Bob Lumsden, winner of this year’s Lou Liay Spirit Award, at his home in Champaign on Wednesday.
As a member of the University of Illinois Student Alumni Association, Joan Mahon realized that many of her members were full of ideas. Some ideas were good, some not so.
“The whole organization, the students who joined it, were very creative, daredevils,” Mahon said. “Kind of a risk taker, not in a bad way, but in a very creative way of doing things that haven’t been done before.”
This is where Bob Lumsden came in. Lumsden served as a consultant to the group, guiding members to work toward the good ideas and forget about the bad.
“When people got astray (in the ideas department), he would tell them gently, ‘Maybe you can think of another way to look at the situation,'” Mahon said.
“What was unique about Bob was the ability to express our creativity in a very gentle way.”
A graduate of the university in 1953, Lumsden was initially hired at his alma mater in 1963 for the newly created position of campus tourist coordinator.
The position expanded and Lumsden was hired as office manager in 1975 to help found the student alumni association in which he continued to excel. So much so that on Thursday evening he was honored as the recipient of the Lou Liay Spirit Award 2020 in honor of the man who served as Managing Director of the UI Alumni Association for 15 years.
The award is given to alumni who have consistently shown exceptional spirit and pride in supporting the university, the alumni association and related organizations.
Under the supervision of Lumsden, the student alumni association expanded its reach.
Lumsden, who retired from the UI in 1993, has been the focus of his alma mater’s activities throughout his career. The Illinois Union was his home base during his 30-year tenure.
Lumsden, who is 90 years old, makes notes of several programs that he is most proud of.
One of them convinced the students early on to become part of the group.
“Students who go to college, not just in Illinois but at every university … really didn’t know much about their university’s alumni association until they were ready to graduate,” Lumsden said.
“It was really the student programs that attracted me. I would say it was my love I’ve worked with students who were so enthusiastic and capable. I think their enthusiasm made me feel younger. “
Lumsden said there are more than 500 student organizations on campus.
He was instrumental in reinvigorating the interest in homecoming that had waned during the unrest of the 1960s and 70s. He credits Josh Grafton, a UI student who came up with the idea of sparking the revival. Before that, “there wasn’t much going on in terms of homecoming-related student events,” he said.
He called Grafton “a very special person” who helped attract other students to lead. Eighteen months later, in 1979, they helped organize their first homecoming revival with a parade, a big pep rally and fireworks.
Another SAA-run event: A graduate party co-hosted by the Student Sports Association turned into a reception at President Stanley Ikenberry’s home and a continental breakfast in the backyard.
SAA, under the leadership of Lumsden, also borrowed from Penn State in creating the Be a Part from the Start program, which encouraged students to join the association early in their college careers.
The Student Alumni Ambassadors were spun off from SAA in 1983. Lumsden advised both groups until his retirement.
Mahon said it was a valuable experience to be a member of the SAA.
“I think one of the great things I learned was how to be a teammate and a contributor,” she said. “Not everyone can be the leader at the same time, but we can all contribute.”
Born at Burnham Hospital in Champaign, Lumsden is a city dweller who graduated from Champaign High School in 1949.
Lumsden and his wife Sharon continue to live in Champaign, where he stays close to his beloved university.
He came out of retirement in 2016 to organize SAA’s 40th anniversary celebration.
Local 149 sophomore trainees recently helped build a Habitat for Humanity house under construction in Monticello.
Apprentice linemen help out with Habitat House
Some of the sophomore trainees at Local 149, the union that represents plumbers and plumbers in the area, spent time using their skills to help build a Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County’s home in Monticello.
The volunteer work was the result of the collaboration between the association of plumbing and heating engineers and the local 149 members. Together they carried out all the underground and wall-laid pipelines. Once construction is complete, they will return for jigs and other finishing touches.
It is the 15th house built by the Piatt County Habitat For Humanity.
The group included AJ Schlueter, Head of Training Derek Reedy, the owner of Xtreme Mechanical, John Matthews, Fletcher Roth, Pete Fortney, Evan Bachert, Jonathan Brown and Webb Hancock.
