Eureka Alumni

2013 Opening Convocation

Eureka College Alumni Relations

Michael Murtagh
Vice President Alumni Relations

Shellie Schwanke
Director of Alumni Relations

300 E. College Avenue
Eureka, Illinois 61530
(309) 467-6317

Maroon & Gold — Recapping June 2014

A Note From Home…

Dear Alumni,


Wow! I sure am enjoying SUMMER! I think that the combination of the seemingly endless winter we endured (so-much-SNOW) along with the busy-ness of travel and commitments that consumed the entire spring semester has caused me to really soak up the beautiful sunshine, lush flora and fauna of our midwestern, small town backyard oasis (we are talking watching the cardinals and robins while our vegetable garden grows). Not to say summer is down time! As one of our alumni board members puts it, this is “Summer Busy.” There is still plenty to do with lots of planning to attend to for the coming year. But the pace feels a bit more relaxed and lots of sunshine just makes life a bit easier. Summer Busy is Good!

Did you notice the Maroon and Gold has a fresh new look? Our goal is to enhance our readers’ experience with mobile-friendly improvements. I hope you enjoy this issue and find some time to relax during your “Summer Busy” schedule.

Shellie Schwanke
Director of Alumni Relations – Class of ’87

Upcoming Events

Visit the Alumni Events page to see details about what is planned.

  • Grant Park Music Festival’s Blue Planet in Concert at Millenium Park
  • EC Night with the Chicago White Sox
  • EC Night with the Peoria Chiefs
  • Rocktober in Vegas

For additional information on any of these events and to make your reservations, contact the Alumni Office at 877-892-7823 or email

Dr. Logsdon’s Studs Terkel

Dr. Loren Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of English, has captured the spirit of Eureka College history in a special project he fondly calls the “Studs Terkel Project.” The project is a collection of alumni memories and stories which weave a rich tapestry of the Eureka College experience.

The Alumni Office would like to continue the spirit of this project by inviting alumni who attended after 1970 to send in your stories. You can also submit by emailing Dr. Logsdon directly at

This collection of stories is available in the Online EC Bookstore .

My Eureka Story
By: Natasha Somers Whitton, Class of 1995

Tasha Somers Whitton, '95

After I took the PSAT, I received a post card saying that I might be interested in a small school located in Illinois, Eureka College, and their Reagan Scholar Program. At the time, I was living in New Orleans, and Illinois sounded a long way off. In my junior year of high school, though, my family moved to Kentucky. I never forgot the little post card, and when the time came to consider schools, I looked up Eureka and the Reagan Program. As I narrowed my choices, I visited several schools. My mom and I traveled to Eureka from Paducah, Kentucky one Friday in the spring. We had appointments on campus the following day and were staying in Peoria for the night. But, we decided to drive through the campus before heading to the hotel. As we drove slowly down the short length of College Avenue, I said, “This is where I am going to go to college.” I just knew. Of all the schools that I had visited, Eureka felt like home from the moment that I saw the campus.

I loved the term system. In my two terms, I took 25.5 credits. I don’t think that I would have been able to keep up with that sort of load on the semester system, but going to class every day kept me focused. I appreciated taking breaks when my classes were finished every 7–8 weeks. I also found the pace helpful when I had to juggle extra-curricular activities. If I decided to try out for a play or musical, I knew to schedule a lighter load that term. During volleyball season, I knew to put my more challenging courses in the second fall term rather than the first. I got to participate in so many activities at Eureka, not just because of the size of the campus, but also because of the flexibility of the term system.

I have so many wonderful teachers at Eureka. One of the first was Dr. Paul Small. He called me before I arrived on campus and asked me if I would work as his lab assistant. I could not have had a better introduction to the campus. He took the time to introduce me as a freshman to his research. We still keep in touch, and I was especially moved when he showed up at my wedding in 1998. I had sent an invitation, but I hadn’t expected him to drive five hours with his family. What a wonderful surprise!

I also enjoyed classes with Dr. Mike Tolliver. In my first course with him, Botany, he noticed that I did well on essay questions, but got most of his multiple choice questions wrong. After the second test, he asked me to stay behind and explain my reasoning on each question. I remember his response quite well—”That’s fascinating. Your logic makes sense, but you are choosing the wrong answer.” He took the time after each test to meet with me and discuss my answers, which I found invaluable.

