With their final semester at a close, this spring’s Commencement saw a sea of undergraduates ready to embark on a brave new chapter. Bringing a fresh perspective from his highly successful and varied career was Bradley’s newest honorary degree recipient, five-time hall of fame national championship coach and sports marketing wizard Steven Miller ’66 HON ’23.

Table of Contents


5 min.
Valerie Carlson ’93 turned an early interest in graphic design into leading a global marketing agency as its chief creative officer.

5 min.
Suzanne Howton Johnson ’89 works for one of the country’s largest food manufacturers. Now she wants to teach you all about flavor.

10 min.
Working one of the most dangerous jobs in the world — commercial fishing in Alaska
— led this alum to fight for public policy changes as a conservation advocate.

10 min.
Carl Bernacchi ’95 M.S. ’97 and his team at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are helping crops adapt to extreme conditions.

3 min.
Danielle Guerin ’12 planted a community garden in an underserved area of Indianapolis.

Campus News

Alumni News



Three skills learned at Bradley and identifying a moose’s friends were on our reader’s minds this issue.


My story is complex. I barely got accepted into Bradley and had no study skills, which resulted in me being academically dismissed. However, the first skill I learned is not giving up. After changing my major to theater, I got back in and flourished as an actor. I learned how to think on my feet and improvise my thoughts, which honed my
skills in sales.

I also learned to be part of a team by seeing everyone pull together for the show’s success no matter how small a part or role they played in the production. Lastly, Bradley taught me loyalty to the university. I met my wife there and have many friends to this day from my fraternity and the theater dept. Thank you for the opportunity to voice
my experience.
David Zacher ’72


How to Explore Peoria in 11 Weeks
This student group showcases the city’s fun amenities with weekly off-campus events.

Learning How to See Things Differently
Students learn the importance of typography in professor Jae Chae’s foundational course.

Two Thumbs Up: Brandon Towns Reviews Your Favorite Movies for
A budding filmmaker since 8th grade now has his eye on bigger projects.

From Parent Volunteer to South Side Legend
This former Peoria educator took a nontraditional path to acclaim, paving the way for a street named in her honor.

How Foreign Regimes Infiltrate Your Favorite Sports
A Bradley golfer and honors student looked at the latest example of “sportswashing”

From left to right: Jones, Standifird, OSF HealthCare CEO Robert Sehring and Chief Medical Officer John Vozenilek.
Community wellbeing

Bradley Partners with OSF HealthCare to Solve Pressing Health Problems

Bradley has joined with OSF HealthCare to create the Innovation for Health (IFH) partnership, aimed at generating research that can translate into practical solutions to improve individual and community health.

The IFH partnership will connect Bradley faculty with OSF clinical researchers and will leverage the university’s expertise in numerous areas among its five colleges. It will commit $1 million for each of the next five years to provide annual funding opportunities in the fall and spring for innovative, interdisciplinary projects addressing important health care challenges in the Peoria and surrounding areas.

“We want to foster innovation and creativity through collaboration and build powerful alliances that can help each organization,” said President Stephen Standifird. “Bradley’s faculty represent curious, industrious and socially conscious individuals who have an entrepreneurial mind-set.

“Together, we can explore solutions to some pressing needs in health care. In addition, our strategic plan embraces the contributions of each of our colleges and units. They can facilitate learning experiences for our students that will benefit the broader Bradley community while advancing thought provoking, practical and interdisciplinary scholarship.”


What better way to relieve the pressures of finals and finishing year-end projects than to pet a cute baby goat? Students enjoyed a fun session of goat yoga on Alumni Quad in early May.


Petrovich to Lead Fundraising Efforts

President Stephen Standifird appointed Jason G. Petrovich vice president for advancement, effective Jan. 30. In this role, he provides strategic oversight and management of the university’s comprehensive development and alumni engagement efforts and priorities.

Petrovich previously served Valparaiso University as associate vice president for advancement since 2012. During his tenure, he built and led a team of advancement professionals through Valparaiso’s most successful campaign in its 163-year history.

“This is an exciting time to join the Bradley family,” said Petrovich. “It’s a place to call home that aligns with my values and a place where I can join others in accomplishing meaningful work. I’m looking forward to engaging with our alumni, friends and leadership to implement President Standifird’s vision for Bradley.”


