38 'Wow' Inductees Going Into Elgin High School Alumni Hall of Fame

38 ‘Wow’ Inductees Going Into Elgin High School Alumni Hall of Fame

The list reads like a Who’s Who of 20th century innovators, artists, educators and business leaders, from scientist Max Adler to Olympic shotputter and world record holder Brian Oldfield to journalist and best-selling author Nina Burleigh.

Elgin High School will celebrate the accomplishments of some of its most distinguished graduates Thursday night during a dedication of the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.


Max Adler with Dr. Oskar von Miller (L) and Ernest A. Grunsfeld (R) at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, where Adler first saw the Zeiss projector in action. CREDIT: writescience.wordpress.com

The celebration coincides with Homecoming Week and will recognize the contribution of 38 EHS graduates, including some of the nation’s top scientists, actors, athletes and journalists. Some alums will be posthumously inducted while others will join Thursday’s event.

“This Wall of Fame reflects the strong legacy of EHS and shows how far we’ve come,” said EHS Principal Jerry Cook, also an EHS alum. “Our esteemed alumni inspire today’s students, and it’s extremely exciting to be able to share this program with our students, staff, graduates, and especially the families of our inductees who have shared their loved one’s journey.”

Former Elgin High School Principal Richard Felicetti first began to urge the community in 1980 to find a way to recognize the accomplishments of graduates from the school which was founded in 1869. Later, former Principal Dave Smiley (2001-2011) met five members of the Class of 1960 who volunteered to start gathering archives of newspaper clippings, sports programs and yearbooks.

Through the years, the community has shared lost treasures found in garages, basements and attics with the volunteer archivists who continue to meet at EHS today. The EHS staff and volunteers who led the effort alongside Cook and Associate Principal Alan Flota are Barbara Cook, Susan Fortner, Ricky Harris, Pat Sanders, Judy Sorton, Chandler Swan and Marty Yochum.

Cook, a Class of 1991 graduate, continued the quest to complete the Hall of Fame by adding plaques to the wall, making for a total of 38 graduates who will be inducted. The following alumni will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday:

Class of 1883 — Max Adler: Benefactor of Adler Planetarium, Vice-President of Sears & Roebuck, Concert violinist (5/12/1866 – 11/4/1952)

Class of 1901 — Jennie Christine “Jane” Peterson: Internationally Renowned Painter and Artist (1876 – 8/14/1965)

Class of 1907 — Helen Miller Malloch: Founder of the National Federation of Press Women (11/8/1888 – 6/1963)

Class of 1908 — Edna D. Geister: National Recreation Director of the YWCA

Class of 1917 — Mildred A. Engelbrecht: Bacteriologist, University of Alabama

Class of 1918 — Gail M. Dack, Ph.D, MD: Bacteriologist (Univ. of Chicago), internationally known authority on food borne diseases


John M. Qualen (right) in the movie “Casablanca.”

Class of 1920 — John M. Qualen: Character Actor in more than 100 films and Television Actor

Class of 1921 — Frank O’Beirne: Vice Admiral U.S. Navy, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Class of 1922 — Trygve Rovelstad: Renowned Sculptor and Medalist

Class of 1923 — James M. Roche: CEO of General Motors Corporation

Class of 1927 — Paul F. Flory: Polymer Chemist and Recipient of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Class of 1934 — John R. Tobin: Dean Emeritus of Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Class of 1935 — Alfred Y. Kirkland, SR., JD: U.S. Federal Judge

Class of 1945 – Charles “Chick” L. Peterson: World Class Water Color Artist

Class of 1946 – Ray A. Barnhart: Federal Highway Administrator and Texas politician

Class of 1946 — James P. Kramer: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research Entomologist

Class of 1946 — John P. Kramer, Ph.D Entomologist and University Professor at N.C.State Cornell

Class of 1946 – John R. Mink, Ph.D: Founding faculty member of the Dental School at University of Kentucky

Class of 1946 — Charles E. Swanson: President of Encyclopedia Britannica

Class of 1948 — Marshall I. Goldman, Ph.D: Wellesley and Harvard University Professor (Economics), Author and Researcher

Class of 1949 — Dietrich “Jack” C. Bauer: Microbiology Scientist, Indiana University

Class of 1949 — John “Jack” S. Shales and Marlene “Kane” Shales: Philanthropists and Civic Leaders

Class of 1951 — Douglas B. Nash: NASA Geologist, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Division of Space Sciences, Pasadena, CA

Class of 1951 — John W. Teets: CEO Greyhound, Dial and Armour

Class of 1953 – Wesley K. Foell, Ph.D: Environmental Scientist/Scholar, University of Wisconsin

Class of 1955 — Samuel A. Werner, Ph.D: Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Missouri

Class of 1960 — Sara Melissa Hart: Miss Elgin 1962, Second City Alumni and Leading Character in the traveling production of “Cabaret” and a Tony Award nominated actress

Class of 1962 — Tom W. Shales: Television Critic for the Washington Post and 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism


Brian Oldfield on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Class of 1963 — Brian Oldfield: Olympic Shot Putter and World Record Holder

Class of 1965 — Richard M. Hoover: Tony Award Winning Production Designer

Class of 1969 — Daniel M. Brewbaker: Renowned Composer

Class of 1969 – Richard “Rick” W. Sund: NBA Executive

Class of 1971 — Deborah A. Lathen, JD: Bureau Chief at the FCC

Class of 1972 — Harold “Hal” Getzelman: NASA’s Capsule Communicator Chief Engineer

Class of 1973 — Jay Geldmacher: Executive Vice President of Emerson Electric

Class of 1974 — Joseph Incandela, Ph.D: American Particle Physicist

Class of 1976 — George A. Lesieutre, Ph.D: Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Pennsylvania State University


Nina Burleigh is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox.”

Class of 1978 — Nina Burleigh: Journalist and Best Selling Author

More than 20 inductees and family members plan to attend the ceremony which will feature refreshments and entertainment by the EHS Pep Band.

“We are grateful for all those who took time to recognize the accomplishments and history of EHS,” said Dr. Terri Lozier, assistant superintendent of secondary education. “We know that our staff and community members down the road at Larkin High School as well as in Bartlett, South Elgin and Streamwood are taking note and will find their own way to remember and honor their great alumni.”

Elgin High School Alumni Hall of Fame Induction and Dedication Ceremony

  • WHO: Elgin High School Alumni, staff and volunteers.
  • WHERE: Elgin High School Library Commons (Door #1), 1200 Maroon Dr., Elgin.
  • WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.