February - March 2021
In This Issue
  • From the Executive Director
  • ACI to Host March 9 Virtual Event on Roles of Educators, Top Business Leaders to Offer Solutions to Illinois' Economic Challenges
  • ACI’s March 26 Work and Life Skills Boot Camp Doubleheader: Technology and Career Success + Growing Your Own Business 
  • ACI Scholar: Emily Barylske, McKendree University
  • ACI's Virtual Benefit Reception is Coming April 16!
  • Knox College Names C. Andrew McGadney its New President
  • Augustana College President Steven Bahls to Retire in 2022
  • Now Available: ACI's 2019-2020 Annual Report
  • Please Save These Dates 
  • From ACI Corporate Partner Expense Reduction Analysts: Huge Operational $ Savings and Operational Improvements Can be Found in Some Unexpected Places
  • Students at Member Colleges and Universities Depend on Your Financial Gifts
Dear Friends:
I want to make you aware of some changes in the ACI staff. First, we thank Cindy Morales, manager of operations, who left our organization this month and moved to a new role at St. Augustine College, Chicago. Thanks for all your great work this past year, and we wish you much success in your new role, Cindy.
We welcome Liz Brandt, director, individual giving, who joined ACI Feb. 15. Liz brings a number of years of development background with both the American Dental Association and the Near North Montessori School, both in Chicago. She will become the first individual giving officer in ACI’s 69-year history, recognizing the importance of this area going forward. Welcome, Liz!
Mick Weltman
Executive Director
ACI to Host March 9 Virtual Event on Roles of Educators, Top Business Leaders to Offer Solutions to Illinois' Economic Challenges
'A Smarter Solution: How the Liberal Arts and Business Community Together are Solving Illinois Challenges,' focuses on ACI's alumni employment data 
ACI's virtual event is March 9 on the organization's YouTube channel.
College presidents, corporate leaders and students will lead a virtual event March 9 focused on how educators in the liberal arts and sciences, and the business community, are working together to offer solutions to economic challenges faced by Illinois' companies, schools and students.
Registration for the virtual event is now open. The program can be viewed on ACI's YouTube channel.
Organized by Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI), the online event, "A Smarter Solution: How the Liberal Arts and Business Community Together are Solving Illinois Challenges," includes discussion of ACI's extensive alumni employment data. Presidents of four ACI-affiliated colleges and universities, a Fortune 500 company CEO and two corporate members of ACI's Board of Trustees, including a student, will be webinar presenters.
The virtual event is planned for 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. CST. President Jamel Santa Cruze Wright, Eureka College, will introduce the program and offer concluding remarks. Wright is also ACI president.
ACI's member employment data is at
Other topics and speakers are:
  • What are the challenges? – President Philip G. Ryken, Wheaton College
  • How can we meet these challenges? – Kunal Kapoor, CEO, Morningstar, Inc., and graduate of ACI-member Monmouth College
  • What do ACI-member schools offer as one solution? – President Teresa L. Amott, Knox College
  • What have been the results shown by the employment data? – President Troy D. Hammond, North Central College
  • How can you get involved? – Chloe Overstreet, ACI board member and student at ACI-member Eureka College, and Mark A. Vargas, ACI board member and president, Licentiam. Vargas is also a graduate ACI-member Judson University.
After the virtual event, a recording will be available on ACI's YouTube channel.
ACI’s March 26 Work and Life Skills Boot Camp Doubleheader: Technology and Career Success + Growing Your Own Business 
Article Image
Registration is open for ACI’s spring virtual Work and Life Skills Boot Camp, Friday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. via Zoom webinar. Where previous ACI Boot Camps have focused on a single theme, the spring session will feature two themes: "Liberal Arts + Technology = Career Success" in the morning session; "Grow Your Own Business, Grow Your Own Job" in the afternoon session. The day will conclude with a financial literacy session that presents the basics of saving, investing and building a retirement nest egg. Click here to register. Registrations will be accepted through March 24. For questions, contact Leslie Millenson, ACI director, special projects, at
"The spring boot camp targets specific student needs," said ACI Executive Director, Mick Weltman. "These days people assume all the good jobs are in technology, and students worry that liberal arts education won’t prepare them for those jobs. But the demand for the skills liberal arts education develops remains high, and we want students to know how promising the future really is."
Some students say that their career goal is to start their own business, Weltman says, "so we want to introduce them to some basics about becoming entrepreneurs." The financial literacy session helps first-generation students who come from families with little experience in retirement savings and investment instruments, he added.
ACI's March 26 boot camp will be available via Zoom webinar.
The March 26 boot camp presentations include:  
  • Jobs at the Intersection of Technical and Human Skills: Rob Sentz, chief innovation officer, Emsi, profiles the job market for liberal arts graduates in 2021, pointing out that, while STEM skills are critical to the job market of the future, much of current literature underscores the growing need for human skills such as those that students acquire through liberal arts education.
  • The Future is Now: Explore New Career Tracks: Recruiter Lynn Hazan, president, Lynn Hazan & Associates, Inc. reinforces that liberal arts graduates are in high demand by many employers, offering jobs that require both the soft skills characteristic of liberal arts education and facility with technology.