New Programs Create Exciting Career Paths

Starting this fall, several new degrees offer students a foundation to modern careers with access to collaborate and create with other Bradley programs.

Corporate Finance Bradley’s new corporate finance major explores markets and investments while teaching the tools professionals use to make high-level business decisions. You can specialize in different financial areas and gain marketable experience through a senior capstone project.

Personal Financial Planning Personal Financial Planning prepares students for a career in assisting and advising individuals in personal wealth management, insurance and personal banking. You’ll graduate with the skills to earn the Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation.

Music for Video Games Collaborate with game design majors while you develop proficiency with music software and recording technology; you’ll also learn how to compose for film and television, marketing and advertising, and animation.

Child Life Science Become a certified child life specialist (CCLS) and aid children and families maneuvering through the pediatric health care system. You’ll intern at a local children’s hospital or youth services organizations for hands-on experience working with infants, youth and families.

Ed.D PreK-12 Education Administration and Leadership (PEAL) If you aspire to be a school administrator or superintendent, this online doctorate is for you. You’ll gain skills to navigate finances, human resources, union negotiations and ethical issues within a PreK-12 school district.

Ed.D Educational Technology Online learning is a growing field, and this doctorate — also taught online — will teach you skills to build and deliver online education programming based in technology, instructional design and experiential learning.


Refreshed Brand Debuts with
New Ads, Website and More

Bradley University has a new look and feel!

The new branding, which officially launched May 3, has new advertising, a new homepage and updated design elements that give campus materials a more cohesive look and feel. Its theme is “Be You,” which originated from how Bradley offers the experiences, tools and resources to be one of a kind.

“Bradley University is home to the boundary breakers, the new thinkers, to a symphony of unique voices, stories and people who want to change the world,” stated the brand manifesto, which articulates an organization’s purpose. “Bradley University doesn’t mass produce professionals; it provides students the opportunity to grow into their chosen life path and purpose through its five colleges and hundreds of majors.”

“The most exciting part about this is we’re finding the best way to tell all the great stories Bradley has to offer in a unified voice,” said Teri Lucie Thompson, interim vice president for marketing and communications. “We wanted to build an effective and inspirational platform that shows how Bradley is better, different and special. We’re excited about what’s been done and look forward to sharing it with the world.”


Questions with

Tanya Marcum


It’s opened my eyes to what first-year students need to have. Because I didn’t have any mentors when I was in school, I try to be a mentor for the students and really explain my assignments and expectations. I think that’s valuable. Our first-generation students, they’re not even sure what office hours even are. I had to explain to them, ‘It means you can come in. My door’s open. Come see me.’ They require a little bit more care because they’re unsure of themselves a little. I have to address some of that imposter syndrome and try to make them feel comfortable to be curious in the classroom.


Sea Sparkle and the Red Tide

It’s not a funky band name, but the culprit that causes erosion in marine life.

Using bioluminescent organisms to generate photographic light, “Watershed Triptych” illustrates how pollutants are contaminating the three largest watersheds in the U.S. The organisms, known as sea sparkle, generate red tide algae blooms that have increased in the last 30 years and have proven harmful to marine life. This photorealistic image, created by photography professor Margaret LeJeune, landed her the honor of being named the first Woman Science Photographer of the Year by the Royal Photographic Society.
“As a marriage of conceptual photography, painterly mark-making, and scientific exploration, these images capture the beauty of this unique light source, exploring the quiet evidence of energy and decomposition in nature along with the threats humans pose to even microscopic life in the Anthropocene,” she said.


Spice up Your Summer Reading List

In a sizzling rom-com book series based in Chicago and a fictionalized version of Peoria, a cast of characters find lust and love with unlikely partners. These modern-day, make-believe heartthrobs and heroines are the creation of Bradley journalism professor Sara Netzley, who goes by the pen name Sara Whitney. You can check out her “Cinnamon Roll Alphas” books and her new “In the Doghouse” series at


A Historic Season

for Men’s Basketball

The entire Bradley men’s basketball roster was not born the last time the program achieved the level of regular season success it did in 2022-2023. But the players didn’t show the weight of that 27-year title drought on a magical 2022-2023 campaign that featured extended winning streaks and huge home crowds. Led by two Dutch forwards, a 5th-year senior off the bench and strong guard play, Bradley captured the first Missouri Valley Conference title since 1996 and captivated a university and city in the process.

