A 23-year veteran of the Chicago sports media industry, Phil Bedella was named Vice President/General Manager of Comcast SportsNet Chicago (the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox) on October 1, 2011.
Bedella, one of the Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s first hires in 2004, previously held the title of VP of Advertising and directed the network’s efforts to launch its sales department. His leadership and dedication helped the sales department account for consistent, annual revenue growth, placing Comcast SportsNet Chicago as one of the nation’s best-performing sales departments for a regional sports television network.
In addition, Bedella also oversaw the development and launch of Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s digital operation and its flagship website, CSNChicago.com, which has delivered consistent website traffic growth and significant ad sales success.
In 2008, Bedella was promoted to Assistant General Manager at Comcast SportsNet Chicago, as he worked closely with network President Jim Como to assist with the overall management of the station and the continued goal of seeking out new business opportunities and revenue streams.
Prior to joining Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Bedella was hired as the Local Sales Manager at Fox Sports Net Chicago in 1999. Three years later in 2002, he was named Vice President/General Sales Manager of the station. Bedella began his career in the local sports business in 1989 as a sales associate for the Chicago Cubs. Under the tutelage of current Chicago Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough, Bedella spent seven years with the Cubs, holding a variety of key positions including Manager of Broadcasting and Special Events and Manager of Luxury Suites. He also played a major role in managing the annually sold-out Cubs Convention from 1994 to 1996 and oversaw the development and launch of the Wrigley Field Tours.
Following his tenure with the Cubs, Bedella was hired as Senior Account Executive at CBS Sports Marketing in 1996, which was part of a sales group that launched Chicago Bears’ radio sales for CBS Sports Radio. He was promoted to Manager of Sports Sales of that division in 1997. A native of Chicago, Bedella continues to be an active member of the Illinois State University Alumni Advisory Board, the Media Advertising Club, and the Chicago Latino Network. Bedella and his wife Arti, along with their two children Zara and Braden, reside in Wilmette.
Adam Kinzinger is the United States Representative for the Eleventh Congressional District of Illinois and was appointed to the Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the oldest standing committees of the United States House of Representatives, in December 2010.
Strengthening U.S. energy policy and making our nation less reliant on foreign resources is a top priority for Kinzinger in Congress. Just days after the election, he was named to the House Majority Transition Team. This team was made up of 22 incoming and current House Republicans, who are proven reformers and who offer a fresh perspective to restore government into the hands of the people. He was chosen by leadership to serve as a Deputy Republican Whip. At the age of 34, Kinzinger is one of the youngest members of Congress and was named one of Time Magazine’s 40 under 40 “Rising stars in American politics.”
Kinzinger became active in his community early on. As a 20-year old sophomore at Illinois State, he challenged a three-term Democrat incumbent for the McLean County Board. He advocated for restoring local government back into the hands of the people and won a seat on the board, becoming one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history. He served on the McLean County Board from 1998 until 2003.
After serving on the McLean County Board for five years, Kinzinger joined the United States Air Force. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in November 2003 and later was awarded his pilot wings. He has served in the Air Force Special Operations, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard. He has the current rank of Captain. Kinzinger will continue to serve his country as a pilot in the Air National Guard as a Member of Congress. Kinzinger has been recognized for his civic service both in and out of uniform. In 2007, he received the United States Air Force Airman’s Medal for saving the life of a young woman who was being violently attacked. He wrestled the knife away from the attacker and pinned him to the ground until the police arrived. He was also awarded the National Guard’s Valley Forge Cross for Heroism and was selected as the Southeastern Wisconsin American Red Cross Hero of the Year. Kinzinger has earned the Air Medal six times serving in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Kinzinger was born in Kankakee, grew up in Bloomington, and now resides in Channahon. His mother, Jodi, is an elementary schoolteacher, and his father, Rus, is a former CEO of two faithbased organizations. His parents instilled in him and his two siblings the importance of hard work and responsiveness through public service to the needs of those throughout our communities.
