WIU Disc Golf Team rocks the Hippodrome!

WIU disc golf teamCongratulations to the WIU Disc Golf team, which took third place in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships over the weekend (April 15-18) held at the awesomely-named Hippodrome Disc Golf Course in North Augusta, SC. (Yes, you read that right. Hippodrome.)

The WIU Disc Golf team, which is one of Campus Recreation’s sports clubs, was third out of 26 teams from colleges and universities across the country who competed at the 4th annual collegiate championships. The WIU team was also crowned the National Collegiate Doubles Champions based on their team total best in the tournament’s three doubles rounds.

Click here to see WIU listed in the rankings of the the nation’s most outstanding disc golf teams.

See pictures of the team and the tournament here.

And stay tuned–bookmark or subscribe to this blog!–for an upcoming interview with Kenny Glassman, team captain (coming soon).

‘Beyond the Bell Tower’ in the News

Tip ‘o the hat to these student writers!

Thanks so much to Lauren Finkler and Samantha Pollock for their interest in the launch of Beyond the Bell Tower.

Lauren’s feature on this new blog was the lead story in a recent issue of the Western Courier. Samantha works as a student blogger for Western’s Alumni Association. You can read her entry about the new blog here!

Kudos to these writers, and keep up the good work!

President Bayliss and President Lincoln (and body-stealing?!?)

For those of you who live in Bayliss Hall–or did back when you were a student–have you ever thought about where the name of the residence hall comes Bayliss Hallfrom?

If I told you it was a past president of WIU, Alfred E. Bayliss, who took office in 1906, maybe you would take note and …move on.

But what if you were to hear that past-president Bayliss shares a connection to Abraham Lincoln–and to bodysnatchers?

(Now, don’t worry, WIU hasn’t jumped on the vampire bandwagon."Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" book)

But this story did arise because of an intriguing-sounding book.

Recently, WIU Campus Recreation employee Julie Terstriep (who also happens to be an alumna) started wondering about Western’s presidential past when she found herself engrossed in a good book, a true story that focused on the time period after President Lincoln’s assassination.

As she was reading, she came across a name that jumped off the page: the same name that marks the residence hall just east of where she works on campus.

“It mentioned that Clara Bayliss was at Lincoln’s reburial on behalf of her husband [Alfred], as he was a member of the National Lincoln Monument Association,” Terstriep explained.

Excuse me, but did you just say “re-burial”?

Terstriep was reading the 2007 book written by Thomas Craughwell called Stealing Lincoln’s Body. According to its description on Amazon.com, the book

“provides an intriguing glimpse at a macabre but interesting footnote to the story of Abraham Lincoln: the tale of how, on election night of 1876, several Chicago counterfeiters attempted to abduct and hold for ransom the 16th president’s corpse. …”

Terstriep was curious about whether the Bayliss mentioned at the reburial could possibly be the same Bayliss who once led WIU. So she contacted Western "Stealing Lincoln's Body" book coverIllinois University Archives, and did some more digging. She even contacted the author himself.

And it turned out her hunch was right. Here’s what she learned:

Born in Gloucester, England in 1847, Bayliss came to the U.S. at age six. By the time he was 12 he was supporting himself and working his way through the Hillsdale Academy in Michigan. At 16, Bayliss enlisted in the 11th Michigan Cavalry. He was present at the capture of Jefferson Davis.

He later became a principal at LaGrange High School in Indiana. Four years later, he moved to the position of superintendent of public schools in Sterling, IL. It was from this position that Bayliss came to WIU. During his years as president of Western, he was known for hand-picking faculty, believing that good teachers were “called” to the profession.

And, Terstriep learned, his wife represented him (as a member of the National Lincoln Monument Association) as Lincoln’s reburial in 1901 in Springfield.

“I just thought it was a really cool story,” she said.

But there’s still one question remaining: why wasn’t Alfred Bayliss at the reburial himself? There’s no clear answer.

But even if she doesn’t find one, she at least knows more about the history of her university now. And, she says, she’s prepared to win the next round of trivia!

For this graduate, plastics really did matter.

In that oft-quoted moment in film history, Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate”–facing his uncertain future–gets sage advice about what to do with his life. And that advice became a punchline for a generation.

YouTube clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0EuJmuxnWQ

But for Ron Sherga, a 1976 WIU biology and geology graduate, plastics have been anything but a joke. Recycling plastics, in fact, has led him to an environmentally conscious career.Ron Sherga '76

Sherga is the owner of Sher-Results LLC, (Arlington, TX), which assists companies and organizations with recycling and sustainability issues, and has been a leader in plastics recycling for 30 years.

During his time at WIU, Sherga was a Member of Theta Chi, and the campus groups including Interhall Council and University Union Board. He will return to his alma mater on April 7 to deliver the keynote speech at Western’s Seventh Annual Environmental Summit.

And perhaps he can be said to have erased his own carboon footprint: the facilities he has managed or owned have been responsible for reusing two billion pounds of scrap plastics.

Will you be at this year’s summit?

Looking for what you might be able to do with a biology major?

Or are you a 70s-era alum who remembers Ron?

We want to hear from you. Leave your comments below.