The McKendrean Magazine - Summer 2022

Where are they Now?

Have you ever wondered what your favorite retired faculty and staff members are up to these days? Now you can read up on how the people who formed your life at McKendree are doing in our all-new “Where Are They Now?” feature!

In each issue, we will highlight an emeritus faculty member or emeritus staff member. For our very first installment, we decided to check in with both an emeritus faculty member and an emeritus staff member.

Read on to see what David Ahola, retired professor of political science, and Jane Weingartner, retired director of gift planning, have been up to lately!

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Dr. David Ahola: Retired Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences (2003)

Dr. David AholaDavid’s former students more than likely remember the intriguing and immersive global trips his classes would take during his 35 years of college teaching, including Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia and more. While the pandemic has impeded his travels, David has been able to check off a few places from his bucket list since retiring in 2003, including Machu Pichu, Cuba and the Great Pyramids. “Cuba turned out to be a fascinating tour! I went with a colleague of mine and we toured the whole island,” he said. “I think interacting with other people from different cultures is so important.” As for the other countries on David’s bucket list, one will find the Philippines, more of Latin America, other places in Mexico and a return to Scandinavia.

David is also passionate about the environment and has been busy doing his part to make the world a better place. Last winter, he put in time and effort to help save the manatees by helping efforts to clean the water in Florida. He has also made an effort to help the loons in the Adirondack Mountains. “These kinds of environmental issues have been taking much of my time,” David said. “If all of us don’t try to do something, we’re going to be in some major trouble.” He has also involved himself in politics and has contributed to and worked for those who are concerned about the environment.

While he hasn’t been able to visit campus lately, David keeps in contact with his former students and colleagues, especially when he’s asked to speak about certain faculty members when they retire. “It’s a good way to stay connected to my colleagues and the campus community,” he said. “I have a real love for McKendree.”

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Jane Weingartner: Retired Director of Gift Planning (2004)

Jane WeingartnerJane, along with her husband, Jim, has relished the travel opportunities that retirement has given her. They’ve hiked in national parks from Maine to California, explored Philadelphia with their daughters and enjoyed vacations with extended family at the Jersey Shore. She has also hiked from the south rim of the Grand Canyon down to Phantom Ranch at the base and back to Bright Angel Lodge at the rim with her daughter, Mary.

“For our 50th wedding anniversary, we took a cruise in the Baltic,” Jane said. “A tip of the hat goes to Professors Ottinger and MacLennan, whose art classes I had taken after retirement deepened my appreciation of the art in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.”

Jane has also remained an active volunteer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edwardsville, Ill., and even chaired the 100th anniversary celebration committee and coordinated a successful fundraising effort to repair and protect the church’s stained-glass windows in 2017. “Working with contractor Emil Frei of St. Louis gave me an education on the art and techniques of working with stained glass,” she said.

While Jane’s priorities have not changed in retirement, COVID-19 has recently affected how she pursues her interests. “Masks, social distancing, virtual concerts, webinars and Zoom have brought us safely thus far, and Jim and I are cautiously moving away from restrictions,” Jane said. “I look forward to being back on McKendree’s campus soon! Meanwhile, as members of the William McKendree Society, Jim and I continue to support the University and the difference it makes in the lives of its students and the community.”