Robert Falls (BFA '76 Theatre)
Robert Falls is artistic director of Chicago's renowned Goodman Theatre. Under his tenure, the Goodman has been marked by extraordinary artistic achievement and hundreds of accolades and awards—among them a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, a Pulitzer Prize for Lynn Nottage's Ruined, and being named top regional theatre by Time magazine. During Falls's tenure, the Goodman also planned, constructed, and moved into its state-of-the-art, two-theatre complex on North Dearborn Street. Recently dubbed "Chicago's most essential director" by the Chicago Tribune, Falls has staged over 35 productions at the Goodman.
John Loomis (BLA '77 Landscape Architecture)
John Loomis's 40 years of experience encompass a wide range of project types, including mixed-use urban developments, institutional and corporate campuses, retirement communities, themed entertainment attractions, and green architecture. Extensive project experience in Japan provided him with an understanding that we can influence, as well as be influenced by, cultures other than our own to great success and reward. Many of his projects, including the award-winning California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park, contain living roofs or on-structure gardens promoting sustainable design in urban contexts.
Michael Toolis (BS '74 Architecture, MArch '76 Architecture, MBA '77 Business)
Michael Toolis has spent the past 40 years practicing architecture with specific expertise in hospitality and workplace design. During his career, he built and managed VOA Associates, a 350-person international design firm headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York; Washington, DC; Orlando; Beijing; Shanghai; and São Paulo. The firm's expertise included health care, defense industry, residential, hospitality, workplace, and higher education settings and received over 300 awards for design excellence. He believed in continuous improvement and strove to have the best design firm in the world before it was acquired by Stantec.
Erin Corine Johnson (BMus '10 Music)
Erin Corine Johnson is a multigenre flutist, a bilingual vocalist, an educator, and a cultural diversity advocate based in Madrid, Spain. She performs a mixture of classic soul, funk, traditional gospel, and delta blues combined with influences from Spanish flamenco, Afro-Caribbean folklore, and various traditional and popular music styles from South America. Johnson continues to work toward the establishment of her social project, Project Afro(–), and its accompanying music and arts network, The Black Music Exchange, dedicated to facilitating cultural exchange, providing authentic native instruction, and, ultimately, building new artistic bridges between Spain and North and South America.
Yvette Mayorga (BFA '14 Art and Design)
Yvette Mayorga is an interdisciplinary artist who uses confection, industrial materials, and the American board game Candy Land as a conceptual framework to juxtapose the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. The spaces in the "candy lands" of her work relate to immigrant utopian visions of the American Dream. The smell, decoration, and personal photographs in her work serve to critique the glut of violence at the border. Mayorga has exhibited her work internationally and has been featured in the Guardian, Chicago Magazine, Teen Vogue, Hyperallergic, and a cover story for the Chicago Reader.
Barbara Hundley retired from the University of Illinois in 2007 after serving as associate chancellor and vice president of the Alumni Association. In that role, she worked around the world developing international alumni clubs and was introduced to Japan Illini Club, with which she felt an immediate fondness. As she was looking for a way to give back to the university after retirement, she found the perfect opportunity at Japan House. From being a proponent and supporter though the Tomonokai program (Friends of Japan House) to assisting at events to leading tours, she has been an essential element in keeping the mission alive.
Robert Kleinschmidt (BS '63 Architecture)
Robert Kleinschmidt joined the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in 1964. In 1976 he left SOM to establish the firm of Powell/Kleinschmidt Inc., based in Chicago and specializing in interior architecture and space planning. A pioneer in modernist interior architecture and an avid art collector, Kleinschmidt has defined midcentury interior design in North America with his work in Chicago. In addition to his longtime generous support of Krannert Art Museum, Kleinschmidt's philanthropic endeavors include serving on the board of the Mies van der Rohe Society and restoration work on the Mies van der Rohe buildings at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has also been engaged with the River North Dance Chicago benefit committee in assisting and securing auction items for its annual gala.
Don Molnar (BFA '60, MLA '64 Landscape Architecture)
After graduating from Illinois, Don Molnar practiced at Simonds and Simonds, one of the foremost landscape architecture firms in the 20th century, working on designs that balance environmental and community concerns. In 1964 he left private practice to return to the University of Illinois for nearly two decades as a campus planner. In 1971 he coauthored Anatomy of a Park, a groundbreaking text in the discipline that has been continuously in print for 48 years. Later he served as chair of the landscape architecture program at Purdue, making an equally deep impact on that campus and programming by developing a cooperative internship program that has successfully placed over 600 graduates in careers all over the country.