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2013 IVCC-LPO Hall of Fame inductees

Four individuals and a pair of teams were honored at the Illinois Valley Community College Foundation’s sixth annual IVCC-LPO Hall of Fame induction ceremony Jan. 26, 2013 in La Salle-Peru Township High School’s Matthiessen Auditorium.

Inductees were retired English instructor Ed Krolak, former nursing division chair Carole Caresio Haas, Chairman of Carus Corporation Blouke Carus and Caterpillar Director of Global Product Validation Jim Blass, an IVCC alumnus. In addition, the 1987-88 and 1988-89 IVCC men’s basketball teams were inducted together.

After teaching at La Salle-Peru High School in the 1960s, Krolak taught at IVCC from 1969 to 1994. A highly-respected English and literature instructor, Krolak taught in England in 1987 as part of the Fulbright Exchange Program.

A sought-after speaker and lecturer, he has given presentations at dozens of libraries, schools and civic organizations on topics ranging from Illinois Valley history, to literature, to poetry and the English language. In 2012, he was the homecoming speaker at his alma mater, Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Haas, the former Carole Caresio, taught nursing at IVCC beginning in 1975 before being named Director of Nursing. Leading the department until 1996, Haas was a renowned advocate for associate degree nursing in Illinois and IVCC’s graduating classes routinely earned one of the state’s highest pass rates on the National Association of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX).

Carus’s connection to IVCC traces back to the mid-1960s when he chaired the Illinois Valley Community College Committee (IVCCC) – the group largely responsible for establishing the college at its present Oglesby location. An electrical engineering graduate of Caltech, Carus holds seven patents and helped modernize the manufacturing process for potassium permanganate at Carus Corporation in La Salle, a world leader in that process.

Carus and his wife Marianne founded Cricket Magazine in 1972. There are now 14 children’s magazines with two million readers across the world. A volunteer and major contributor to numerous local community organizations in the Illinois Valley, he founded the Illinois Valley Fine Arts Trust to fund numerous area arts organizations.

Blass earned his mechanical design technology degree from IVCC in 1975 and that same year went to work for Caterpillar where he was promoted through 13 positions and held 14 U.S. patents before being named General Manager of the Aurora and Peterlee, England, plants in 2007.

Under his leadership, the Pontiac Fuel System Facility attained Caterpillar’s 5-star cleanliness rating, the highest rating ever awarded a production operation. Before he left the Aurora plant in 2012, the facility received the highest Employee Engagement ratings in its history, the highest quality levels and the 2011 Chairman’s Safety Award.

The 1987-88 and 1988-89 teams are being honored together because the teams shared many of the same stars: Mark Cooper, John Freeman, Adrian Hutt, Chris Daniels and Corey Akers – and the same Dean Riley-led coaching staff.

The 1987-88 team finished 27-9, won the college’s first Region title in 29 years and captured third at the Division II National Junior College Athletic Association championships at University Center, Mich. – the highest finish in school history. Daniels was Region IV tournament MVP and Riley won Region IV Coach of the Year for the N4C conference co-champion Apaches (12-2).

Returning five of its top six players, the 1988-89 squad earned the nation’s regular season number one ranking by winning 23 straight en route to an undefeated N4C run (14-0) and overall 30-2 record, best in IVCC history.

Together, the teams won 22 straight N4C games, 23 straight at home and finished with a combined 57 wins against just 11 losses. Riley’s 12-year record at IVCC was 234-118.

For information, call (815) 224-0253. For a listing of all IVCC-LPO Hall of Fame inductees from 2008 through 2013, visit www.ivcc.edu/halloffameinductees.