In 1874, Bloomington High School held its first graduation ceremony. Since then, thousands of students have graduated from the school and many have gone on to achieve great success. Our former graduates include Nobel Prize recipients, Emmy Award winning directors, artists, Ivy League professors, professional athletes, best selling authors, State Senators and Fortune 500 presidents. Go You Raiders!
Elizabeth Murray '58, Murray is considered to be "one of the most important postmodernist abstract artists of our time." Murray has exhibited extensively for the past three decades. Her works may be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. BIO with video | Interview describing inspiration at BHS
Sarah Rousey '00, is a professional billiards player and the youngest female to be admitted into the Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA). Rousey is often in tournaments that are broadcast on ESPN2. WPBA link with Bio.
McLean Stevenson '46, McLean Stevenson wrote comedy bits for Tommy Smothers and was a minor player on TV sitcoms in the 1960s, but it was his stint as Lt. Col. Henry Blake in the Korean War sitcom M*A*S*H (1972-75) that made him famous. As played by Stevenson, Blake was a goofy, not-too-efficient commanding officer in a lure-covered fishing hat. M*A*S*H was one of TV's top-rated shows for more than a decade, but Stevenson left the CBS series after three seasons to sign a long-term contract with NBC. Stevenson also guest-starred in shows such as Square One TV, The Love Boat, Diff'rent Strokes, Match Game, Hollywood Squares, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. His screen credits include the Disney movie The Cat from Outer Space.
Bill King '45, was the radio voice of the Oakland Athletics for twenty-five years (1981-2005), the longest tenure of any A's announcer since the team's games were first broadcast in Philadelphia in 1938. Prior to joining the A's, he had been the radio play-by-play announcer for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders football team and the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors basketball team for many years.
Ed Rust '68, Chairman & CEO of State Farm Insurance Cos.
Fay Bentley '15, was appointed to the Juvenile Court Bench in Washington D.C. by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She was one of our nation's first federally appointed female judges. Bentley was also a member of the White House Conference on child health and protection.
Minnie Saltzman-Stevens was born in Bloomington in 1874 and graduated from the 10th grade at Jefferson School in 1888, where her mother, Mena was the janitoress and where they both resided in the basement. Saltzman-Stevens was acclaimed in both Europe and America as a great artist of the operatic stage. Her stunning debut in England, at the Covent Garden in 1909, caused even the orchestra to leap to its feet in ovation. Saltzman-Stevens returned to repeat her triumphs as a member of the Chicago Opera Company. Her voice had a range of four octaves and Saltzman-Stevens always referred to it in the third person, as "the voice." Helen Keller was a fan, as was Florence Fifer Bohrer. Unfortunately, World War I put a temporary end to performances of Wagner in Europe, and Saltzman-Stevens retired and never returned to the stage.
Paul Rhymer '25, created and wrote the comedy, Vic and Sade for NBC. It was the most popular radio series of its kind, reaching 7,000,000 listeners in 1943, according to Time Magazine.
Judy Markowitz, former Mayor of the City of Bloomington.
C. Virgil Martin '25, former Chairman & CEO of Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. Martin also served as President of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce from 1972-1973.
Nancy Koehn '77, professor/author at Harvard Business School, where she teaches the MBA elective in business history, The Coming of Managerial Capitalism, one of the School's most popular courses. She has appeared on "Good Morning America," CNBC's "Moneywheel," "Nightly Business Report," and "Street Signs," "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," A&E's "Biography," CNN's "Money Line" and many other television programs. She is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio. Bio
John Waddell '59, Broadway vocal coach and actor.
Ron Bess '64, CEO, Chicago and Canada Euro RSCG Worldwide, one of the world's leading advertising agencies. Ron Bess is responsible for the management of company's Chicago-based and Canadian organizations, as well as marketing services companies located in 5 other U.S. cities. In his previous role as CEO of Y&R Advertising New York, Ron held management responsibility for Campbell’s, Cadbury Beverages, NFL, Pella, Kraft, Met Life, Fisher Price, and Burger King.
