University News

PAS Presents Annual Awards During Gala

May 18, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – The annual Performing Arts Society awards were presented during the group's May 7 gala event in Macomb.

This year's awards include:

Ruth Watts Distinguished Service Award, named for the former executive director of the Macomb Downtown Development Committee and the first executive director of the PAS, recognizes special service to the PAS.

- Recipient: WIU Music Professor Emerita Charlotte Megginson, who served on the PAS board for nearly 20 years. She served as chair of the PAS membership committee and was called an "integral part of the growth and success" of the organization. "Her passion for the Performing Arts Society is unwavering – even through a pandemic that forced all of our activities online, Charolette didn't miss a beat. She will say the Performing Arts Society is part of her heart and soul. We say Charolette will always be part of ours."

William E. Brattain Distinguished Service Award, named for the former WIU Associate Vice President for Student Services and director of the University Union for over 24 years, recognizes special service and a lifetime of dedication to the arts in general.

- Recipient: WIU Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Professor Emerita Gayle Tronvig Carper, who has been the driving force for the Gazebo Arts Festival and the annual Art and Gift Market at the Macomb Arts Center. "She is a staunch supporter and encourager of all artists (performing and visual.) She is particularly encouraging of anyone who is new to the arts no matter what their age. The home she shares with husband, Tom, is filled with art created by local artists. Both Tom and Gayle have supported the arts and artists for as over 50 years. Gayle exemplifies a lifetime dedication to the arts."

- Recipient: WIU Music Professor Emeritus John Cooper is an extremely talented jazz artist and composer, who served as the director of Jazz Studies until his recent retirement. "Cooper is visible in the Macomb community as a performer at numerous events throughout the year and is a founding member of the Post 6 Big Band. John and the Post 6 Big Band recently established a new scholarship in Jazz Studies in honor of their good friend, Jeff Holtz. John has dedicated an enormous amount of his time and talents to the Performing Arts Society by writing and composing shows for the Youth Performing Arts Series. Thousands of school aged children have now been introduced to WIU Jazz because of the talent and dedication of Dr. John Cooper."

Community Service Award, which recognizes individuals for their unwavering support of the arts over several years.

- Recipient: Eric and Dr. Karen Blakeley have been instrumental to the success of WIU Art and Design's Rocky on Parade, a public art project that celebrates the University's traditions, strengthens the unity of campus and community, contributes to the economic vitality and quality of life in Macomb and supports the Rocky on Parade Department of Art student scholarship. "Not only have the Blakeley's loyally sponsored a Rocky dog statue since the beginning of Rocky on Parade in 2013, they have also volunteered their time and resources to allow all of the rocky dogs to be displayed in the Homecoming parades."

- Recipient: Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator Jeremy Robinett, of the WIU Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. "Jeremy volunteers his time to be involved in all projects and events that directly support the Macomb and WIU community. Whenever the Performing Arts Society has approached Jeremy about fundraising event ideas, he has jumped on board and offered his expertise with no hesitation. Jeremy serves on the Performing Arts Society Brewer's Event committee, in addition to his involvement in Rotary, the Macomb Park District, and the Macomb Community Mural Project. We are so thankful for Jeremy's support of the arts in our community."

Corporate Salute, presented to a local business and/or inter/national corporation for outstanding corporate support.

- Recipient: Forgottonia in Macomb supports not only PAS, but the arts in general. "They regularly host musicians and School of Music faculty for entertainment. In 2020, they hosted Professor John Cooper and fellow jazz musicians for the premiere of 'The Governor of Forgottonia.' Their focus is on doing good in the community, serving those in need, local farming/food, and local community art."

For more information on the PAS, visit

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