Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day: The First Women at Lewis

Editor's Note: In honor of International Women's Day, we bring you this story of our first women students at Lewis University. A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of the Lewis University Magazine. Do you have a campus memory to share? Email us at and share your story.

After World War II, Lewis College of Science and Technology began to admit women as students and high school classes were discontinued. The college granted its first baccalaureate degrees in 1952.

Some of the earliest female attendees included Jane Stiker '56 (English), Arlene Olson, and Pat Klug. Living in the barracks still situated on campus from World War II during the 1950s, the women adhered to different rules than today’s generation of college students. Wearing dresses instead of pants to class was required, and a curfew on both weeknights and weekends was enforced.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

10 Places to See Around Lewis University

Joseph Prendergast ’66, a retired English teacher after 47 years in the education field, travels the world visiting museums, concert halls, and historical landmarks from China to Paris. Joseph encourages others to try new things, gain knowledge in areas outside of their comfort zone, and truly discover ways to enrich their life. 

1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz is a traveler’s guide to places that are worth seeing around the world. After some research, we found that these ten locations in the surrounding area are places that students, faculty/staff, alumni, and friends must visit while around Lewis University. These historic sites will provide you with a unique cultural experience and a fun relaxing afternoon out on the town. So, we have created our very own guide for you all to follow: 10 Places to See While at Lewis University.

1. Old Joliet Prison

Here, you can learn the history of Joliet’s most notorious prison. Visitors are able to unlock information about the prison’s inmates and enjoy a picnic area with a spectacular background.

2. Lincoln Landing
There are plenty of things to keep you occupied at this open park and museum. The Gaylord Building Historic Site, originally built with limestone, offers a wide variety of exhibits centered on the history of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This canal, built in the 1840’s, provided opportunities for the surrounding community to thrive and grow. Irish canal worker, Patrick Fitzpatrick, owned land nearby which eventually became the ground upon which Lewis University was built. After learning about it, you can walk alongside the scenic path of the canal itself. You can learn more about the exhibits at

3. Philip Lynch Theatre

Located in the Oremus Fine Arts Center on campus, the theatre is home to both musical and non-musical performances by students, faculty, and staff. You definitely have to see a show while you are at Lewis. Or be in one, if you are feeling brave! Check out the Calendar of events here:

4. Isle a la Cache Museum

This free public museum offers historical education from the 18th century. You can visit the interactive exhibits of the Great Lakes fur trade inside or enjoy an afternoon of hiking, fishing, kayaking and more at the Isle a la Cache preserve, which is part of the Des Plaines River preservation system.  Check out this Illinois Adventure video segment at to learn more about this location and everything it has to offer.

5. Lewis University Airport

Originating as Lewis School of Aeronautics in 1935, the university is now a national leader in aviation education with a highly regarded Department of Aviation and Transportation Studies. No matter how old you are, it is always fascinating to see a plane fly right above your head.

6.       St. Charles Borromeo Convocation Hall

Recently renovated to fit the university’s needs, St. Charles Borromeo Center now has plenty to offer! Convocation hall, formerly a chapel, is the perfect place to hold large group presentations and events. The new Flight Deck Cafeteria, state-of-the-art classrooms, outdoor patio, and student dormitories make this location on campus one you must take the time to visit.

7.       Lewis University History Center

This museum, located at the Fitzpatrick House on Route 53, offers a unique collection of historic documents and artifacts linked to the region’s heritage. Basically across the street from the Romeoville campus, this is a great place to stop by and visit as you leave!

8.       Heritage Village

(Photo provided by Will County Historical Museum)

This famous historical attraction in Lockport is owned by the Will County Historical Society. Formerly located near the Gaylord building in Lockport, the group of small buildings and houses were known as the Pioneer Settlement. In 2011, after being placed in storage, the attraction gained a new start and is now located at 249 West 2nd Street, Lockport, IL 60441. You can learn more about Heritage Village by visiting

9.       Murphy Park

(Photo provided by Romeoville Patch)

This park in Romeoville has a playground with a rock climbing play structure, the Romeoville Historical Society, and a serene picnic area. The Le’Roy “Del” Burns Memorial Pavilion at the park was named in honor of a longtime village worker who was killed in an accident in 2012.

1 Joliet Area Historical Museum

(Photo provided by Joliet Area Historical Museum)

This museum tells the story of Joliet and its people with state-of-the-art presentations, interactive simulators, life size models, and much more. It is located at 204 Ottawa St. in Joliet and costs seven dollars to visit. Visit to learn more about the exhibits at this museum. 

Where else should we see in and around campus? Tell us in the comments or email us at

Friday, December 2, 2016

Flyer Friday: Nicole Carella ’15

In honor of Special Education Day, we would like to introduce you all to Nicole Carella ’15, a dedicated young woman empowering students with disabilities at Grand Prairie Elementary School in Frankfort. During her time at Lewis, she studied the dual certificate program in elementary education and special education. In addition to being a Peer Minister and a member of Theta Kappa Pi and Relay for Life Committee, Nicole was also highly involved in the Best Buddies, an organization that promotes one-to-one friendships between students and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a committed member of this organization, Nicole worked hard to make her buddy feel loved and included in everything they did together. She is a fun, loving individual who is devoted to making others smile. Way to go, Nicole!