Ryan Schau '94, former offensive lineman for the Houston Texans and the St. Louis Rams.
Clinton Davisson 1902, Nobel Prize winner in the field of Physics in 1937 for his discovery of electron waves. In 1927, Davisson and Lester H. Germer found that a beam of electrons, when reflected from a metallic crystal, shows diffraction patterns similar to those of X rays and other electromagnetic waves. This discovery verified quantum mechanics' understanding of the dual nature of subatomic particles and proved to be useful in the study of nuclear, atomic, and molecular structure. More info HERE.
Dr. Suzanne Hurst '89, professor of Child Psychology at Brown University.
Suzanne Tick, '76 creative director of KnollTextiles, NYC. Tick's work has appeared on HGTV and in the Chicago Tribune, Metropolitan Home magazine (May 2002). In 2003 she was nominated as one of three finalists in product design category for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards. Tick has been named by Metropolitan Home magazine as one of twenty-one noteworthy designers to watch in the 21st Century. Bio.
Roger Young '60, director for the television miniseries, The Siege at Ruby Ridge and Jesus as well as several movies. His latest, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story, stars Dean Cain as Scott Peterson. Young began his career in television directing episodes of Lou Grant . His work on that series earned Young the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Direction in both 1979 and 1980, and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction of a dramatic series in 1980.
Kathy Gregor Poris '76, writer for Readers Digest magazine.
Sidney Smith, (attended through junior year) was the creator of the Gumps comic strip for the Chicago Tribune. It was a popular strip right from the start. There, it attracted national attention among newspaper feature editors, a great many of whom wanted the strip for their own papers. Soon as the strip achieved national distribution, the merchandising kicked in. Sheet music in 1919 and 1923, a board game in 1924 and a proliferation of toys were only a few of the Gumps paraphernalia that could be had. On June 5, 1920, Andy's Dancing Lesson, the first of dozens of animated cartoons about the characters, was released. In 1931, The Gumps became the very first comic strip adapted into a radio show, when Chicago station WGN began broadcasting their adventures. Bio. more.
Wally Bishop '24, was the creator and illustrator of Muggs and Skeeter a popular comic strip that ran in newspapers from 1927 to 1974. Mr. Bishop worked briefly for an advertising agency in Chicago until King Features syndicate awarded him a contract at the age of 19. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Mr. Bishop was a founder of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, a member of the National Cartoonists Society.
Jim Bennett '60, award winning young adult author. Bennett's books include The Squared Circle, I can Hear the Mourning Dove and The Flex of the Thumb.
Carol Fosher Chase (aka Kate Charles) '68, best selling mystery writer. Charles' most recent book was released March 9, 2007 and is titled, Secret Sins.
Baker Smith '82, award-winning director of television commercials for Direct TV, Lipton Iced Tea, Volkswagon, Nike, and the Got Milk? campaign. Harvest Films.
Cris Jones '79, Supervisor, Professional Baseball Umpire.
Hollis Zortman '85, engineer for Boeing Aircraft.
Pamela Page '74, Violinist for the San Jose Symphony.
Frank Hartenstein '57, Broadway stage production manager currently involved in the Dracula, the Musical. Hartenstein's credits also include The Who's Tommy, La Boheme, 42nd Street. Bio
Tim Bradstreet '85, freelance illustrator for Marvel and DC Comics and conceptional designer for the movie, Blade 2. He recently designed the album cover Iron Maiden's Matter of Life and Death. Bio
Carol McGrew Cox '69, U.S. Open/Wimbledon Line Judge.
Major Gordon Lillie 1879 was also known as "Pawnee Bill." After graduating from BHS, Lillie ran away from home to the Indian Territory, where he later worked for Buffalo Bill. He eventually left Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to run his own show, known worldwide as "Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show." The show operated from 1888 to 1913 and gained success throughout Europe and the U.S. His former ranch is now known as the "Pawnee Bill Ranch site" and is operated as a museum by the State of Oklahoma. More.
