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Faculty share the spotlight during Homecoming weekend

Barry McNamara
10/19/2019
Monmouth College's Homecoming royalty include king and queen Joe Krall and Kyla Baker on the left and princess and prince Lesly Montoya and Terrence Best.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Outstanding faculty are at the heart of Monmouth College.

That was a recurring theme during the College’s Homecoming weekend, Oct. 18-19.

Two professors – Trudi Peterson and Bill Urban – were honored at the Alumni Impact Awards on Friday.

Another professor, the late Richard “Doc” Kieft, was celebrated twice – once at the Fraternity and Sorority Life Hall of Fame induction on Saturday and later that evening at an off-campus mixer in his honor.

Throughout the weekend, non-faculty honorees referred to former professors and coaches when reflecting on how the College had shaped them into high-achieving adults.

“We stand on the shoulders of the people who’ve helped us along the way,” said Don Tanney ’79 while accepting the College’s Family of the Year honor.

It was a big weekend for the Tanney family. Don’s son Mitch Tanney ’06 and Mitch’s wife, Ashley Yeast Tanney ’08, were among four Fighting Scots greats inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame on Saturday.

For Don, the coach he singled out was longtime Monmouth professor and athletic director Terry Glasgow.

“I had the privilege of playing for Coach Glasgow,” he said of his basketball career in the 1970s. “No teacher or coach had a greater positive impact on me than Coach Glasgow did. He was fair and square, with no entitlements, and I’ve carried that sense of fairness and earning your way with me through the years.”

Thompson and Haldeman, too

In accepting the College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, Robert Riley ’70 praised legendary Monmouth philosophy professor Sam Thompson.

“Through Sam Thompson, I discovered a never-ending arc of systems logic,” said Riley, who majored in philosophy and went on to a successful career in agribusiness, including president and CEO of Feed Energy Co.

At the close of his acceptance speech, Riley announced a $50,000 matching gift challenge to his classmates in advance of their 50-year reunion next year.

During his speech, Urban also referenced Thompson, calling him “a marvelous example of how a distinguished professor could have an impact over many years.” Thompson taught at Monmouth from 1926-72.

Urban’s impact on the College was also significant during his 51-year career, for which he was honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

Jenny Sanberg Erickson ’10 went back further than either Urban or Thompson when citing a faculty member who shaped her life. Among her “thank yous” was one to William Haldeman, who taught at Monmouth from 1918-54 and famously said, “The bachelor’s degree is not enough.” That helped inspire Sanberg, who serves as Monmouth’s assistant director of career development and internship coordinator, to earn a master’s degree in college student personnel from Western Illinois University.

“Monmouth College significantly impacted my life,” she said. “It built my confidence, and it challenged me, and it continues to challenge me today.”

Teaching does a life make

In accepting the Hatch Award for Teaching Excellence, Peterson debunked advice given to her when she was searching for a faculty position in the late 1990s and expressed an interest in being at a teaching-oriented college.

“One of the people I interviewed with told me, ‘Teaching does not a life make,’’ said Peterson, who teaches communication studies and is coordinator of the College’s women’s studies minor.

But Peterson believed otherwise.

“I wanted to foster students and create lifelong relationships with them,” she said. “I chose teaching and service. Sometimes I feel inferior about not publishing, but my relationships with my students are my publications. I chose to invest in people, and the relationships I’ve cultivated over time with my students are better than any publications could be.”

Also honored on Friday evening were 1965 classmates and Monmouth board members William Goldsborough and Karen Barrett Chism, who were both inducted into the College’s Hall of Achievement, the highest honor Monmouth bestows upon its graduates.

Chism praised the strong science background she acquired at Monmouth, calling it the foundation for her several successful careers. Goldsborough said the College’s close-knit community provides several advantages.

“My overarching conclusion is that small schools are better,” said Goldsborough, who was chairman of the board from 2012-17. “It’s easy to get lost at a large school, but our faculty and staff at Monmouth will not allow that to happen.”
 
In his closing remarks at the ceremony, Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt said, “Our mission is the guided growth of young people. Bill Urban and Trudi Peterson are powerful role models in serving that mission.”

Weekend roundup


Other M Club Hall of Fame inductees were two-sport star Dante Daniels ’08 and volleyball record-holder Jaime Jones Goin ’02. Daniels referenced track coach Roger Haynes’s often-stated quote, “Either you get better or you get worse – you don’t stay the same.” He said he used that to motivate himself for his senior season.

“In the offseason, I asked myself, ‘What could I be if I really went all in?’”

The short-term answer was Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year in football and a key part of the men’s track team’s first-ever trophy finish at the NCAA meet. The long-term answer was Hall of Famer.

At the Greek life awards ceremony, the new inductees were Kieft, Dwayne Hughes ’87 and Amy Stark Spong ’99.

Jeff Bakker ’90 accepted the honor on behalf of Kieft, who taught chemistry at Monmouth for 31 years, serving most of that time as adviser to Zeta Beta Tau. Kieft, who died in 2009, was also a College trustee.

“Before today’s ceremony even started, we would have heard his laugh,” said Bakker. “He would have tried to speak with as many attendees today as he could. ... Doc was gregarious. His personality filled any room in which he entered. He had a way of making you feel like you were one of his favorite students or one of his closest friends. People were drawn to Doc because he often seemed to be having so much fun. He would have had fun today.”

Also part of the festivities over the weekend was Friday night’s Spirit Shout, where the Homecoming royalty was announced. Seniors Joe Krall of New Berlin, Ill., and Kyla Baker of Chicago were named king and queen, while the prince and princess were juniors Terrence Best of Belleville, N.J., and Lesly Montoya of Villa Park, Ill.

In Saturday afternoon’s football action, the Fighting Scots topped Illinois College 30-15 to remain tied for first place in the Midwest Conference’s South Division. Both soccer teams were also in action, with the women bolstering their MWC playoff chances with convincing victories over Lake Forest and Lawrence. The men gave up a late goal to fall to the Foresters but rebounded on Sunday for a key victory against the Vikings to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Scots’ swim teams also opened their season Saturday in Pepper Natatorium, sweeping Knox and North Central.

Homecoming festivities concluded with a choral concert Sunday afternoon. One of the performing groups, the Chorale, will travel to Europe next spring, singing in Prague, Vienna and Salzburg.