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'Old Goats' Pay Tribute to Wayne Sampson

An honored tradition at the Joint Annual Conference is a gathering of past presidents of IASB and their invited associates, family and friends. This small group, informally known as the "Old Goat's Club," gathers annually for a luncheon and dinner at the conference.

Dinner at the Hyatt Regency's Truffles dining room on Saturday night was attended this year by 10 of the Association's past presidents. Members of this club of past presidents rose one by one, and each shared a thought or two about the history, direction and leadership of IASB past and present, with special attention this year to the passing of one member.

Many recalled and celebrated the accomplishments of IASB's recently former executive director and past president, Wayne Sampson, who died July 21.

"It is a privilege to see (Mrs. Wayne) Jan Sampson here," noted former president Marie Slater. "Wayne was a great leader and a tremendous man. I remember that Wayne wrote me the most wonderful letter on being nominated for president…a beautiful letter to encourage me, and I never forgot that kindness," Slater said.

Newly elected IASB President Joseph Alesandrini offered up testimony, as well and said he will be missed, as did new Vice President Carolyne D. Brooks.

"Wayne sat by me at a division dinner meeting in Albion and before we ate he just said a prayer. To me that said a lot about the man," Brooks noted.

"My best contribution to the Association was hiring Wayne Sampson," added Harold "Hal" Seamon, referring to the addition of Sampson to the staff as lobbyist in 1979. "He was just a great asset to this organization, and a better person." Seaman was IASB's executive director from 1973-1989, when Sampson succeeded him.

The first to speak at the dinner was George H. Wirth, who foretold financial trouble on the horizon. "Illinois' debt is equal to 47 percent of the state's annual budget," he warned. He also decried the fact, cited in a recent Newsweek article that America is falling behind many other industrialized nations in terms of the development of its intellectual capital, as shown on international tests.

Wirth said the nation needs to send schoolchildren to class for more days, noting that the top-performing nations require many more than the 180 days of attendance that is the norm in this country. He concluded with a tip of the hat to the Old Goat's Club, stating: "This has been one of the most wonderful associations of a lifetime."

G. Howard "Bud" Thompson, also complimented the club. "Our granddaughter is here again tonight, and the influence of this group is one of the reasons she went into teaching - she is now in her third year at Oakwood High School as a math teacher."

Thompson reminisced about his years as president, and recalled, for instance, that he purchased a new suit for his trip to Chicago one year but was chagrined when he walked into the lobby of the conference headquarters hotel and found that all the hotel waiters were wearing the same suit.

Past president Joan Levy agreed with Thompson that the Old Goats need to "continue to carry the torch" to help maintain institutional memory for IASB. "I'd especially like to thank (IASB Assistant to Executive Director) Pat Culler for keeping this group together," Levy said.

Also attending were IASB Executive Director Emeritus Michael D. Johnson and NSBA President C.H. "Sonny" Savoie of Louisiana.

Past Presidents attending the dinner included:

  • George H. Wirth (1970-71)
  • G. Howard "Bud" Thompson (1976-77)
  • Jonathon T. Howe (1978-79)
  • Joan Levy (1984-85)
  • Robert Reich (1992-93)
  • Stanton Morgan (1994-95)
  • Dennis McConville (2001-02)
  • Ray Zimmerman (2004-05)
  • Marie Slater (2006-07)
  • Mark C. Metzger (2008-09)

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