Janice Witherspoon Neuleib earned her B. A. from Augustana College, Rock Island, in 1966. She taught high school at United Township High School in East Moline until 1969 when she came to Illinois State to earn her M.A. (1970). After finishing her M.A., she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1974 while teaching at Illinois State beginning in 1970. In 1976, she became the founding director of the Illinois State Writing Center, which she directed until 1986 when the center became the University Center for Learning Assistance, which she directed until 1996. At that time she became Writing Program Administrator in the English department and served in that role until 2006. She also was founding director of the Illinois State Writing Project from 1992 until 2010 as well as served as journal editor and Executive Secretary of the Illinois Association of Teachers of English from 2002 to the present. She retired in 2010 but continues to teach two courses each semester and to work with doctoral students.
Her books include co-editor for the Pearson Introduction to Literature and The Mercury Reader, co-author for Things Your Grammar Never Told You, Writing with the Masters: Multiple Ways of Meaning (three volumes), and Inside/Out: A Guide to Writing. She has also published scores of book chapters and articles (including essays in College English, College Composition and Communication, Writing on the Edge, The Journal of Basic Writing, Journal of Teaching Writing, Christianity and Literature, Extrapolation). She has presented over 300 professional papers and workshops nationally and internationally and has worked with over 150 doctoral and masters students. Her essay, "The Friendly Stranger, Twenty-Five Years as ‘Other,’" from College Composition and Communication, received the James Britton Conference on English Education College Research Award in 1994. She regularly (since 1985) has been chosen by the College Board to participate as leader and reader in the Advanced Placement English Language Examination reading, and she has recently been asked to write materials for the College Board for high school teachers. She has received more than $500,000 in grants for the National Writing Project site and has participated in several National Endowment for the Humanities grants with colleague Ron Fortune.
Neuleib has two sons, Joseph Hoane, Jr., and Jon Neuleib. She established the Janice Witherspoon Neuleib and Genevieve Witherspoon Perhach fund for Graduate Travel and Research for the English Department. Her former graduate students contributed to the fund for the Dean’s College Research Award as well.
Darrel A. Sutter graduated from Illinois State (Normal) University in 1960 with a B.S. in Social Sciences Education and completed a master’s degree in Social Sciences Education in 1968. He began teaching social sciences and business classes at Roanoke-Benson High School, Roanoke, in 1960 and continued teaching there until his retirement in 1995. Following his retirement, he joined the faculty at Lincoln College, Lincoln, to teach sociology. Both the high school and college experience enabled him to develop a philosophy that was rather avant garde at the time, getting beyond the 2 x 4 method, two covers of a book and four walls. It was his objective to knock down walls and expose students to the wider world, getting them to realize their participation in that world. Some of his greatest satisfaction in his career came from watching students grow into the wider world.
This teaching philosophy has impacted thousands of students, an impact that to this day influences them and thus the nation and world. Constant feedback from them verifies that they loved and enjoyed the nature of the educational relationship between student and teacher. It was most rewarding to watch them work to raise the bar and lead students to a sense of their own self-worth and dignity. It was because of his great dedication to his students that two of his former students established a scholarship at Roanoke-Benson High School for the student who best exemplified “raising the bar” for him/herself and other students. Sutter’s favorite challenge was always GOALS – Go Out And Learn Something.
Sutter’s leadership impacted many students as exemplified by their work in student council, with many attending local, regional, state, and national conferences. He was always excited to talk with them upon their return and see them implement what they learned. This desire was also evident in the Roanoke-Benson High School scholastic bowl team. For a small school, they were incredibly successful and competitive, not fearing any opponent, and were the delight of the school and parents. Retirement has not diminished Sutter’s passion for educating Illinois’ students. In 2010, he established a scholarship in the History department for students interested in teaching the social sciences. He also wanted to impact the lives of those students who struggle financially. To this end, he established the first Student Assistance Fund at Illinois State University that is specifically for students who have unanticipated needs and have exhausted their financial options. Sutter continues to be involved in the lives of students. He is currently serving as chair of the mentoring committee for Senior Professionals, serves as a “lunch buddy” for a local school district, and volunteers in the Alumni Office to serve as an ambassador for Illinois State University. His life is best described as one of passion – passion for students, education, and Illinois State University.
