and teaching assistant for the String Project in the School of Music. He went on to play with the New World Symphony as a Viola Fellow. Francois’ recent fellowship with the LA Philharmonic gives him the opportunity to join the world’s best musicians.
From farm to fame
William Graff ’81 has had two presidential appointments as the USDA/FSA Illinois Executive Director. The first was in 2001 with President George W. Bush. As of 2017, he held the position for President Donald Trump’s administration. Graff resides on his Illinois grain and livestock farm in Middletown. He uses his appointment to represent the importance of American agriculture, while working to meet consumer needs for safe and healthy foods. Having served on multiple boards—the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Corn Growers, and more—Graff has the knowledge needed to fulfill his executive duties.
Throughout her career as an athletic trainer and professor, Rene (Revis) Shingles, M.S. ’86, has become a national expert on diversity and inclusion in the profession. It is fitting that she made history by becoming the first African American woman inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame. She joined her mentor from ISU in receiving the honor, as retired head athletic trainer Kathy Schniedwind is also a member. Shingles is the program director and internship coordinator for Central Michigan University’s rehabilitation and medical sciences program. More than 650 students have graduated under her guidance.
A demonic win
Justin LaReau ’00 built on his economics degree by completing a master’s in producing film and television. Now in Los Angeles, he emerged on the film scene with release of A Demon Within, a horror movie he co-directed. The movie was such a success that it was acquired by Blue Fox Entertainment and Level 33 Entertainment. LaReau created the film through Zoe and Pebbles Productions. He fills the roles of producer, director, and writer.