Dr. Rolf Craft and his assistant Ann Shoemaker changed my life through the activities of the service leadership program. I was challenged to identify my strengths and weaknesses and to make a difference in the world around me.

Finally, I must mention Dr. Loren Logsdon, who is probably the only professor in Eureka history to agree to do an independent study for no credit. I wanted to learn more about the Southern short story, but I didn’t have any hours left. So, he agreed to meet with me each week to discuss literature. I didn’t realize at the time just how rare this was, but as a current college professor, I understand the blessing of a private tutoring session for an hour each week. I was so fortunate to have excellent examples of how to be a productive citizen during my years at Eureka.

My college years were three of the most exciting years of my life. I was able to do so much in such a short period of time. I remember traveling to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with the chorale and Madrigal singers. I spent a summer studying in Tokyo at Sophia University, learning Japanese language, cultural history, and literature; I also climbed Mount Fuji. Once, I spent several weeks as a medical missionary in Brazil near the equator.

I was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority. I was a resident assistant and went skiing with the Student Foundation. All three years, I lived in Alumni Court, but I was sure that Lida’s Wood was haunted. My homecomings were full of many memories. During my last year, the cheerleaders had lost their mascot and had somehow convinced me to play the part for the day. Until moments before the game, they failed to mention that I needed to run across the field ahead of the team, carrying the school flag. I don’t think I’ve ever had to run as fast as I did then! I also remember taking Ultimate Frisbee and fencing classes. I did so much, that I have enough stories to last a lifetime.

Although I majored in biology, I am now a professor in an English department, and I credit Eureka with giving me this flexibility. When I graduated early, I wasn’t quite ready for medical school, so I took a year off. Based on my literature minor, I was accepted to an M.A. Program in American and British literature at Murray State University. From there, I went to Drew University for a Ph. D. in Modern History and Literature with a specialization in the history of science. My interdisciplinary approach to education began at Eureka when I was invited to sample different areas from a strong grounding in Western Civilization. My introduction to Eastern culture through Asian religions and my travel to Japan balanced my world view. I doubt that many schools would have given me these opportunities.

I was in the cast of two theater productions at Eureka: “The Art of Dining” and “The Pajama Game.” I was even invited to join the theater honor society. I went through three different dance partners before “The Pajama Game” even opened, which I am sure happened because of my stellar dancing ability. I participated in in chorale for all three years and was a part of the Madrigal singers for two years. The Christmas dinners were always a highlight of the year.

I was on the volleyball team with a different coach every year. We may not have been conference champions, but we stuck together as friends. Delta Zeta was my social home: I made lifelong relationships that I continue to cherish. In the past years, I have reconnected with friends that I am closer to now than when I was in college. I think that Eureka attracts a particular type of person, and I enjoy hearing about how well everyone is doing, even those that I only knew by name when I was in school.

Eureka teaches young people to believe in themselves and to see the value of their place in the world. Eureka allowed me to explore many activities and disciplines; I was never boxed into my major or a specific extracurricular activity. Eureka is the “anti-Breakfast Club”: There are no jocks or beauty queens or loners. We all wore many labels, but none of them stuck. We got to be the people that we wanted to be: our best selves.

I know the old saying, “College is the best years of your life.” It’s not completely true, but at Eureka, there is a kernel of truth in those words. College wasn’t the best years of my life, but Eureka prepared me to live the best years of my life. It prepared me to live a better life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

GOLDS: Graduates of the Last Decade

We would love to hear from you! At Eureka College we want to maintain a lifelong relationship with our graduates. We have all heard the saying, “Real life begins after college,” and at Eureka we want to know how our young alumni are faring in their first decade out of college. We appreciate your feedback below, and wish you the very best as you navigate “real life.”

Take Our Brief Survey

Class Notes

We are always looking for news about what you are up to in your in your life these days. Help us all stay in touch and stay connected by providing info as to what’s new. Where are you now? New job? Recently married? New baby? Fun story? Send it to us! We’d love to hear!