UI student receives music scholarship
Maggie Ward, a University of Illinois student, is awarded a Shannon Kelly Kane Fellowship in 2021.
Ward received the grant on September 13 in a virtual awards ceremony with the leadership and members of the National Association for Music Education.
The scholarship was launched by Kane’s family and friends in coordination with NAfMe to honor their life and love for teaching music.
Ward is the President of the NafME College Chapter at UI. She led her chapter welcoming 26 new members in the 2020-21 school year and hosting online events for new members to help build friendships with each other and with current chapter members. They also organized a freshman picnic on campus where new members could meet existing members.
Ward also organized a benefit concert with a local organization that offers free or discounted group or individual music lessons that reached 800 people and raised $ 800 to help needy school-age students.
She also coordinated a question-and-answer panel for freshman music teachers, a curriculum vitae workshop, and other student-organized music events.
PBL student named engineering ambassador
A Paxton Buckley Loda freshman has been named an EngineerGirl Ambassador by the National Academy of Engineering.
Elizabeth Megson is one of 24 new Ambassadors to join a year-long program that aims to build leadership skills in female high school students by helping them attract younger students in their community to engineering.
Megson will be launching a STEM day where university students teach girls about science and technology and answer questions about the various STEM areas.
EngineerGirl Ambassadors will receive support and project funding of up to $ 250, leadership development, networking and engagement opportunities, and a certificate and letter of appreciation from the National Academy of Engineering.
Founded in 1964, the US National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, not-for-profit institution that provides the United States with a leadership role in engineering
Champaign Rotary members accept an award at the district conference, from left: District Governor Michael Step, Connie Walsh, Marlys
Scarbrough, Janet Ellis-Nelson, Shandra Summerville, and Rebecca Ries
Champaign Rotary members attending the Decatur district conference, first row, from left, John Kelly, Rebecca Ries, and Connie Walsh; middle row, Shandra Summerville and Marlys Scarbrough; back row, Andrea Fain, Jan Bahr, Alvaro Hernandez, Carl Burkybile, Doug Nelson, Janet Ellis-Nelson and Scott Anderson Jr.
Champaign Rotary Receives Awards
Champaign Rotary received its share of awards on September 25th at the annual Rotary District 6490 conference on September 25th in Decatur.
The local club received the International Service Award for providing accessories for pumping water from a river to a pond for growing crops in Zimbabwe and for providing equipment for vocational training for teenagers and single mothers in Mexico.
It received the Club Service Award for the monthly meeting to discuss issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in their club and to add payment buttons on their website so they could continue donating to charities during their virtual meetings.
It received the Honorable Mention Youth Service Award for serving local nonprofits through the Centennial High School Interact Club, which the chapter sponsors. He won the Great Club of the Year for accepting 18 new members, maintaining high attendance during the pandemic, donating more than $ 100,000 to local nonprofits, conducting 13 relief projects, donating US $ 11,600 Dollars for international projects and serving in senior positions on district committees and events.
Jaycees recognize Champaign’s Sullard
The Illinois Jaycees selected Champaign-based Elizabeth Sullard as the recipient of their Outstanding Young Persons of Illinois award program.
Sullard was recognized in the Humanitarian and / or Voluntary Leadership category.
She is the Client Care Manager at SYNERGY Home Care and a young, active citizen. She is chair of the Walk to End Alzheimers, volunteers in the working group for seniors in old age and is the founder of the self-help group Working Moms of Chambana, which helps more than 400 working mothers.
Sullard was also Vice President of Young Professionals in Champaign-Urbana and devoted hours to UPAVIM, a Guatemala-based organization that helps women and children affected by gang violence.
The Jaycees will recognize Sullard at an awards banquet on November 13th at Wyndham Springfield City Center.
Adamek loves to study
Champaign’s John F. Adamek received a $ 500 Love of Learning Award from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He is one of 200 award winners.
Love of Learning awards are designed to support post-A-level professional development for active Phi Kappa Phi members, including graduate or professional studies, doctoral theses, continuing education, teaching and research travel, career development, and more.
Adamek is a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and will use funds from the award to support his study of exercise and brain function.
It was inaugurated in Phi Kappa Phi in 2019.