Do you know an alumnus we should feature for Flyer Friday? E-mail us at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Flyer Friday: Elaine Karabatsos ’90

In an industry in which the sky is the limit, Elaine Karabatsos ’90 arrived at her final destination after a hard-fought journey. Elaine received a job with The Coca-Cola Company in 1992 after working at Rusk Aviation for about one year after graduation. As an Aircraft Manager, she is responsible for the maintenance of the corporate fleet and safely preparing those aircraft for departure.

Growing up as a tomboy unafraid to get some dirt under her fingernails, Elaine felt inspired to work in the aviation industry from a very young age. It was not an easy journey, though.

“It has been a very eye-opening career filled with unique experiences,” she says with a smile. “My family wanted me to go to school for a more female-oriented career, because a woman working in the aviation industry was just unheard of. With a lot of hard work and determination, I can now say I have accomplished something that only one percent of women have accomplished.”

Having graduated with a degree in Aviation Maintenance, Elaine gained a lot more than just an extensive education at Lewis University. Making lifelong friends and important professional contacts, Elaine loved every minute of her college experience.

“Lewis is known to have an elite aviation program, and the fact that I can say I went there and put it in writing is a huge accomplishment,” Elaine adds. “Never give up; the sky is the limit!”

What's your story? Email us at and you could be our next #FlyerFriday!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flyer Friday: Improv with Jo Slowik '88

It's #FlyerFriday! Philip Lynch Theatre Lewis University Manager Jo Slowik '88 recently presented an acting workshop to the drama students at Lincolnway Central High School. Accompanying her were 10 Lewis students. The two-hour workshop explored improv and the Meisner technique aimed at developing truthful acting.

Would you like to return to campus and volunteer your time and expertise? Find our alumni volunteer opportunities at

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alumni Speakers on Campus

One of the things we love about our alumni is their willingness to come back to campus and share their insights and stories with our current students. Being an alumni speaker is a very short time commitment and provides our students with a better understanding of topics from the alumnus’ real-life experiences.

Here are just a few of the talented alumni who have returned to campus as alumni speakers:
  • Alumna Samantha Rinehart '14 returned to campus in September to speak with students about the next steps on their educational path.
  • Faris Ziadat '12 (Business Administration) spoke at Professor Rich Burke’s and Professor Bob Bergman’s Salesmanship classes in September. Faris shared his personal experiences with students, and emphasized the importance of asking customers open-ended questions. Faris serves as the Vice President, Field Sales Representative at Citi; he credits his degree from Lewis in being able to take the next step in his career.
  • Lewis University launched its successful Girls Take Flight in Aviation camp the week of June 27. The camp brought together 23 middle and high school aged girls who came to campus to experience a week of learning about the science of flight, meteorology, and unmanned aircraft systems. Several aviation professionals volunteered their time to talk with the girls about how they shaped their own aviation careers, including Elaine Harris '03, MBA '08 from Ingredion; Tim Radigan '92 from Baxter; Elaine Karabatsos '90 from Coca Cola; and Margaret Naughton and Jessica Plascencia '15 from Vulcan Materials Company. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the camp was flight time for each girl in the University’s fleet of Cessna 22 aircraft. Departing from the Lewis University Airport, each girl got a flying lesson from a licensed flight instructor.
  • Lewis was pleased to partner with the community organization Girls4Science to recruit the participating girls. Many of the girls’ families noted how appreciative they were to be able to offer their daughters this experience, as it was provided without cost to the participants thanks to support from corporate partners.
  • Tom Drez '88, the CIO, CPO, CSO, and Managing Director at Christian Brothers Services, recently gave a talk entitled "Cyber Security, Cyber Risk, and Data Breaches. Oh My!" to Lewis students and others in the Computer Science division of the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA).
  • Former WFLY-TV News Director and General Manager Shane Gustafson '15 now works as a reporter for WMBD-TV in Peoria, Ill. Shane recently visited campus to speak with the Field Production class taught by Tracy Hemmingway, assistant professor of Communication, about his career in reporting and offer advice to current students in the Radio/TV Broadcasting program.
  • Bill Storie '69 returned to Dr. Dennis Cremin’s class on October 18, 2016 to present on “The Rise of the American Colossus.”
  • Artist and alumna Jane (Caldwell) Stiker '56 visited campus and brought a copy of the program from one of the first plays on campus.
  • Richard Joyce '73 spoke on September 20 to Dr. Dennis Cremin’s class on “A Community in Turmoil.”

Are you ready to join our list of successful alumni who have returned to campus as an alumni speaker? You can fill out the online form to express your interest at

If you have questions or need more information on volunteering as one of our Flyer Alumni Volunteers (FAVS), contact Margaret Grabowski '10, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, at

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Celebrating Our Outstanding Educators on World Teachers' Day

Today is the United Nations' World Teachers' Day, which celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. Lewis University's College of Education faculty are committed to Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s purpose and vocation, creating critical educators who have the knowledge to transform education to meet the needs of a diverse population of students and to advocate for social justice in the school and community.

Education alumni like Takiyah Olatunbosun have been honored with numerous awards and distinctions, most recently including the Joliet Great Teachers and the PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators program, while also leading the educators of the future as school district superintendents. Rebecca Deang has always felt inspired to work with young children and their families and now serves as a Community Health Educator, and Tony Pena is a math teacher at Stagg High School who believes in giving back.

Have a faculty member who made a difference in your life? Tell us at