  • Technology on a Need-to-Know Basis: Monique Wingard, owner, SAVVY Consulting & Communications, LLC, looks at the key software packages young professionals should know when they launch their careers and how they’re used on the job. 
  • From College to Career, Technology Ready or Not: A panel of young professionals report their experiences learning the technology that supports their job functions. Participants will include Hannah Gibson, operations specialist at Morningstar (a psychology graduate from Denison University) and Alexandra Martos, now a graduate student but until recently materials manager at Schmolz + Bickenbach USA & Canada (marketing/psychology graduate, North Central College). (Panel in formation.) 
  • Planning and Funding Your Small Business: Tarsa Washington MSW, M.Ed., community business ally-financial coach, Allies for Community Business explores the prerequisites for a business plan and funding plan that can make a new small business a reality.
  • Small Business Case Study: Iesha Trotter, founder and owner, BrownSugar’s Balloon Designs & Academy tells the story of her small business and how it has become both a successful enterprise and an important contributor in her community. 
  • Financial Literacy – Investments/Retirement Instruments: Guadalupe Gomez, consultant, DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC and Altan Wuliji, senior consultant, DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC, explains the basics about retirement plans and investment instruments to give young professionals can get a head start on funding their future.
Most boot camp sessions will be recorded and will be made available to ACI member institutions.
Launched in 2019 with a First Opportunity Fund grant from Council of Independent Colleges, ACI’s Work and Life Skills Boot Camps are targeted to low-income, first-generation and students of color who may not have the networks and role models to advance their career objectives.  The curriculum is designed for seniors entering the workforce this summer, however, ACI boot camps are open to all students, regardless of when they’ll graduate, Weltman says.
Students, college and university faculty and staff, and ACI trustees can register here as individuals, and they may attend the boot camp’s full day of seminars or choose to attend specific sessions. At campuses offering in-person learning, career services teams are encouraged to organize group viewings of the March 26 boot camp. ACI is offering grants of up to $100 (depending on the size of the group) to help defray the cost of lunch or snacks. For information about group viewings and related grants, contact Leslie Millenson at 
Emily Barylske
McKendree University
ACI General Scholarship 
Emily Barylske is a senior at McKendree University, Lebanon, Illinois.
Emily Barylske found success at McKendree University by focusing on how she could best contribute to the school's volleyball program – not as an athlete, but as a team manager, "doing the background stuff," as she puts it. With volleyball's help, she found success as a double major in psychology and criminal justice. She is also studying abroad this coming spring before graduation.
A senior from Benld, Illinois, Barylske chose to attend McKendree in nearby Lebanon because it is close to home, she liked the environment and because the volleyball coach offered her a scholarship to manage the team, capitalizing on similar experience she had in middle school and high school. Among other things, her role is to run the clock at practices, keep score during games, conduct tours and meet potential recruits. "It turned out to be one of the best things that I have ever done. Being able to travel and do all this? I love it," Barylske says.
Editor's note: Click here to read more about Emily Barylske and read her blog while she studies in Ireland this semester.
ACI's Virtual Benefit Reception is Coming April 16!
ACI"s Virtual Benefit Reception is Friday, April 16.
ACI's Annual Benefit Reception – temporarily renamed the ACI Virtual Benefit Reception -- is scheduled for Friday, April 16 at 6 p.m., and can be viewed online. This prerecorded event will feature music selections and a digital art display by Knox College student winners of the 150 Media Stream/ACI Contest for Digital Art. ACI Board of Trustees member Chloe Overstreet, will also discuss her journey to become the first ACI student trustee.
Preliminary information is on the ACI Virtual Benefit Reception webpage, including opportunities for sponsorships and ways to give.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs
"Our goal at this year's reception is to emphasize the academic and artistic talent of students attending ACI's member colleges and universities," said Constance Willoughby, ACI director for conferences and scholarships, and manager of this year's event. The Virtual Benefit Reception aims to make viewers aware of ACI's work to build a stronger Illinois through liberal arts education and to raise funds that make ACI's programs possible, she said. Those programs include peer mentoring, college-to-career development, plus scholarships and emergency financial aid.
The event will also feature remarks from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, left, who was the keynote speaker at ACI's 2019 Benefit Reception. He will be joined by others who share ACI's enthusiasm for advancing liberal arts sciences and education in Illinois, Willoughby said.
For more information about the April 16 Virtual Benefit Reception, contact Constance Willoughby at or 312-263-2391, ext. 4, or Mick Weltman, ACI executive director at or 312-263-2391, ext. 1.
Knox College Names C. Andrew McGadney its New President
C. Andrew McGadney becomes president of Knox College July 1
C. Andrew (Andy) McGadney, a visionary and innovative higher education leader, was appointed the 20th president of Knox College following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees on Saturday, Feb. 13, according to a Knox College news release. The news was shared via video during a virtual gathering on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. McGadney will succeed President Teresa Amott on July 1, after she retires in June.
