Jay Blunk is currently in his third season as the Chicago Blackhawks’ senior vice president of business operations after joining the team in 2008. A 22-year Chicago Cubs front office veteran, Jay has engineered broad changes to the business landscape of the Blackhawks, adopting the general business philosophy of fan accessibility and bold, innovative strategies. In 2008-2009, the Blackhawks became one of professional sports’ biggest success stories, in what Forbes.com dubbed, “arguably the most remarkable turnaround in the history of sports in the United States.” During the 2008-2009 season, the Blackhawks drew more than one million fans (1,052,261) for the first time in franchise history, set a league record by attracting an average of 21,783 fans to their 40 United Center contest, and surpassed the franchise regular-season attendance record of 835,972. Dating back to the 2007-08 campaign, the Blackhawks have entertained 90 consecutive capacity crowds, the franchise’s season ticket base has risen to more than 14,000, and merchandise sales have increased by 317 percent.
During his tenure with the Cubs, Jay held several marketing, sales, branding, promotions and advertising positions, the last of which was vice president in charge of marketing and broadcasting. He was responsible for the development of a wealth of promotional events over his more than two decades at Wrigley Field. Jay was also a member of the Cubs organization when they drew over three million fans every season since 2003, setting the team’s all-time record for attendance in 2007. He joined the Cubs as an intern after graduating from Illinois State University in 1986 and currently serves as an advisory board member for Illinois State’s School of Communication. While at Illinois State, Jay was a reporter for the Vidette, ISU’s student-run newspaper.
Jay serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Blackhawks Charities, which supports programs and institutions throughout Illinois that work towards creating a better tomorrow for the youth of today. He is also a board member of the United Service Organizations (USO) of Illinois. Jay and his wife, Marci, have three children: Brandon, Maggie, and Cameron.
Jeffery T. Charnogorsky is the owner of Performance Enterprises, Inc. and a partner in Palm Tree Properties, Inc. He is a former auto racer, and he and his wife, Lisa, created Racers Against Hunger in 1998 to raise funds for local and national food pantries. One hundred percent of the money raised by their organization is donated to food pantries. Jeff also serves as vice president on the Board of Directors of LBD Enterprises, a food pantry that has served southern Cook County for over 35 years. Jeff has over 20 years of experience in the steel rule die industry. After graduating from Illinois State, he was employed as the marketing manager for The Rayner Co. from 1986 through 1988, and in 1989 he was named vice president of sales and marketing for the company. He is a member of the International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking and has held numerous positions on its regional Board of Directors.
Jeff served as president of the student body while at Illinois State. He also participated in intramural sports and still plays basketball twice a week. He currently serves as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Chicago Advisory Board and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois State University Alumni Association. With Larry Apfelbaum ’83, Mark Bruker ’85, Robert Freitag ’84, and Tom Pfeiff ’83, he founded the Redbird 5 Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Jeff is an enthusiastic fan of Redbird Athletics.
He and Lisa make their home in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. They are active, along with other members of their church, in PADS (Public Aid to Deliver Shelter). Jeff and Lisa are committed to helping reduce the number of homeless people in our society, especially homeless families. Jeff has three wonderful children—Meagan, Mark, and Alexis. Three great dogs—Tessa, Checkers, and Molly—and a guinea pig named Pumpkin complete their family. When not at home or attending an Illinois State function or sporting events, the family hangs out at their place on Cayman Brac, where they are avid divers and snorkelers.
Larry Flinn is the chairman and founder of Flinn Scientific, Inc., a leading supplier of science supplies and equipment to elementary and secondary schools. With his mother and father, Larry started Flinn Scientific the day after he graduated from Illinois State University. Today the company carries over 8,000 products and is considered by science teachers to be the number-one preferred science supplier to schools across the United States. He is the author of the Flinn Scientific Catalog/Reference Manual, which most high school science teachers consider their “safety bible.” Over the past 33 years he has personally trained over 100,000 science teachers in laboratory safety—all at no cost to the teachers or schools. He has directed and produced 550 video episodes on how to teach and motivate students to successfully learn high school chemistry, and he has designed hundreds of new science-related products and written numerous articles on laboratory safety. Larry has been honored with awards and certificates from many state and national science teacher organizations for his work in laboratory safety. He was named by Chem 13 News, an international newsletter for chemistry teachers, as one of the seven most influential people in high school chemistry education during the last century.
