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President Dr. Larry H. Dietz spring cover image at table
Time to reflect: As he approaches retirement, President Larry Dietz exudes an attitude of gratitude for opportunities to serve at Illinois State. His career in higher education spanned 50 years.

Volume 21 • Number 3 • Spring 2021

President Larry H. Dietz

Raising up Redbirds

Throughout his presidency, Dr. Larry Dietz often described Illinois State as strong and stable.

Collage photo of the sources in the "It's time to talk" feature story

It’s time to talk

Change begins with a conversation. Let’s get started.

Sandy Shelton, regional manager for Barnes & Noble College.

Retail redux: Alum embraces the shift in shopping

Sandy Shelton would seem to have reason to worry. The 1990 Family and Consumer Sciences graduate has built her career in retail operations, gaining expertise in marketing, profit and loss management, and operations while overseeing millions in merchandise for some of the nation’s most successful retail chains.

An ewe and her sheep inside a barn.

Fertile ground: Ag program rooted in excellence

Illinois State’s Department of Agriculture used to attract students from family farms who grew up baling hay and showing cattle.

President Dietz Alumni Magazine Cover


I learned invaluable life lessons as a youth on my family’s dairy farm in the southern Illinois community of DeSoto.

Dave Colee portrait on the Redbird basketball court

Man behind the mic

With the outcome of the game clear in hand, then Illinois State head women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton sent star guard Kristi Cirone ’09 back to the scorer’s table.

DeGarmo Hall

Innovative teacher education initiative announced

The College of Education is excited for Teach Chicago Tomorrow, a new initiative with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago that was announced at a recent press conference.

Mennonite College of Nursing students work.

Mennonite program will elevate nurses’ training

Mennonite College of Nursing is launching a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) to doctor in nursing practice (DNP) program.

Quantum physics science symbol as abstract shapes representing microscopic elements as a 3D illustration.

Physics Education program recognized as top producer of skilled teachers

The American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers honored Illinois State University as one of only seven institutions in the nation to graduate five or more highly qualified physics teachers in the 2018-2019 academic year.

A waiting room visual created using virtual simulation technology. Simio's simulations test waiting line models, among other concepts.

Simio LLC gifts Illinois State’s College of Business $840,000 in simulation software

Real-world scenarios are being tackled by College of Business students using virtual simulation technology made available through an $840,000 grant from Simio LLC®. Management and Quantitative Methods (MQM) professor Dr. Askar Choudhury received a grant for 350 copies of Simio® Academic Edition. Choudhury uses the software when teaching undergraduate business students in an operations analytics course.

page from an ancient Indian math textbook

Dreams of humanity woven through mathematics

A history of mathematics course challenged students to examine how math reflected the beliefs of past civilizations and continues to reflect social and economic factors today.

Center for the Study of Education Policy receives $4.3 million grant from U.S. Department of Education

The Study of Education Policy has been awarded a two-year, $4.3 million Supporting Effective Educator Development Renewal grant by the U.S. Department of Education. 

A selfie of Naudia Williams wearing a yellow shirt

Illinois State student Naudia Williams named America’s Best College Poet

Naudia Williams named America’s Best College Poet after competing with students from across the country.

Illinois State University Alumni Center

Alumni meeting set

Alumni are invited to the Alumni Association annual meeting at 9:30 a.m. on June 19.

bow and girl in crown and sashes

Homecoming 100: Royalty nominations sought

Plans are underway for Homecoming 2021: 100 Years happening October 11-17.

Three copies of Illinois State alumni magazine with type showing A Century Ago

Digital option exists for magazine delivery

In an effort to be more fiscally and environmentally responsible, Illinois State is working to reduce the number of printed copies of the University’s magazine, State.

Drs. Jeanne Morris and Charles Morris

Where are they now? Drs. Jeanne and Charles Morris

It might have been difficult to locate Dr. Jeanne Morris and Dr. Charles Morris after they retired in 1995.

Illinois State women’s basketball team.

‘We will play anybody’

As the phone rang inside the Illinois State women’s basketball offices in the early afternoon of December 9, Director of Operations Katie Bolkema, M.S. ’16, braced for a call she had both sent and received plenty of times throughout the early part of the makeshift college hoops season.

Cathy (Olson) George ’85.

Where are they now? Cathy (Olson) George ’85

Cathy (Olson) George ’85 still has her name scattered all over school and conference record books, even though her playing days ended nearly four decades ago.

Group of students form the letters 'ISU' on the football field

Kyle Brennan selected to lead Illinois State Athletics as new AD

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz announced the appointment of Kyle Brennan as the Redbirds’ Director of Athletics Wednesday, December 23.

Robert ‘Bubbles’ Hawkins

Redbird Trivia

How well do you know Redbird sports history?

Doug Collins

Collins is finalist for basketball Hall of Fame

Illinois State men’s basketball legend Doug Collins ’73 was named a first-time finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, going straight to the “direct elect” part of the ballot.

Horton Field House in early August.

Gymnastics in top 25 for overall team GPA

The gymnastics team ranked in the top 25 academically of all collegiate gymnastics programs last school year.

Student Fitness Center

Then and Now: Student Fitness Center

Compare recreational facilities of yesteryear to today’s Student Fitness Center.

Two students work in a lab together.

A Day in the Life: Learning and teaching during COVID-19

The 2020-2021 academic year will be remembered as a time when flexibility and patience were essential to fulfilling the University’s mission.

Brandon Thornton in his classroom

Pause for applause

Pause to applaud these accomplished Illinois State University alumni.

Don and Florence Magee

Octogenarians share secret to aging with energy

Redbirds Don and Florence Magee, age 87 and 85 respectively, have been married 61 years. They are more in love than when they first met and feel physically healthier than ever.

The Hayes family smiles for a photo.

Redbird Legacy: Three generations of the Hayes family have attended ISU

When Edward Hayes ’55 graduated as valedictorian, he never expected to find himself back at the school in the principal’s office. But that’s what happened, decades later when he became principal of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School.

Flowering tree in foreground with Watterson Towers residence hall in background

Class Notes

Keep up with what fellow alumni are doing by reading our class notes for the spring 2021 alumni magazine issue.

Bell on the Quad with flowers in the forefront

In Memory

In memory of Illinois State University alumni, faculty, and staff who have passed away.

Siblings David, Charlotte, and Fred Roberts smile for a photo.

Thanks to You: Fund established to honor Dr. Fred Roberts

Charlotte Roberts ensured that the legacy of her brother, Politics and Government Professor Dr. Fred Roberts, lives on at Illinois State following his death on February 26, 2019.