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Town & Gown award recipient John Hallwas and Macomb Mayor Mike Inman
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WIU President Guiyou Huang and Sharon Lindahl, who accepted the Honorary Alumnus award on behalf of her husband, Tate Lindahl
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Hallwas: Town & Gown; Lindahl: Honorary Alumnus (Posthumous)

November 4, 2022

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MACOMB, IL -- To recognize their service to Western Illinois University and/or the Macomb community, WIU English Professor Emeritus John Hallwas and the late Tate Lindahl received the 2022 Town & Gown Award and the 2022 Honorary Alumnus Award, respectively, during the annual Town & Gown celebration Nov. 3, hosted by the WIU Alumni Association.

Hallwas: Town & Gown Award

A noted public scholar, Hallwas, who graduated from WIU in 1967 and 1968, joined the English faculty in 1970. He retired in 2004 after 34 years of teaching American literature, nonfiction creative writing courses and intellectual history. Additionally, he served as an archivist at the Malpass Library from 1979 until his retirement; however, he remains an active participant and contributor to Archives and Special Collections at WIU.

A nominator said, "The common link between all areas of Dr. Hallwas' contributions is the focus on the common good for all members of the WIU and Macomb communities.

"Dr. Hallwas celebrates our accomplishments through his writings by reminding us and informing those outside our community of the historical contributions of WIU," they added. "Dr. Hallwas is an unfailing champion of power and promise of a well-rounded university education. He is a friend of the University and our community."

Through the years, Hallwas has brought historical and cultural insights to the people of Illinois and the Midwest through a wide range of publications, lectures and workshops focused on literature, history, community life and creative nonfiction. The most widely published professor in Western's history, he is the author or editor of 30 books related to Illinois history and literature, including such titles as "Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition," "Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois," "The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America" and "Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers." He has also written various plays based on Illinois history. Since the mid-1970s he has written hundreds of articles on Illinois history and literature, for journals, magazines and newspapers. Hallwas has written articles or book chapters on more than 100 authors from Illinois, and over the years, he has spoken in 150 Illinois towns on a wide variety of Illinois-related historical and literary topics. Hallwas has won more than two dozen awards for his writing, speaking and civic activities, and he continues to work as an Illinois historian, public educator and community activist.

"Dr. Hallwas' distinguished record is beyond astounding. His contributions to his alma mater, as well as the region, the state and beyond could fill pages," said Amy Spelman, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations. "He represents all that is Western Illinois University, both literally and figuratively. His knowledge and expertise related to our institution's and region's histories are incredible, and his service and commitment to education and public service is truly the Leatherneck way."

He has served as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, the WIU Foundation Board, the Library Leadership Board and Phi Kappa Phi. Hallwas also received the WIU Distinguished Alumni and Alumni Achievement awards for his many contributions.

The Town & Gown Award is presented to an individual who has provided exceptional service in continuing the partnership between WIU and the Macomb Community. Previous recipients of the Town & Gown Award include Jeremy Robinett (2021); Stan Clayton (2019); Joe Roselieb (2018); Duke Oursler (2017); John Nelson (2016); Tom Claudon (2015); Todd Lester (2014); Bill Howard (2013); Tom Carper (2012); Mick Wisslead (2011); Lin Stults (2010); Jerry Cremer (2009); John Maguire (2008) and Charles Gilbert (2007).


Tate Lindahl: Honorary Alumnus (Posthumous Award)

WIU Administrator Tate Lindahl passed away Oct. 29, 2020. Lindahl came to Western in 1967 as part of a team charged with design and implementation of computer use for administrative purposes, as well as for research and instruction. Previously, he had taught statistics at Kansas State University, been a systems engineer for IBM, chaired the math department at Black Hawk College (BHC) and established BHC's data processing curriculum. During his 23 years in academic computing at WIU, he authored three textbooks and co-authored a fourth on computer programming, and was instrumental in the evolution of computer use by faculty and students. He retired in 1990.

Throughout the years, Lindahl and his wife, Sharon, were avid supporters of the performing arts and other initiatives at WIU, and in 2011, the Lindahls arranged for a seven-figure bequest in Tate's estate plans to assist in the maintenance of the Center for Performing Arts on the Macomb campus. A longtime supporter of the arts at Western, Lindahl began his tradition of generosity by giving artwork to the University in the early 1980s. Five Rembrandt prints, considered the most valuable items in the WIU Art Gallery's permanent collection, were gifts from Lindahl. He has also contributed works by Georges Rouault, Gatja Rothe and Francisco Goya.

Lindahl supported artwork conservation initiatives at the WIU Art Gallery, the Honors College and scholarships, and many community initiatives including the Al Sears Jazz Festival.

"Tate's gift for the Center for Performing Arts is the most humble gift I've ever witnessed — he did not want a naming opportunity; he just simply wanted to support maintenance of the facility," said WIU Foundation Executive Officer Brad Bainter.

"Nothing would be better than to present this award to Tate, even though he would not have liked being the center of attention and preferred to stay in the background," Spelman added. "While he wasn't a WIU alumnus, he dedicated his life to Western and was a true Leatherneck through and through. He was a humble man, and he loved WIU. It's an honor to present his wife, Sharon, with this posthumous honorary award."

The Honorary Alumni Award is presented to an individual who is not a WIU graduate but who has provided exceptional service to the WIU community. Previous recipients include Bill Howard (2021); Dr. Kenneth Wright (2019); LaVern McEntire (2018); C. Don Weston (posthumously, 2017); Jeff Mabrey (2016); Garry Johnson (2015); John Biernbaum (2014); Dan O'Neill (2013); Lisa Ward (2012); Al Goldfarb (2011); Gil Belles and Marion Blackinton (2010); Bob Anstine (2009); Jack Stites (2008); Bill Brattain (2007), Marilyn Johnson (2005); Donald Dexter (2004); Mark Martin (2003); Mel and Judy Kerr (2002); Charlene Callison (2001); Ed Holzwarth (2000); Donald S. Spencer (1999); Laura Kent Donahue (1998); Cathy Early (1997); Dick Miller (1995) and Dennis Iversen (1994).

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