Larry and his wife Laurel, are co-founders of the Laurel Foundation, a non-profit foundation that provides financial support to established agencies which provide direct assistance to people in need. The Laurel Foundation is focused on providing food, shelter, and clothing, especially for children. He is also the founder of the Flinn Scientific Foundation, a non-profit foundation established by Flinn Scientific, Inc. to organize, manage, and help fund summer chemistry workshops. The Flinn Foundation Summer Chemistry Workshops are one-week, intensive-study workshops that focus on enhancing a science teacher’s knowledge of using chemical demonstrations, participating in hands-on laboratory activities, and meeting National Education Science Standards for chemistry. Over a 10-year period, the Flinn Scientific Foundation has held workshops at 90 different universities and trained over 4,000 teachers.
The Illinois State University Department of Chemistry and Flinn Scientific, Inc. have worked together to develop online graduate-level courses, using the Flinn Scientific eLearning video products as the core of the curriculum. The first class will begin this summer.
Larry played football for Illinois State his freshman year and participated with friends in several intramural sports, becoming University champs in both softball and football. He and his friends return to the University each year for an annual 4th Floor Wilkins/7th Floor Haynie reunion. Larry is married to his college sweetheart, Laurel, who is also an Illinois State graduate. They make their home in Batavia, Illinois, and they are the parents of three children—Kelley, Bryan, and Kevin.
John B. Freed earned his A.B. from Cornell University in 1965 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1969. He joined the faculty at Illinois State University that same year and was named Distinguished Professor in 1991. During his tenure at Illinois State, he served as chair of the Department of History from 1994 until 2005 and was interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2001-02. He retired in 2005 but continues to teach a course for the History Department every semester.
His publications include The Friars and German Society in the Thirteenth Century, The Counts of Falkenstein: Noble Self-Consciousness in the Twelfth Century, and Noble Bondsmen, along with articles about the German nobility in such journals as the American Historical Review. He is also the author of one of the most comprehensive books ever written about the University’s history. Educating Illinois: Illinois State University, 1857-2007, covers Illinois’ first public university from its founding through the University’s Sesquicentennial celebration. The 480-page, 12-chapter book is fully indexed and details the triumphs and challenges of every administration, from Illinois State’s first principal, Charles Hovey, to its 17th president, Al Bowman, who penned the book’s Forward. In 2009, the Illinois State Historical Society’s directors, editorial advisors, and members selected Freed’s article, “The Founding of Illinois State University: Normal School of State University,” as the winner of the Society’s 2009 Harry E. Pratt Award. The award, named for an outstanding former Illinois State Historical Library scholar and researcher, is presented annually by the Society to the author of the best article published the previous year in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, as judged by the Journal’s advisory committee.
John is married to Dr. Susan Anderson Freed. They are the parents of one daughter, Jenny. In 2006, John and Susan established the John and Susan Freed Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences who has overcome disabilities and who serves as a role model for others. John currently serves as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Emeritus Faculty Advisory Board.
Robert L. Freitag is a circuit court judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in McLean County, Illinois. He holds a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. After graduating from law school, Bob was employed as an associate attorney in the firm of Anthony Novak and Associates. He has also served as an assistant public defender in the office of the McLean County Public Defender and as an assistant state’s attorney in the offices of the Woodford County State’s Attorney and the McLean County State’s Attorney.