“For all the fans that have been coming
all year: We love you. And for all the newbies
that came today, bandwagoners: I love you, too.
Keep coming out. We need you next year.”

— Coach Brian Wardle


Carl Bernacchi ’95 M.S. ’97 and his team at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are helping crops adapt to extreme conditions.




A groundbreaking research team
adapts crops to face the extreme
conditions wrought by climate change.

By Thomas Bruch
All photos courtesy of Carl Bernacchi

During the agricultural growing season, Carl Bernacchi ’95 M.S. ’97 and his team of researchers toggle between multiple field-based research projects at his plant biology laboratory.

The growing season is all about conducting experiments in the field: making as many measurements on the crops in the lab’s research plots and harvesting as much data as possible. Some experiments require Bernacchi and his team to start conducting research before daybreak, going leaf-by-leaf, plant-by-plant, to take measurements for up to 17 hours a day.

Bernacchi analyzes the impact of climate change and rising carbon on crop species important to the Midwest. Along with working as a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), he also runs a research lab in his capacity as a plant biology professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


in three easy steps (and help your neighbor too!)

When she saw her neighbors struggling to find food, this Bradley grad stepped up by kneeling in the dirt and growing produce

By Jenevieve Rowley-Davis
All photos courtesy of Kelley Schuyler

Step One: Start from seed

Farming among the lush mountains of Cameroon in west central Africa, Danielle Guerin ’12 realized something that would reframe her life forever: She had grown up smack-dab in the middle of a food desert.

Designated as such due to limited availability of affordable and nutritious food, such deserts fail to provide for the food insecure.

“It’s a systematic thing … Policies have been enacted by governments that hurt neighborhoods and remove access,” she said. “Whether it be not having bus lines, not having good enough jobs in neighborhoods or even not building those neighborhoods to appeal to corporations that could sell their food there, food deserts are a thing that is being created.

From Small-Town Girl to Globe-Trotting
Executive, Valerie Carlson has Conquered
the Digital Frontier.

Her time at Bradley — as a student and then teacher— provided the perfect foundation for success.

By Emily Potts
All photos courtesy of Valerie Carlson

At Critical Mass, Carlson
has worked on campaigns
for big brands like Nike, BMW
and Peloton, among others.
Critical Mass materials with tshirt, booklet, and advertisements on street
“I do this work because I love people and I learn so much from my colleagues.”
— Valerie Carlson

When Valerie Carlson ’93 studied graphic design at Bradley, technology was in its infancy. Desktop publishing was transforming the way we worked, and AOL was the dominant platform on the world wide web with its famous, “You’ve got mail,” notification. As it turns out, Bradley was also a tech innovator.

“I was interested in computers and technology, and Bradley had one of the first Mac labs in the country,” Carlson said. “It was a very progressive graphic design department when I entered it in the late ’80s.”

She quickly became adept with the digital design tools and started working as a professional graphic designer and illustrator as a student. Fast forward 30 years, and she now serves as the global chief creative officer at Critical Mass, a worldwide digital design and marketing agency with 11 offices.



Some pretty unexpected elements end up in your favorite foods. Find out what tempts your taste buds from a flavor chemist.

By Emily Potts
All photos courtesy of Suzanne Howton Johnson
Illustrations by Salli Swindell

If you’ve eaten something today, unless it’s fresh produce, chances are you’ve eaten something that’s flavored by McCormick & Company, Inc. Their products are everywhere — in restaurants and the grocery aisle. In fact, popular brands like Lawry’s, French’s, Frank’s RedHot, Old Bay and Zatarain’s are owned by the food giant.

As vice president R&D Europe and Consumer R&D Americas, Suzanne Howton Johnson ’89 is responsible for all of the consumer products that fall under the company’s brands. She went from analyzing foods to understanding flavor and then formulating flavors for food and beverage companies to now helping consumers flavor their own food.

Will hackman is
reframing climate
conversations to
make it personal,
because saving
the planet
is about us.

From commercial fisherman to political fundraiser
to climate activist and public policy change maker,
Will Hackman ’07, has perfected the art of the hustle.

