redbird pride

When students find themselves attending the first public university in the state of Illinois and one with a history that stretches 161 years, it’s kind of incredible to see the magic that comes along with it.

On Saturday, The Vidette held its biennial Hall of Fame banquet. Students, faculty, staff members and alumni came together to celebrate the contributions former Videtters have made in the news, photography, design, advertising and marketing industries.

This year’s inductees were all student journalists during their time at Illinois State University and found their passion for their eventual careers at The Vidette.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes Jim Kirk, editor of the Los Angeles Times, Mitch Pugh, editor of The Post and Courier, Sally McKee, managing editor of the Peoria Journal Star, Bryan Bloodworth, former Pantagraph sports editor, and Tony Andracki, senior digital producer for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

In previous years, The Vidette Hall of Fame has welcomed Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, Alex Reside, senior digital photo editor for GQ and GQ Style, Kristen McQueary, a member of the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board, and Jay Blunk, the Blackhawks executive vice president.

Just looking at the titles and organizations these alumni hold or are part of is something that should make every Redbird, not just ones related to The Vidette or School of Communication, proud.

The Vidette is not the only organization on campus to have such wonderful people in its family. The School of Theatre and Dance has an impressive lineup of alumni who have gone on to see their name in big lights and on big and small screens worldwide. Notable actors include Jane Lynch (“Glee,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird,” “Roseanne”), Gary Cole (“Veep,” “Office Space”), Craig Robinson (“The Office,” “Pineapple Express”), John Malkovich (“RED,” “Burn After Reading”) and Cloris Leachman (“The Last Picture Show,” “Malcom in the Middle”).

We also can’t forget about the athletes that have come out of ISU Athletics and accomplished impressive feats in their respective sports. From Doug Collins, who was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, to Cameron Meredith, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, Redbirds are everywhere.

We all knew coming to ISU would be special. We would make friends for life, have new experiences we wouldn’t get anywhere else and learn more about ourselves.

What we all didn’t realize was the history we would get to enjoy during our time on campus. We each can say we “got our roots” at the same place so many of our notable alumni did.

But more than just basking in the high-power positions and fame these alumni have achieved after graduation, their accomplishments show us we can make our wildest dreams come true, and we should all be proud to call ourselves Redbirds.

Whether you are approaching graduation in just a few weeks or still have years to enjoy, take in everything available to you at ISU. Maybe some of us will be lucky to hold positions like these alumni, but we’ll all be able to say we’re part of ISU’s ever growing magic.

EMA SASIC is a senior journalism major and Editor-in-Chief and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column or The Vidette can be sent to vidette_esasic@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @ema_sasic.

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