Bob came to Illinois State University in 1981 after graduating from Moraine Valley Community College. While at Illinois State, he was active in student government and worked as a Preview Guide in the summer of 1983. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois State University Alumni Association and as a member of the Executive Board of the Illinois State University Attorneys Advisory Board. He is a member of the Redbird Club and a passionate Illinois State football and basketball fan. With Larry Apfelbaum ’83, Mark Bruker ’85, Jeff Charnogorsky ’85, and Tom Pfeiff ’83, he founded the Redbird 5 Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to students in the College of Arts and Sciences. He was the recipient of an Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2000 and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Moraine Valley Community College in 2008.
Bob holds the rank of Major in the United States Army Reserve. He is an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from July 2005 to June 2006.
He and his wife Traci, who is an Illinois State alumna, met at the University when Traci served as an ISU Preview Guide and Bob worked as the program’s business manager. They are the parents of two children, Robert and Andrea. They make their home in Carlock, Illinois, where Bob served as mayor from 1997 to 2000, and continues to serve as a volunteer firefighter and state-licensed EMT since 1993.
Dan Roan is the sports director at WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois. Dan joined the WGN-TV sports staff in February 1984. He previously served as the weekday sports anchor on WGN-TV's News at Nine and as the weekend sports anchor and weekday spots reporter. He also hosts “Instant Replay,” WGN's expanded look at weekend sports Sunday nights at 9:40 p.m. (CT). Dan began his career in 1977 at WCIA-TV in Champaign, where he was a sports director for seven years.
Dan has worn many hats at WGN. He has hosted and co-produced pre-game and halftime shows for WGN's NBA and Major League Baseball telecasts. He is also substitute play-by-play announcer for WGN's Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox games. In addition, he was the lead announcer for the station's telecasts of DePaul University basketball. Dan also worked play-by-play on the station's Notre Dame football telecasts in 1988, when the fighting Irish won a national championship. With the addition of the Chicago Blackhawks to WGN's programming schedule, Dan is also hosting between-periods segments during hockey telecasts.
Dan has been recognized with numerous awards during his time at WGN, winning multiple Emmy awards for his work as host, producer, reporter, and play-by-play announcer.
While at Illinois State, Dan was a reporter for TV-10, ISU’s student-run television station. He was also a member of the golf team. He also played basketball at Illinois State for one year. He currently serves as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Chicago Advisory Board and as an advisory board member for ISU’s School of Communication. Dan met his wife, Debby, at Illinois State. They are the parents of three sons: Matt, Andy, and Jason. Jason is currently a student at Illinois State.
Bruce E. Scher is the academic dean and director of college counseling at Chicagoland Jewish High School. He has over 30 years of experience as an educator and college consultant in the public schools. His educational experiences range from teaching English, Spanish, Hebrew, reading, and humanities to gifted education and adult education. He has conducted instructional workshops locally and nationally and has been a speaker at national conferences. He has also served as a supervising and cooperating teacher with Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University.
Bruce has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times for his unique program on critical thinking in the high school, received the Dr. Mary Kooyumjiam Award for his contributions to gifted education, received a National Council Teachers of English Center of Excellence Award, and was presented with the Governor’s Master Teacher Appointment. In 1993, he was the recipient of an Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
He has served as the President of the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling and as a High School Director and Delegate for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He has committed many of his efforts to ensuring that all young people, regardless of socioeconomic background, are able to receive a college education by spending time on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and Springfield, Illinois lobbying on behalf of these young people and their families.
He is presently on the Advisory Committee for the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which recently received an endorsement from USA Today as “The best college guide you can buy.” His commitment to helping young people and their parents through the college transition process and collaborating with his colleagues to ensure that all students are served is paramount to him. He is one of the founding instructors of The Academy for College Admission Counseling, which is a professional development partnership with Elmhurst College.
Bruce was recently appointed to the position of Vice-President of the Midwest Region of CAJUE: Counselor Advocacy for the Jewish University Experience. This organization is developed by college counselors in North America who work closely with Jewish high school students, both in public and private schools, through the college admission process. He was also recently awarded the Harry Hoffman Award for outstanding service to and support of teens in the community by the Response Center. The Center services over 14,000 teens in crises every year. Regardless of financial means, teens and their families are serviced so that they can resolve crucial issues in their lives and become productive individuals. Bruce’s wife Barbara is an ISU alumna, and they are the parents of two daughters, Heidi and Robyn. Heidi Scher Pevos ’03 is an Illinois State alumna and is currently a teacher in Michigan.