Kay B. Wilson taught math on various levels in the community ranging from junior high to college and currently teaches a computer science graduate course at Illinois State. She earned a B.S. degree from Illinois State (Normal) University and an M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wilson also established a scholarship for women planning to teach math to pay forward the scholarships she received while at the University. She is the wife of Tom Wilson and the mother of two sons.
In the early 70s, Wilson wrote articles for a newsletter for low-income residents and was a board member of the first Economic Opportunity Council. She served on a county medical planning board in an attempt to improve health care for low-income families. She was also an original co-founder and first president of Planned Parenthood of McLean County when she found that contraceptives were not readily available to low-income or unmarried women. At one point, she served on the YWCA board and was a member of the ISU Lab School Citizens Advisory committee.
Wilson worked in different positions at State Farm Insurance Company in Systems for 22 years and retired at the end of 1997. While there, she completed several insurance exams including the Chartered Life Underwriting (CLU) and Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriting (CPCU) exams. She also passed a Certified Data Processing (CDP) exam and held all leadership positions in their national CDP Special Interest Group, including editing and publishing a national newsletter for several years. She was active in the local Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and received service awards for her work with the local Data Processing Management Association (DPMA).
She has been a volunteer for Millennium Girls, Students in Technology and Expanding Your Horizons in the past. She served as the coordinator of an annual book drive at Illinois State from 2005 to 2011 and collected an average of 2,500 books per year for reuse and recycling. She currently leads the Normal Public Library Book Group and assists in leading Tai Chi each Saturday at Illinois Wesleyan University. Wilson also teaches two basic computer classes on Windows and the Internet at the Normal Senior Center. She adapted Illinois State Extended University materials to create booklets for the class. Her oldest student so far was 95 years old. One of her favorite memories while teaching math includes the period of time when she tutored the Day boys after Bloomington High School had expelled them for having long hair as band members. She and her son were pictured in The Pantagraph looking at a math text and pointing out mathematicians who had long hair.
Thomas D. Wilson is professor emeritus of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, having retired in 1992 after 31 years on the faculty. He earned his B.S. from Illinois State (Normal) University and his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He created a Directory of Community Services for local low-income residents and wrote and published several state and local government articles. Wilson especially enjoyed assigning and assisting interns from the then Poli Sci department. Because of that work, he established a scholarship to help mainly unpaid interns meet some of their expenses.
Wilson is married to Kay and they have two sons, James and John. James is a graduate of Illinois State and Stanford University; currently, he is a computer consultant. John, graduated from the University of Illinois, enrolled in graduate work at the University of Chicago and then transferred to Illinois State. He has written and published several books on various political topics.
Early in his teaching career, Wilson was especially active in community service work and served on the first Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) board. He also helped to raise money for a county-wide Head Start program before any federal funds were available. More recently he served on the Friends of Milner Library board and was president of the group for several years. Wilson was an active volunteer for the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) and worked with the ISU Annuitants Association (ISUAA) for many years. In 1997, he co-chaired the SUAA state-wide Legislative Committee and later chaired it. He also was the chair/co-chair of the local ISUAA Legislative Committee for several years and was given an award for his activities. He made many trips to Springfield. His first goal was to obtain some additional money for those who retired with a very small pension many years ago.
Tom also tried to warn legislators about the need to appropriate money for the State’s share for pensions. In a Letter to The Pantagraph dated August 1998 he stated: “The real culprits in underfunding Illinois’ retirement systems are the State Legislature and the Governor. For many years, Illinois failed to pay its required contribution to the retirement systems. A few legislators…recognized the impending problem, but most were happy to take the pension money and spend it for other programs. If Illinois had paid its actuarially required contribution to the State Universities Retirement System for the past 22 years and that contribution had earned the expected 8% per year, SURS would have assets of 17.1 billion dollars in 1997 instead of the actual 8.4 billion dollars.” But, alas, the legislature did not heed the warnings and the situation has since become dire.