Large memorial donations provide lift to Mundelein High athletics

A $100,000 memorial donation that funded the renovation of Mundelein High School's weight room likely is the largest private monetary gift in the school's 56-year history, officials said.

And the donor's generosity hasn't run out. He's pledged an additional $35,000 for more athletic projects.

Longtime Mundelein resident Ed Rogan is responsible for the weight room renovation. The effort honors his late ex-wife, Toni, a former Mundelein High employee who died in 2000.

A plaque in the room is dedicated to Rogan's ex-wife, who remarried and was known as Toni Shepard when she died. She worked in the career resource center and was involved in other programs at the school, including the Expressions fine arts festival and a career day fair.

She also was a die-hard Mundelein High sports fan.

"I estimate that she attended over 200 MHS football, basketball and volleyball games in her lifetime," Ed Rogan said. "She was a great Mustang."

Completed this summer, the exercise facility is used by students in wellness classes and by student-athletes. Any Mundelein High student can work out after school, too.

"We have been diligent in our stewardship of those funds and deliberately used them in a way that benefits all students at MHS," head varsity football coach Larry Calhoun said.

The roughly 6,000-square-foot room has racks of free weights and several exercise machines. There's also space for a jumping exercises called plyometrics and suspension exercises that involve anchored straps.

The room is decorated with oversized photos of Mundelein High athletes competing as well as a sports-themed mural.

The previous weight room had outdated equipment, some of which had broken and become unsafe to use, Calhoun said.

The layout of the old room was inefficient, too, he said, and the space was "drab and uninspiring."

"The contrast between what we had and what we have now is drastic and remarkable," Calhoun said. "We feel we now have a weight room that rivals most small colleges in terms of available equipment and space."

Rogan said he decided to financially support Mundelein High's athletic program after meeting Calhoun following the 2016 football season. He was moved by Calhoun's commitment to building a winning football program.

"I have long held to the theory that there are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened," Rogan said. "Coach Calhoun makes things happen."

Calhoun, in his third year as the varsity Mustangs' head coach, says he is grateful for Rogan's generosity.

"It has been tremendously uplifting for me personally and for all the students and staff in our program to have someone place enough faith and confidence in our growth that (he) would support us with such a large financial gift," he said.

This isn't the first significant private donation Mundelein High has received.

In 1979, a law firm gave the school an art collection containing more than 60 signed lithographs by artists including Salvador Dali. Years later, officials estimated the collection's value at more than $150,000.

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Toni Shepard worked at Mundelein High School. She died in 2000. Courtesy of Mundelein High School
  Mundelein resident Ed Rogan donated $100,000 to Mundelein High School to fund the renovation of the school's weight room. Football players thanked him for the donation at a dedication ceremony in August. Mark Welsh/
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