"Andy has demonstrated an uncanny ability to build momentum through visionary leadership, a talent for creating and spearheading student-focused, innovative programs that deliver results, and a deep understanding of the need to inspire a college community to attain aggressive goals through collaboration," said Chuck Smith ’84, chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees. "His devotion to Knox providing a rigorous, highly personalized liberal arts education to an incredibly diverse student body will serve the College well now and in the future. We are delighted to welcome Andy to the Knox College community."
"This is a very exciting time in Knox’s long and storied history," said Teresa Amott, who has served as its 19th president since 2011 and will retire in June. "We are fortunate indeed that Andy will bring his remarkable record of vision and leadership to Knox. The future is very bright for the College we love."
Augustana College President Steven Bahls to Retire in 2022
President Steven Bahls of Augustana College plans to retire in 2022.
Steven Bahls will retire as president of Augustana College effective July 1, 2022, after a notable 19-year career leading the college, according to an Augustana College news release. Originally planning to retire in July 2021, Bahls delayed his retirement in order to lead the college through the challenging years of the pandemic.
"It has been the highlight of my professional life to serve Augustana College, and I look forward to my next great adventure," he said. Bahls started his tenure at Augustana in the summer of 2003. Since then, the Augustana community has benefited from his passion for the liberal arts, his natural gifts as an explorer and collaborator, and his drive for innovation. 
"Steve’s leadership has driven Augustana to new heights, and he’s done that with a steadfast commitment to growth, to innovative programming, to diversity and to the long-term financial strength of the college," said John Murabito, alumnus and chair of Augustana’s Board of Trustees.
Now Available: ACI's 2019-2020 Annual Report
 ACI's 2019-2020 Annual Report --
ACI's latest annual report is filled with information about ACI, including ACI highlights, facts and figures, member colleges and universities, leadership, program descriptions, plus financial information, donors, and corporate partners and sponsors.
Highlighting our report are 11 student profiles featuring ACI scholarship recipients and Peer Mentoring Program leaders. Profiled are students from Augustana College, Benedictine University, Eureka College, Judson University, Knox College, McKendree University, Millikin University, Monmouth College, Principia College, Rockford University and Trinity Christian College.
A limited number of printed copies are available. Please contact the ACI office at or 312-263-2391.
Please Save These Dates 
  • Tuesday, March 9: ACI virtual event, "A Smarter Solution: How Liberal Arts and Business Together are Solving Illinois' Challenges," 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., via YouTube
  • Wednesday, March 10: ACI presidents quarterly meeting, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., via Zoom 
  • Friday, March 12: ACI provosts quarterly meeting, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., via Zoom
  • Friday, March 19: ACI Board of Trustees (presidents and corporate trustees) informal conversation, 11 a.m. to noon, via Zoom
  • Friday, March 26: Work and Life Skills Boot Camp, "Technology in the Workplace, Across Careers and Industries," via Zoom 
  • Friday, April 16: Board of Trustees Annual Meeting, via Zoom
  • Friday, April 16: ACI Benefit Reception, 6 p.m., online via YouTube
  • Friday, June 18: ACI Board of Trustees (presidents and corporate trustees) informal conversation, 11 a.m. to noon, via Zoom
  • Friday, Sept. 17: ACI Board of Trustees (presidents and corporate trustees) informal conversation, 11 a.m. to noon, via Zoom
  • Friday, Dec. 17: ACI Board of Trustees (presidents and corporate trustees) informal conversation, 11 a.m. to noon, via Zoom 
From ACI corporate partner Expense Reduction Analysts 
Huge Operational $ Savings and Operational Improvements Can be Found in Some Unexpected Places
Expense Reduction Analysts --
A recent Telecom project saves a New York university over 30% of annual costs while delivering significant improvements in infrastructure, service and community satisfaction. Similar cost and/or operational improvements can be found in other cost areas including food service, facility maintenance, printing and office supplies.
For more information or to discuss areas of opportunity, please contact:
Marty Leiter
Expense Reduction Analysts
Tel: 630.416.7086
Students at Member Colleges and Universities Depend on Your Financial Gifts
To give to ACI, visit
The COVID-19 pandemic has put many families and students under extreme financial stress. Students attending ACI-member colleges and universities urgently need financial help. Your gifts can make it possible for these students to launch or continue their college careers.
ACI is a charitable organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to ACI are tax-deductible, as described in the Code. ACI welcomes cash gifts, online giving by credit card and gifts of stock. Be sure to consult your tax advisor/preparer for definitive guidance before engaging in any transaction.
To make an online gift, visit ACI's Giving webpage and choose how you prefer to designate your donation. Or, contact Mick Weltman, ACI executive director, at 312-263-2391, ext. 1, or write to
ACI Member Colleges and Universities 
Augustana College - Aurora University - Benedictine University - Blackburn College
 Concordia University Chicago - Dominican University - Elmhurst College - Eureka College - Illinois College
 Illinois Wesleyan University - Judson University - Knox College - Lewis University - McKendree University
 Millikin University - Monmouth College - North Central College - North Park University
 Olivet Nazarene University - Principia College - Quincy University - Rockford University
Saint Xavier University - Trinity Christian College - University of St. Francis - Wheaton College

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