Barry McNamara  |   Published September 04, 2020

Shaddock, Gerdes Make the Hall of Achievement

Pair of former trustees to officially receive Monmouth College’s most prestigious honor during ceremony that will air Oct. 9.

 

2020 INDUCTEES: Former board trustees Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock '54 and Larry Gerdes are the ... 2020 INDUCTEES: Former board trustees Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock '54 and Larry Gerdes are the newest inductees into the College's prestigious Hall of Achievement.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Alumna Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock ’54 and former trustee Larry Gerdes are this year’s inductees into Monmouth College’s Hall of Achievement, the highest honor bestowed upon those connected with the College.

Inductees are traditionally recognized during a ceremony on the Friday of Homecoming weekend. But with most of this year’s Homecoming events canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaddock and Gerdes will be inducted in a virtual, recorded event set to broadcast Oct. 9.

A life in TV

Shaddock had a starring role in front of the TV camera, relying in part on her science background at Monmouth, before moving to the production side with her company, Oliver/Asselin.

In addition to her professional success, Shaddock has also been a loyal supporter of her alma mater, serving on the Board of Trustees and making a number of gifts to the College – among them supporting Hewes Library, establishing a scholarship, and assisting with the purchase of a new home for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Most recognizably, she and her husband purchased The Manor on the corner of Sixth and Broadway before returning it to the College, where it today is known as the Bonnie Bondurant Alumni House.

Shaddock came to Monmouth from Kirkwood, Mo., and was actively involved as a student, serving as president of Kappa Kappa Gamma and president of her residence hall.

“My time as a student at Monmouth College meant so much to me,” said Shaddock. “I really felt that Monmouth gave me the foundation I needed. That small, close environment gives you a lot of self-assurance and supportive friendships.”

“My time as a student at Monmouth College meant so much to me. I really felt that Monmouth gave me the foundation I needed. That small, close environment gives you a lot of self-assurance and supportive friendships.”
- Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock ’54

After a few years as a teacher in California, she had the opportunity to venture professionally into educational TV, a medium which was just getting off the ground. Using lessons learned from Monmouth biology professor Robert Buchholz as a foundation, her show taught science to third- and fourth-grade students. From there, Shaddock became involved in communications and ultimately was called to the state capital by California’s superintendent of public instruction to draft legislation that brought funding for educational technology – including computers – into classrooms.

After serving as deputy director of the California Public Broadcasting Commission, she co-founded Oliver/Asselin and ran it for 12 years. The company produced educational television programming for such clients as PBS, Encyclopedia Britannica, the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Education.

A first in the Hall of Achievement

A partner with Gerdes Huff Investments in Atlanta, Gerdes is a former member of the Monmouth Board of Trustees Executive Committee. He will be the first non-alumnus inducted into Monmouth’s Hall of Achievement since it was established in 1992.

Gerdes was introduced to Monmouth through trustee Walter Huff ’56, who has been his boss, mentor and now business partner of more than 40 years.

“Monmouth is a unique liberal arts college that produces alumni of the highest caliber and boasts an equally impressive faculty and staff,” said Gerdes, who served on the Board of Trustees from 2011-19. “It has been an honor to be involved with this special college and to learn from the contributions made by its trustees, faculty and staff. And it’s a great honor to receive this special recognition from Monmouth 

“It has been an honor to be involved with this special college and to learn from the contributions made by its trustees, faculty and staff. And it’s a great honor to receive this special recognition from Monmouth College.” Larry Gerdes 

Gerdes grew up on a small farm in Walnut, Ill., and was the first member of his family to go to college, enrolling in the agriculture school of the University of Illinois. Gerdes joined the Alpha Gamma Rho agriculture fraternity and walked on to the University of Illinois basketball team. The aspiring entrepreneur started two different businesses and worked four jobs while still an undergraduate.

Armed with a master’s degree in business from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Gerdes took a position as a loan officer at a small bank in Peoria, Ill. His fortunes took an unexpected turn when the bank president asked him to evaluate the business plan of a friend. That friend – Huff – soon became Gerdes’s friend and lifelong business partner.

Huff’s vision was to computerize record-keeping for the health services industry. Gerdes helped Huff secure the company’s first $1 million loan and then subsequent larger ones. Impressed by Gerdes’s financial strengths, Huff asked Gerdes to become chief financial officer of the company, named HBO & Co., for Huff and his partners, Bruce Barrington and Richard Owens.

A year later, when Huff’s two partners decided to retire, Huff and Gerdes moved the company to Atlanta. By then it had evolved into a patient information system. It went public in 1981, and 10 years later Gerdes and Huff left HBO to form Gerdes Huff Investments. HBO was eventually sold to McKesson.

Huff and Gerdes turned their attention to investing in startup companies, the most notable being a medical transcription service company called Transcend Services that they grew from seven to 3,500 employees. Gerdes served as CEO of the company for 17 years before it was sold to rival Nuance in 2012.

Gerdes was also co-general partner of Sandhill Financial Co. and Teton Ventures with Don Lucas, a noted venture capitalist in Menlo Park, Calif. From 1983-2019, those partnerships invested in 59 startups, several of which grew to over $1 billion in revenues. More than 20 became public companies.

Gerdes then became CEO of Pursuant Health, focusing his attention on health data kiosks measuring biometrics such as blood pressure and body mass that can now be found in the entire chain of 4,600 Walmart stores. Additionally, these kiosks measure biometrics such as blood pressure and body mass and collect Health Risk Assessment Data for major healthcare insurance companies.

Gerdes currently serves on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, having been its lead director from 2017-20, and he also chairs that board’s finance committee.

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