With the UI adulatory altogether No. 150 this year, we bent up with hundreds of graduates who’ve gone on to greatness. Every Tuesday throughout 2017, Editor JEFF D’ALESSIO will acquaint their tales. Today, in Part 35: better influences.
If not for the affable means of BRUCE WEBER and the 2005 Illini apprenticeship staff, LISA (BOAZ) WOODWARD (BS ’07, right) ability not accept gone from answering the phones at the basketball appointment to landing the job of her dreams — administrator of sports advocacy at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
“Being a fly on the bank at the Ubben basketball circuitous fueled my drive to ultimately assignment in sports,” she says.
If DON MATEJOWSKY hadn’t been such an compassionate boss, ERIC GARDNER (BA ’03, left) acceptable wouldn’t accept gone from part-time Krannert Art Building aegis bouncer to chief administrator of engineering at the Golf Channel.
“Don captivated me up with introductions to the building curators and apparent me to Illinois’ art culture, which led to my aboriginal videography gig that ultimately landed me a part-time job active camera and teleprompter at WCIA,” Gardner says.
And if ball executive/author TOM LOPINSKI (left) hadn’t beyond paths with one JED SMOCK (right) during his years at the UI (off and on, 1976-81), his best contempo atypical would accept one beneath bright character.
For the Georgetown-born Lopinski, now administrator of music licensing for the Disney/ABC Television Group, the best memorable campus personality wasn’t a drillmaster or a assistant but rather a preacher — admitting not the acceptable presiding-over-Sunday-services variety.
“Reverend Jed entertained acceptance every bounce and abatement with his ablaze sermons and a adamant admiration to save us all from ourselves,” Lopinski says. “I spent abounding an afternoon sitting on the campus grass watching a army anatomy about him as he spun tales about airy broad-mindedness and captured our hearts. He abandoned the attenuate slurs, connected amusement abaft his aback and in-your-face absolute rebukes that followed him everywhere.
“Then, afterwards any alarum or warning, he’d abandon for months. I was told that he systematically fabricated his crusade about the bookish ambit throughout the country, benign the arctic in the warmer months and brief south for the winter.
“He aggressive me so abundant that I developed a appearance in my aftermost atypical partially based on his antics called Colonel Remus P. Entwhistle, ‘Re-P-Ent’ for short. Jed was like a adventurous of athlete’s bottom that would never absolutely go away, that birthmark which kept advancing back, the mother-in-law who wore out her acceptable but fabricated you absence her aback she was gone.
“I bethink blind out in my abode allowance at Blaisdell one Friday black aback a acquaintance asked if I capital to go see Frank Zappa at the Assembly Hall. Of course, I accepted. About center through this ballsy concert, my acquaintance easily me a tiny allotment of cardboard and tells me to put it beneath my tongue. Actuality the aboveboard smalltown boy that I was, I obliged. All I bethink afterwards that, were accidental flashes of benumbed our bicycles bottomward University Avenue the amiss way, car horns honking and a candied old adult at the Illini Union allurement us to assurance a absolution form.
“Six hours later, we woke up in the aback of a Volkswagen Beetle active to Kent State to beef the 10-year ceremony of the massacre. Aback we got there, we met up with the added protesters, marched against the armpit of the shootings and stormed accomplished a chain-link fence bouncing flags and chanting slogans.
“As I was captivated in the moment, who did I t out of the bend of my eye but Reverend Jed Smock (right). He was continuing on a balcony, afraid his Bible and spewing scripture like a punctured can of Old Style spinning bottomward Green Street on a Saturday night.
“I heard after that two men in aphotic sunglasses and apparel had carted him off to a alien location, area he was interrogated, psychiatrically evaluated and atrium searched afore actuality appear aback into the accessible domain. Sure enough, a few weeks later, Jed was aback on the UI campus extenuative souls and acrimonious up area he’d larboard off.
“Yes, my academy acquaintance was so abundant richer because of Jed. He accomplished me abounding things that no assistant could have, nor should have. If they haven’t already, they should arrect a bronze in his account on the Quad.
“If that’s too abundant to ask, maybe aloof a baldheaded gnome captivation a Bible.”
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