Illinois Pioneers

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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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - October 10, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Television anchor Jennifer Roscoe

7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 10, on WILL-TV
Jennifer Roscoe

Host David Inge talks to the longtime WCIA news anchor about the reality that her job isn't as glamorous as people think it is. Roscoe has two children, one with special needs, and talks about the difficulties of being a mom who works nights. In 2011, a change in Illinois law made it possible for Roscoe, who is adopted, to get a copy of her birth certificate. After she got a name and phone number for her birth mother, her co-workers nudged her to call. She tells a moving story about the night when, in between newscasts, she talked to her mother, and then had to run do the 10 o'clock news. They met on Mother's Day of 2012.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - September 27, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Tim Nugent, game-changer for students with disabilities

7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 3, on WILL-TV
Tim Nugent coaching U of I wheelchair basketball team

At the University of Illinois, Tim Nugent founded the first comprehensive program in higher education for people with disabilities, and helped establish the university as a power in collegiate wheelchair athletics. Host David Inge talks to Nugent about what it was like for students with disabilities when he started his program after World War II, the difficulties he faced in convincing university faculty and administrators that disabled students belonged on campus, and why wheelchair basketball was an important part of his program.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - September 19, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Former Champaign Mayor Dannel McCollum

7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 26, on WILL-TV
Dannel McCollum

The former Champaign mayor talks about how his family’s involvement in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case affected him as a child, reflects on his years teaching school, and relates behind-the-scenes stories about the city’s Boneyard Creek and Virginia Theatre projects.

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WILL - Illinois Pioneers - September 17, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Wolfram Research Co-Founder Theo Gray

7:30 pm Sept. 19, 2013, on WILL-TV (repeated Jan. 9, 2014)
Theo Gray

Theo Gray, innovative software developer and popularizer of science, began studying chemistry but changed course when he was asked to join in the creation of a groundbreaking computational software program called Mathmatica. He’s also a prominent element collector and author. He tells Illinois Pioneers host David Inge that he doesn't write about science because of a missionary zeal to convince people that it's cool. "I do this stuff because I think it's fascinating," he said.

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

Early childhood education pioneer Lilian Katz

7:30 pm Sept. 12, 2013, on WILL-TV (repeated Jan. 2, 2014)
Lilian Katz

Illinois Pioneers host David Inge interviews Lilian Katz, University of Illinois professor emerita of early childhood education, who is known worldwide for her expertise in child development and teacher education. They talk about how volunteering at her children's cooperative nursery school introduced her to child development. She describes what children should learn in pre-school, how the project approach in early education encourages learning, and what she thinks of standardized testing and computers in the classroom.

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