Lebanon woman, mother receive same award 33 years apart

Janet (Welch) Eckert of Lebanon received the highest alumni honor from McKendree University, the Peter Akers Award for professional success, outstanding service and loyalty.
Janet (Welch) Eckert of Lebanon received the highest alumni honor from McKendree University, the Peter Akers Award for professional success, outstanding service and loyalty.

McKendree University in Lebanon celebrated the accomplishments of several alumni at its annual awards dinner Oct. 15 at the St. Clair Country Club in Belleville.

Chosen by the university’s alumni board, the 2016 awardees have made their mark in their professions and at their alma mater.

Janet (Welch) Eckert of Lebanon received the highest alumni honor, the Peter Akers Award for professional success, outstanding service and loyalty. Her mother, Grace Renner Welch, received the same award in 1983. Eckert graduated in 1989 and went on to pursue a career in nursing as an oncology RN at Barnes Jewish Hospital, home health nurse, private duty nurse, nurse educator, and staff nurse in the gallstone clinic at BJC.

The Loyal Service Award went to John Schomaker, of New Baden. The 1980 McKendree graduate majored in accounting and business administration, and passed the CPA exam in 1981. In 1996 he became a partner at Rice Sullivan, LLC. He is a member of the Illinois Certified Public Accountant Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Three alumni entered the Academy of Excellence for achievement, leadership and character in social sciences, community service, and nursing and health professions. They were:

▪  Kevin Lee, of Fullerton, Calif., is president of Matrix Consulting Firm. He is on the board of directors for the Adventurers Club of Los Angeles and the Orange County Underwater Photographic Society. Lee’s macrophotography work has been published in magazines, newspapers, academic works, textbooks and online, and exhibited throughout the country. A permanent collection of his work resides at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

▪  Angela Grossmann-Roewe, a Belleville resident, represents the 12th District on the St. Clair County Board and is a general election candidate for the St. Clair County Board of Review. She is a member of the McKendree University Alumni Association Board, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and on the board of directors of the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois.

▪  Sharon J. Wright, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, helped develop and implement an onsite McKendree ADN-to-BSN program for registered nurses at Hardin Memorial Hospital and attained full funding for 25 nurses to continue their education with their coworkers. She serves on the Nursing Advisory Board for McKendree University, Western Kentucky University and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

Rising Stars are McKendree graduates of the past decade who have made significant achievements in their professions or chosen fields, and who have been highly involved in the university and in their respective communities. Rising Stars were awarded to:

▪  Dr. Chris Cunnings of Decatur is an assistant professor specializing in science education at Millikin University and a former high school science and math teacher. He was named an Illinois Outstanding Teacher of Science in 2014, a State Farm Companies Foundation Scholar in 2012, and “Teacher of the Month” by Chicago’s WGN-TV in 2011.

▪  Tony L. Mitchell, Jr., is manager of health policy at JDRF Diabetes Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he resides.

Entering the McKendree Bearcat Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 are Kari (Crnkovich) Crask ’96, women’s basketball; Dave Markwell ’73, alumni coach and professional, men’s basketball and baseball; Jackson Makene Marwa ’00, cross country, track and field; Hernan Francisco Mosca ’03, men’s soccer; and Carl Poelker, former head football coach.

Lindenwood hosting homecoming parade

Lindenwood University–Belleville is throwing a three-day homecoming party highlighted by the school’s first-ever homecoming parade.

Events include campus and dorm tours, an alumni soccer game, an alumni welcome party at Pitchers Pub in Belleville, a picnic and live music, a variety of athletic competitions, the Lindenwood Lynx Fair, and brunch with the campus president.

An alumni soccer game will be held at 6 p.m. Friday on the university’s soccer field.

The inaugural homecoming parade is at 10 a.m. Oct. 22, and begins at 17th and West Main streets. The parade finishes at 27th and West Main streets in Belleville.

Madison County Court, SIUE partner for interns

Third Judicial Circuit Chief Judge David Hylla recently announced a partnership between the Third Circuit and the Pre-Law program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville that will provide undergraduate student interns to assist court patrons at the Madison County Courthouse in Edwardsville. The students will be available in the main lobby and in the Law Library in the lower level of the Madison County Courthouse to help members of the public locate the correct courtroom and offices and manage some paperwork for their court appearances.

The selected students will be trained on the court’s rules for assisting self-represented litigants and advised about the levels of information that can be provided. They can then assist court staff to help residents with paperwork for orders of protection or other legal needs. The students receive three credit hours through the Pre-Law program and work with the JusticeCorps Fellow stationed in the Law Library along with existing court staff.

SIUE, Madison County form community task force

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook and Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan announced the establishment of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville/Community Task Force, an entity charged with promoting the partnership between SIUE and the public/private sectors.

The task force will focus on three primary areas for collaboration:

▪  Functional operations that are campus-centric and capitalize on partnerships between SIUE and the public/private sectors

▪  Regional engagement that fits SIUE’s mission and addresses such needs as economic development, healthcare and work force development

▪  Student and faculty development that offers internships, consulting opportunities, alumni engagement and entrepreneurial development

The SIUE Community Task/Force will be comprised of staff, faculty and student representatives from SIUE, representatives from businesses in Southwestern Illinois and elected officials.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe