|IASB JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE|
2004 JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Past presidents proud to be 'Old Goats'
A worthwhile tradition that has grown up around the Joint Annual Conference is a
gathering of past presidents of IASB and their invited associates, family and friends.
This small group, known as the "Old Goat's Club," gathers each year at the
conference for a luncheon and dinner.
The Saturday night dinner at the Hyatt Regency's Truffles dining room was attended
this year by 14 of the Association's past presidents. As usual at these dinners,
members of the club rose one by one, and each spoke eloquently about the history,
direction, and past and present leadership of IASB.
The first to speak was George H. Wirth (1970-71, New Athens), who recalled once
similarly rising at a family gathering in order to respond to his grandfather, a
formidable patriarch who often made it clear that he disliked a particular national
politician who had become president. Wirth said he mildly defended the nation's
president, using an old, highly successful formula: "be sincere, be brief and be
With that recollection, Wirth took a seat.
Next up was Edward C. Epstein (1972-73, Crete-Monee). He noted that IASB's first
executive director, Robert Cole, "was a founder of both IASB and the National School
Boards Association." He added "most of you probably don't know that Bob
Cole also "was captain of the United States' baseball team that visited Japan in
1920, and was captain of a football team for [legendary University of Chicago football
coach] Amos Alonzo Stagg." Under Cole's leadership, IASB grew from an
organization with 120 member school boards, to one with over 5,000 member school boards.
"I'm proud of what IASB has accomplished," since then, Epstein added.
G. Howard "Bud" Thompson (1976-77, Prophetstown-Lyndon) stated that he was a
member of the Prophetstown-Lyndon school board back when current IASB President Ray
Zimmerman first came to work there as a teacher roughly three decades ago. "And I was
board chairman when he left, but any connection between those two events is purely
coincidental," he added.
The past presidents were also treated Saturday afternoon to a luncheon in their honor
at the Hyatt Regency Board of Trade room. Not unlike previous gatherings, stories were
shared about colleagues who couldn't make it or who have passed away.
Wirth recalled the late Robert Jamieson (1969, Peoria) and his multitude of worthy
causes, and Myron Clark (1974-75, Wheaton Warrenville), who always carried a notebook in
his pocket that contained anecdotes and stories for every occasion.
Epstein also remembered the organization's decision to form the "Old
Goat's Club." The name originally proposed was "Better to be a Has-Been
Than a Never-Was."
"I think we picked the right name," he said.
Other past presidents attending the luncheon and/or dinner this year included Jonathon
Howe (1978-79, Northbrook), Joan Levy (1984-85, Winnetka), Wayne Sampson (1986-87,
Morton), Barbara Wheeler (1988-89, Downers Grove), Nancy Elson (1990-91, Canton), Robert
Reich (1992-93, Bourbonnais), Stanton Morgan (1994-95, Bismarck-Henning), Jay Tovian
(1996-98, DuPage County), E. Jerald "Jerry" Eiffert (1999-2000, Mt. Zion),
Dennis McConville (2001-02, Dimmick), and Christy Coleman (2003-2004, Geneseo).
Guests at this year's events included current NSBA president George McShan, former
IASB executive director Harold "Hal" Seamon, and former head of the education
administration at Illinois State University Ben Hubbard. Also participating were current
IASB officers, president Ray Zimmerman and vice president Marie Slater, and IASB staff,
executive director Michael Johnson, assistant to the executive director Pat Culler,
communications director James Russell, and director of editorial services Gary Adkins.
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