K. David Jackson '62, Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies of Portuguese at Yale University. More
Chalmers "Bump" Elliott '43 , named Michigan's 13th head coach in 1959, Elliott holds the rare distinction of both coaching and playing for Big Ten and Rose Bowl championship teams during his football career as a Wolverine. He directed the 1964 Michigan team to a 9-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon State, 34-7. Elliott was three-sport letter winner for Purdue in 1943 as a Marine trainee. Following his military service, Bump joined his brother Pete at Michigan in 1946. In the Wolverines' national championship season of 1947, Elliott was named All-American and selected as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player. More
Pete Elliott '44 , besides quarterbacking Michigan's 1948 national champions, Pete became the only Michigan athlete to earn 12 letters - in football, basketball, and golf. He played on four championship teams, two in football, and one each in basketball and golf. He came to Michigan in 1945 as a Navy trainee, starring as a runner and passer. Shifted to quarterback, his blocking and defensive strength became invaluable. Later he served as head coach at Nebraska, California and Illinois, and later enjoyed success in the building business and as a sports commentator.
Pete Wofford '77, journalist for Travel & Leisure Magazine.
Tim Romani '80, project manager for Denver's Invesco Field (former Mile High Stadium) and the Pepsi Center.
Billy Dicken '94, Quarterback for the Columbus Destroyers.
Karen Castricher Skeels '90, film producer.
Ron Reynolds '49, president of Advantech Computer, Corp.
Patrick Morrissey 1879 Morrissey would later become the Assistant VP of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. He was often summoned to discuss labor issues with President Theo. Roosevelt. Source
John Garbe '90, senior design engineer for Intel Corp.
John Bernstein '81, producer for Broadcast DVD.
Cliff Schrock, author/assistant managing editor for Golf Digest Magazine and author of several books.
Kris Slava '69, Emmy Award winning producer and VP of Programming and Scheduling for TRIO cable station.
Cynthia Mancinelli '70, Violinist for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
Kathleen Butler '72, professor at Thomas Cooley Law School. Bio
Charles "Chaunce" Conklin, founder of Goodfield's The Barn II Dinner Theatre.
Katie N. Post 1876 Post graduated from the University of Pacific Medical Department (later the Cooper Medical School) in 1879 and was one our nation's first licensed physicians. She practiced in Virginia City, Nevada (a booming mining town) and later married a Van Orden and practiced in California. Source also, BHS' The Alumni Aegis 1905.
Kenneth Raisbeck '16 Harvard graduate and playwright who wrote the Broadway play, "Rendezvous."
Lizzie Irons 1879, graduates from BHS and becomes a court reporter for the Pantagraph. She left her job to move to New York City and would later receive the Society of Arts and Sciences O Henry Award in 1924 her for Short Story, "Towers of Fame." The story appeared in the August 1923 issue of McLure's magazine. At the time, she was writing under the name, Eizabeth Irons Folsom.
Russel Shirk 1937, founder of BEERNUTS®. In 1937, Arlo Shirk, 1936 (Russel's brother), and his father Edward G. Shirk purchased a small confectionery store in downtown Bloomington and with it, the recipe for a special glazed peanut. Called the Caramel Crisp Shop, the business sold glazed nuts, popcorn, peanut brittle, caramel apples, and orange drink. The ancestors of today's BEER NUTS Peanuts were known as "Redskins" because they were prepared with their red skins intact. Shirk occasionally packaged "Redskins" for the National Liquor Stores in Bloomington. The product sold well under the label "Shirk's Glazed Peanuts." Shirk teamed up with a local distributor to see how the product would sell, the first target being taverns and bars in the nearby community and surrounding areas. It was then that the product was officially dubbed "BEER NUTS" Peanuts and the now well known trademark was registered. Beer Nuts site