University News

Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter with 1949 WIU Graduate Pete Fulks, the first "The Purple Chair ... In the Studio" guest, at Western's Veterans Day ceremony. A WWII pilot, Fulks flew the fabled P-51 Mustang until he was shot down behind enemy lines on his 18th mission. He spent 65 days working his way through Yugoslavia and back to allied territory.
[Download Print-Quality Image]

"The Purple Chair ... In the Studio" Debuts

December 11, 2015

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL -- The University Television original program, "The Purple Chair," hosted by Western Illinois University Director of Donor Relations Amanda Shoemaker, has a new addition, "The Purple Chair ... In the Studio," which will feature a variety of interviews hosted by Shoemaker and other WIU staff. The first "In the Studio" production features 1949 WIU Graduate and WWII Pilot Pete Fulks.

Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter sat down in the studio with the 95-year-old Fulks, of Littleton (IL), last month to talk to the war hero about his experiences flying the fabled P-51 Mustang until he was shot down behind enemy lines on his 18th mission. Fulks spent 65 days working his way through Yugoslavia and back to Allied territory. A member of the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame, Fulks played both baseball and basketball for the legendary Rock Hanson. During the "In the Studio" interview with Bainter, Fulks reflects about Hanson, his time at Western, his service in the U.S. Air Force and more.

"It was an honor and a privilege to interview Pete. He is an outstanding individual and a true Leatherneck through and through," said Bainter.

After graduating, he began a lifelong career in education that culminated in serving Rushville High School as its principal until his retirement in 1980. His life and career were honored with Pete Fulks Day in Rushville at his retirement and Col. Ray "Rock" Hanson was the featured speaker.

Fulks' "In the Studio" interview can be seen on local cable Channel 3 (Comcast subscribers) and Channel 9 (MTC subscribers). The interview will air at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 6 p.m. Dec. 16 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Additional show times for the Fulks "In the Studio" interview will be scheduled. Stay tuned to cable Channel 3 for new "In the Studio" interviews featuring alumni, faculty, staff and local personalities.

"The Purple Chair" made its screen debut March 18, 2013. While the show does have some focus on the guest and his/her background, what makes this program unique is it's designed for the viewer to learn more about a particular topic, such as fitness, peace, motivating yourself, cyber-bullying and more. The show has featured such guests as Joe Decker, a 1998 WIU kinesiology graduate and "The World's Fittest Man." Decker, the owner of Gut Check Fitness in California, described his journey into the world of fitness; Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, talked about how to achieve peace in today's society; WIU President Emeritus Al Goldfarb discussed the Holocaust; Kirk Hanlin, WIU alumnus and assistant chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service discussed environmental and agriculture sustainability; and WIU Professor Emeritus and Horn Field Campus Founder Frank Lupton discussed the history of Horn and outdoor education.

"The Purple Chair" programs produced during the Fall 2015 semester, now airing on channels 3 and 9, include Centennial Honors College Director Rick Hardy talking about WIU's 2015 Mock Presidential Election and WIU Alumnus and "The Steve Harvey Show" Producer Jock Hedblade talking about the world of television. Previous shows continue to air periodically, as well.

Phil Weiss of University Television, and Shoemaker, produce "The Purple Chair" and "The Purple Chair ... In the Studio."

For University Television programming, including "The Purple Chair," visit, and click "here" in the TV guide section. To obtain the complete UTV listing, change cable provider/location to Comcast or MTC depending on your cable carrier.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations