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updated: 12/30/2011 2:49 PM

New alumni coordinator hopes to reunite ECC students

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  • The opening of Renner Hall, Elgin Community College's first main building, includes college President Gilbert Renner standing in front of the ladder. To the left of the ladder are Erika Varrak, Orrin Thompson and Ashley Arnold. The boy in the bow tie is Richard Renner and behind him is his mother, Marsha Renner. But who are the others?

      The opening of Renner Hall, Elgin Community College's first main building, includes college President Gilbert Renner standing in front of the ladder. To the left of the ladder are Erika Varrak, Orrin Thompson and Ashley Arnold. The boy in the bow tie is Richard Renner and behind him is his mother, Marsha Renner. But who are the others?
    Courtesy of ECC archives

  • This photo from one of the college's first nursing classes includes instructor Margaret Gabler Pickett, but who are the others?

      This photo from one of the college's first nursing classes includes instructor Margaret Gabler Pickett, but who are the others?
    Courtesy of ECC archives

  • Who are these students with ECC President Gilbert Renner?

      Who are these students with ECC President Gilbert Renner?
    Courtesy of ECC archives

  • These students seem quite interested in learning about safety deposit boxes, but who are they?

      These students seem quite interested in learning about safety deposit boxes, but who are they?
    Courtesy of ECC Archives

  • The identity of these students who are busy at work remains a mystery. Do you know any?

      The identity of these students who are busy at work remains a mystery. Do you know any?
    Courtesy of ECC archives

  • Diane Stredde, Elgin Community College's new alumni relations coordinator, says many of the great experiences students had at ECC can continue through the Alumni Association.

      Diane Stredde, Elgin Community College's new alumni relations coordinator, says many of the great experiences students had at ECC can continue through the Alumni Association.
    Courtesy of ECC

 

Are you an alumnus of Elgin Community College who has lost track of a former classmate? Or, perhaps you're a one-time ECC student who has an uncanny knack for remembering people you went to school with? Either way, there's someone looking for you.

As the new Alumni Relations Coordinator, Diane Stredde is launching various efforts to reconnect classmates. It's an undertaking that has led her to discover various unidentified photos in the college's archives -- a project that has also attracted attention of other history minded individuals at the school.

"This is only the second time in the college's history that someone has been hired just for an alumni efforts job," Stredde says of her part-time post. "As such, I can really give this my attention."

To move alumni efforts forward, Stredde has assembled a group of former students ranging from recent graduates to some from the college's earlier years. They have been busy writing bylaws and planning activities. These events have included a Lake Geneva boat cruise, an "Alumni Sports Day" and an "Alumni Culinary Challenge."

But, what separates her from previous alumni efforts comes down to one thing -- technology. Stredde recently sent out the first electronic alumni newsletter. It was an issue that turned its attention to the school's earliest years -- the class of 1952.

"We had a lot in common back then," recalled classmate Jim Anderson. "The graduating class was so small we got to know each other well." All were veterans -- as was typical of ECC's early years -- and all went on to four-year colleges, the story adds.

The newsletter also included "Alumni Class Notes" in which former students shared some of their recent experiences. These might be to note a marriage, promotion or some honor.

Stredde has established a Facebook page called "Elgin Community College Alumni" and an alumni section on the college's website. Of particular interest are a number of older pictures of ECC -- both identified and unidentified.

Stredde's photo search attracted the attention of librarian Armando Trejo, as well as Jack Weiss and Polly Nash who were instrumental in writing the college's 60th anniversary book. The list of photos with identified people has now expanded to include the dedication of Renner Hall, the college's original flagship location, as well as various classroom photos.

"There's still a lot more to be done," Stredde adds. She says she is working on relocation of an alumni courtyard with commemorative bricks to the new Academic Library and Learning Center. "I hope to expand the courtyard by having additional alumni purchase bricks."

Anyone that would like a tour of the campus will find Stredde willing and able the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Calling for a reservation is recommended.

"I just want former students to know that those great experiences as students can continue through the alumni association," she said. "If we're able to identify some of our former students in our picture archives, that's a plus."

For more information, contact Stredde at (847) 214-7746 or dstredde@elgin.edu. The alumni website is elgin.edu/eccalumni.

• Can you identify any of the people in these pictures? If so, please contact Diane Stredde at dstredde@elgin.edu or (847) 214-7746.

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