Neil R. Styczynski holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Western Illinois University and an MBA in finance from the University of Illinois. From 1976 until his retirement in 2006, he was a sales representative for IBM. During his career with IBM, he received numerous national and international awards for service and sales and was a six-time member of IBM’s Golden Circle, an award reserved for top performers. He is currently enjoying working as a substitute teacher at Illinois State’s laboratory schools (Thomas Metcalf and University High), Normal Community High School, and Normal Community West High School. He also takes courses at Heartland Community College. At Heartland, his concentration is on languages. He has completed the Spanish curriculum and is in his fourth semester of Italian. He intends to continue with French next year and to have a working understanding, as opposed to fluency, of as many languages as possible. He serves on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Illinois. His hometown is Polo, Illinois, where his parents, Richard and Cathryn Styczynski, continue to live.
Joan B. Styczynski is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. While working full-time for State Farm Insurance, she attended and graduated from Florida Community College, Jacksonville and the University of North Florida. She is currently employed at State Farm.
Neil and Joan make their home in Bloomington, Illinois, and they are the parents of four children—Matthew, Maura, Mitchell, and Michelle. All four of their children have attended Illinois State University laboratory schools. Matthew, who graduated from University High School in 2000, is a 2004 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Maura, who graduated from University High School in 2004, is a 2008 graduate of Duke University. Mitchell attended Thomas Metcalf School and is currently a sophomore at University High School, while Michelle is currently a sixth grade student at Thomas Metcalf School and hopes to graduate from University High School in 2016.
Neil and Joan feel that the lab schools have provided a wide range of opportunities for their children and are enthusiastic in their support of both Thomas Metcalf School and University High School. They are charter members of the ISU Lab School Legacy Society. Neil is currently involved with the U-High Netbook Initiative, which has a goal of equipping all University High School students with netbook-tablets prior to the 2010-2011 school year. In 2008, the Styczynskis created the Neil and Joan Styczynski Scholarship, which provides financial support for a student in the College of Arts and Sciences who has transferred to Illinois State from a community college.
Gloria Campbell White was born in East St. Louis, the 11th of 14 children born to Moses and Dorothy O. McWilson Campbell. She came to Illinois State in 1954 after graduating as the salutatorian of the January class at East St. Louis Lincoln High School. After earning her degree in biology, she began her career in education as a science teacher at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana. After one year, she returned to East St. Louis, where she taught general science at Hughes-Quinn Junior High School for three years before accepting a position at Lincoln High School. During this time, Gloria earned a master’s degree in counseling from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. In 1965, she became the first African American guidance counselor at East St. Louis Senior High School. In 1969, she became the first African American guidance counselor at Bayshore High School in Long Island, New York, where she was also the only Black female teacher in the entire school district. In 1972 she returned to East St. Louis and began working as a guidance counselor in East St. Louis School District 189, where she was a member of the faculty until her retirement in 1993. Her life and career had come full circle; she was living and teaching in the city where her life had begun.
Gloria is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908, it is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women. Gloria is currently involved with plans for the group’s 2010 international convention, which will be held July 9-16 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a volunteer with her local Salvation Army Corps, visiting nursing homes weekly and assisting in the office wherever she is needed. Gloria has been an active member of her church, Washington Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in St. Louis, for almost 50 years. During her earlier church membership at the True Light Baptist Church in East St. Louis, she particularly enjoyed teaching Sunday School.
She is a charter member of the Illinois State University Black Colleagues Association, and she is also a charter member of the first National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter established at Illinois State University. She also made numerous trips to the University with her students from East St. Louis so that they could participate in the University’s Multicultural Day. Gloria and her husband, John E. Jordan, make their home in Belleville, Illinois. They have been married for over 30 years. Gloria enjoys meeting people, reading, traveling, and visiting antique and art shows.