URBANA — Five pioneering central Illinois residents tell their stories on the WILL-TV weekly program "Illinois Pioneers," broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays starting this week. The series opened this season on Sept. 5.
This Thursday, "Illinois Pioneers" host David Inge talks to Tim Nugent, whose trailblazing program at the University of Illinois changed the way disabled students went to college.
Nugent believed that veterans injured in World War II should be able to take advantage of the GI Bill to attend college. He built ramps in his garage and proved that these students, if given an opportunity to access classrooms, could succeed academically.
Jennifer Roscoe will be featured Oct. 10. She has entered central Illinois living rooms for 20 years as a reporter and news anchor at WCIA-TV. In her interview with Inge, she talks about her career — and about finding her biological mother earlier this year.
On Oct. 17, Guy Little talks about his role in bringing 175 famous singers, comedians and actors, including Betty Grable, Kitty Carlisle, Tab Hunter and Robert Conrad, to central Illinois for productions at The Little Theater on the Square in Sullivan. He tells stories about cooking for Grable and working with temperamental actress Ann Sothern.
On Oct. 24, Jim Edgar, who served two terms as Illinois governor, explains how his attitude about women's issues was shaped by being raised by a widowed mom.
"I had a great deal of respect for my mother and what she went through," said Edgar, now a distinguished fellow in the UI Institute of Government and Public Affairs. "I had a little more sensitivity to women's issues than the average Republican."
Honest about his own "healthy ego," Edgar said he started out as an aide to Illinois Senate President Pro Tempore W. Russell Arrington but really wanted to hold elected office.
On Oct. 31, Inge talks to Claudia Quigg, founding executive director of Baby TALK in Decatur, who has led the way for professionals dedicated to supporting families of young children.