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Stevenson Center’s “ADLAI Week” marks 25 years of success

Group photo at food bank

Stevenson Center students and alumni at the Midwest Food Bank on Saturday, September 28.

The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development celebrated its 25th anniversary with “ADLAI Week,” held September 27 to October 2. Students, faculty, alumni, and community and campus partners joined in the events marking two and a half decades of growth and impact.

ADLAI Week began with the induction of Robert Hunt, professor emeritus of political science and Stevenson Center founder, into the College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. At the induction, Stevenson Center alumnus and sociology Associate Professor Michael Dougherty, M.A. ’03, noted: “There’s no better example of Bob’s legacy of building relationships between assets than the Stevenson Center. … Over its 25 years, the Stevenson Center has produced more than 220 graduates from all over the country and the world. That’s 25 cohorts of students who built relationships with one another. That’s 220 students who built relationships with (Illinois State University). That’s 220 graduates who have gone on to build exponential relationships between assets. Bob embodies community development.”

Among other programs and projects, the Stevenson Center coordinates an interdisciplinary graduate sequence with the departments of economics, politics and government, and sociology and anthropology, as well as the School of Kinesiology and Recreation.

In recognition of its robust 25-year partnership with Illinois State University, the Peace Corps gave the Stevenson Center a commemorative bell. Stevenson Center students will ring this bell when they graduate, just as Peace Corps volunteers ring similar bells when they close their service.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps. The Stevenson Center both recruits AmeriCorps alumni as Fellows and manages a small AmeriCorps program.

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On September 28, students and friends of the Stevenson Center joined with volunteers from Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and Heartland Community College to package meals at the Midwest Food Bank. Collectively, the volunteers packaged over 35,000 meals in the span of two hours. Stevenson Center Fellow in applied economics Mike Brown said: “We packaged so many meals in such a short time. It really showed us what can be accomplished when the community works together.” Stevenson Center Fellows greatly enjoyed the time outside of an academic setting, working alongside local alumni, staff, and Peace Corps Prep students whilst helping the community.


On September 29, the Stevenson Center launched a donation campaign to support students. The campaign continues, and all are encouraged to help meet the goal of raising $2,500 to cultivate the center’s future leaders in public service. Give now!


On September 30, the Stevenson Center released its latest series of student-produced podcasts featuring Fellows graduating in 2019. The podcasts serve to help prospective students and others learn more about the Stevenson Center experience through the eyes of its Fellows.


On October 1, the Stevenson Center encouraged advocacy for service. Voices for National Service seeks to develop and expand federally-supported service opportunities in the U.S. The National Peace Corps Association promotes a lifelong commitment to Peace Corps ideals.


The Stevenson Center ended ADLAI Week on October 2 with appreciation for its community partners. Stevenson Center Fellows are currently contributing to, and learning from, thirteen different host organizations addressing a variety of development issues locally, elsewhere in Illinois, and in Florida, Texas, and Washington, DC.

Stevenson Center program coordinator and ADLAI Week organizer Katie Hake said: “The Stevenson Center’s 25th anniversary celebrated our many outstanding faculty, students, alumni, campus and external partners, and other stakeholders. In the spirit of our namesake, former governor of Illinois Adlai E. Stevenson II, ADLAI Week encouraged the Stevenson Center network to unite and act on core values including service, education, and community. We are so grateful for the commitment of these individuals and organizations. The Stevenson Center looks forward to the next 25 good years of cultivating leaders in public service!”

Shaylin Quaid is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.