Illinois Pioneers

WILL - Illinois Pioneers - September 16, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Human Kinetics founder Rainer Martens

7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 25, on WILL-TV
Rainer Martens

Rainer Martens is an internationally recognized sports psychologist, known for creating the most widely used coaching education program in the U.S. and for writing Successful Coaching, America's best-selling coaching textbook. Host David Inge talked to him about the mental side of sports and the coaching style that he advocates.


WILL - Illinois Pioneers - September 05, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Japanese culture teacher Shozo Sato

7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 11, on WILL-TV
Shozo Sato

Shozo Sato is internationally known as a theater director for his adaptations of Japanese Kabuki plays for western audiences, and the author of books on Japanese brush painting, flower arranging and the tea ceremony.  He first came to Champaign-Urbana in 1964 as an artist-in-residence, and became a professor of art and design at the University of Illinois. He also created the original Japan House, a center for Japanese culture on the U of I campus. He taught the Japanese tea ceremony to C-U residents as a way of introducing Japanese life to the community.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - August 05, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Illinois Pioneers Season Premiere: Justice Rita Garman

7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 4, on WILL-TV
Justice Rita Garman

When she was in law school, some professors told Rita Garman she didn’t belong there because she was a woman. After graduation, law firms said they couldn’t hire her because clients didn’t want a woman lawyer. But Garman found work as a legal-aid attorney and went on to work at every level of the state’s court system. Today, she serves as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. She is David Inge’s first guest on the new season of Illinois Pioneers.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - December 13, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Industrial recycling innovator Lou Mervis

7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 19, on WILL-TV
Lou Mervis

Lou Mervis, who retired in 2005 as president and CEO of Mervis Industries in Danville, talks about guiding his family's company to become a leader in meeting the manufacturing and recycling needs of various industries. He also reflects on his achievements as a volunteer, from founding the Danville Area Economic Development Corporation to his 17-year service as a member of the Illinois State Board of Education.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - December 12, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Film producer/director Frederick Marx

7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 12, on WILL-TV
Frederick Marx

Host David Inge interviews the C-U native and U of I graduate about his 35-year career in the film and television industry.

From his 1994 breakout work, "Hoop Dreams," to his most recent film, "Journey from Zanskar," Marx addresses multiculturalism and expresses empathy for the plight of the disadvantaged. "I love underdog stories," he said. He was a Guest-in-Residence at Unit One/Allen Hall on the U of I campus.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - November 21, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Steve Burgess recalls his father, James R. Burgess Jr.

7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 21, on WILL-TV
James R. Burgess

Steve Burgess reveals his journey of discovery about his father, James R. Burgess, pictured, Champaign County's first African American State's Attorney. Steve learned about his father's role in World War II after his father died. James Burgess was a first lieutenant commanding one of six African American tank companies in the famous 761st Tank Battalion that served under General George Patton, including at the Battle of the Bulge.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - November 14, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Renowned baritone Nathan Gunn

7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 14, on WILL-TV
Nathan Gunn

Host David Inge interviews renowned baritone and University of Illinois professor Nathan Gunn, who discusses how he decided to be a professional singer, revealing that he first considered a career in the Air Force. He also talks about how he became known for taking off his shirt, and why he is able to sing both opera and musical theater, when few singers can do both.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - October 28, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

BabyTALK Founding Director Claudia Quigg

7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 31, on WILL-TV
Claudia Quigg

Claudia Quigg, who founded BabyTALK in Decatur 27 years ago, talks to host David Inge about the importance of the parent-child bond, and what communities can do to support new parents. Her organization visits 1,600 newborns and their families in Decatur hospitals each year, helping parents make observations about their babies and showing them how competent their babies are in the first few days of birth. Not too long ago, babies were viewed as a blank slate, she said. "Now we know that babies bring so much into the world with them with an inborn temperament, and many skills and abilities they use to actively see out and establish relationships with people around them."

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - October 18, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar

7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 24, on WILL-TV
Jim Edgar

Jim Edgar, who served two terms as Illinois governor, explains how being raised by a widowed mother helped shape his views. “I had a great deal of respect for my mother and what she went through,” said Edgar, now a distinguished fellow in the U of I Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “I had a little more sensitivity to women’s issues than the average Republican.”  Edgar said he started out as an aide to the powerful Illinois Senate President Pro-Tem, but he really wanted to hold elected office. “I didn’t want to be the power behind the throne. I wanted to be on the throne,” he tells host David Inge.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - October 14, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Little Theatre on the Square founder Guy Little

7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 17, on WILL-TV
Guy Little

Guy Little talks about his role in bringing 175 famous singers, comedians and actors, including Betty Grable, Kitty Carlisle, Tab Hunter and Robert Conrad, to central Illinois for productions at The Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan. He tells fascinating stories including cooking for Betty Grable and working with the temperamental actress Ann Sothern. He talks about how he decided he wanted to make theater his life when he was very young and saw The Merry Widow at the Lincoln Theater in Decatur. "I sat in the front row and I said, 'That's what I want to do.' "

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