By Emily Potts
All photos courtesy of Will Hackman

There are many of us who say we’re passionate about the environment, but when put to the test, very few have taken it to the extreme Will Hackman has. As a conservation advocacy expert at The Pew Charitable Trusts for the past decade, he has been on the front lines of establishing real change.

In this role, he helps advance public policy solutions that make a difference against some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, such as domestic and international ocean conservation efforts, public lands conservation across the western U.S. and Alaska, and climate change.

alumni news

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class notes

Lacing up the skates and donning the red Bradley hockey sweater runs in this family’s blood! Jim ’92 and Laurie Rotolo Albanese ’91’s son, Dominick, is in his first year at Bradley. He made the Bradley club hockey team last fall. By all accounts, Jim and Dominick are the first father-son duo to play the sport for Bradley.

bells & rattles

Chad McCarty ’17 and Adrianna Arvia ’18, Sept. 10, 2022. Between them is Chad’s grandfather, Robert Gruba ’59.


Ken Goldin ’64 M.A. ’72, business manager, emeritus, died March 7, 2023, at 86. His 54-year career with Bradley included stints as the director of housing and director of auxiliary services before retiring in 2012 as the university’s business manager. Affectionately nicknamed “Moose,” he was a popular figure in the alumni community and arranged tour groups at basketball games with alumni. Goldin and his wife established a scholarship fund for Bradley students.
Wear your Bradley pride on your sleeve. Find your fit at the Bradley University bookstore 830 north elmwood Peoria, IL 61625
You made a difference! On April 19, you generously gave $442,563 for Bradley University's Day of Giving. More than 700 of you participated in this year's Day of Giving. That means more students will be able to pursue their unique educational dreams because of you. That means you celebrated those faculty and staff who made a difference in your life. Thank you for changing the lives of the next generation of Bradley students. It's not too late–you can still make an impact with your gift. Contact Shelley Smith 309-677-3091,,

Alumni Association Events

JULY 22 Cubs vs Cardinals Game Chicago Join the Chicago Regional Alumni Network (RAN) for some baseball! Pre-game gather will be hosted at Cubby Bear. Tickets go on sale June 1.

Sign up here.

AUGUST 4 Brat Fest Peoria Brat Fest is back! Join us in support of this fundraising event for the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter (CIBAC) scholarship. For more information, follow the Bradley University Alumni Association on social media.

Sign up here.

SEPTEMBER 29-30 Homecoming / 50th Reunion Peoria Come home to your alma mater and enjoy our annual Homecoming traditions. There’ll be the Lighting of the B, reunion for the class of ’73, the Homecoming soccer game and much more!

  • Visit for details and registration.
  • Office of Alumni Relations at (309) 677-3565 or (800) 952-8258.
Lasting Connections 1. Arch Madness March 2-5, 2023
There were lots of Bradley fans in St. Louis for the Arch Madness tournament in March.
2. Basketball Pre-game: UIC January 23, 2023
Bradley fans gathered at a party before men’s basketball took on UIC.
3. FIJI Pig Dinner March 25, 2023
Phi Gamma Delta Beta Pi alumni and chapter members held their annual Frank Norris Pig Dinner.
4. Spring Training March 19, 2023
Alumni in Arizona cheered on the Cubs.
5. Omega Psi Phi 75th Reunion April 14-15, 2023 Omega Psi
Phi members presented a $50,000 check to President Standifird for the Omega Psi Phi student scholarship at their Gala celebration.
6. Football Reunion April 21-22, 2023
Bradley football alumni shared memories and viewed special memorabilia during their reunion.

Alumni Authors



Stories From the Road

Working with colorful characters taught John Mathis ’87 an important lesson: All roads lead back to Bradley.

While a student at Bradley in the mid ’80s, my FIJI fraternity brothers and I watched “Caddyshack” endlessly. If someone would have told me back then that one day I would direct Chevy Chase in a television commercial, I would have said, “No way. Not me. Not a kid from Oklahoma who grew up in Peoria. Not possible.”

As the director, producer and owner of Rocketmail Productions, I love what I do, because every job is different. Over my career, I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of celebrities, including John Madden, Magic Johnson, Hulk Hogan, Troy Aikman, Dana Carvey and many more. Each one of them was a unique experience.

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