Teach education alumna celebrates 101st birthday on campus

October 11, 2012

The Peoria Journal Star reports that Corabelle Chuse '35 turned 101 on Oct. 6 and chose to celebrate the momentous occasion at Bradley. A graduate of the teacher education program, Chuse's connection to the Hilltop runs deep, as several of her relatives have also graduated from Bradley. To read the story on the Peoria Journal Star website visit here.

Bradley employees celebrate alumna's 101st birthday

By LAURA NIGHTENGALE of the Journal Star

PEORIA — Corabelle Chuse arrived Friday afternoon on the campus of Bradley University proudly sporting a red overcoat in homage to her alma mater.

"She always wears Bradley red," said Chuse's great-niece Ann Marie Mohr.

Chuse, class of 1935, visited campus with several family members on the eve of her 101st birthday.

Bradley employees surprised Chuse with a cake decked with roses made of icing inscribed, "Happy birthday to our special alum, Corabelle Chuse '35."

After a rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung by Bradley representatives and family, Chuse skipped the cake, opting for a look around her former school.

After growing up on a nearby farm, Chuse got a degree in education before taking over as teacher in a one-room schoolhouse.

"I taught all four grades at the beginning," Chuse said.

Chuse recounted her time as a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, eating lunch on the third floor of the education building and swimming laps in the university pool.

She was joined by niece Dorothy Vallosio of Morton, class of '49; her husband, Pete, class of '48; her great-nephew Ivy Renga of Milford, Mich., class of '65; his wife, Pam, and her great-niece Mohr, class of '84.

"This just kind of blossomed. We wanted to bring her by," Pam Renga said of the birthday celebration. "It just kind of took on a life of its own."

The group checked out the alumni center before braving the cool and rainy day for a walk through campus led by a student guide, which Chuse enjoyed from her wheelchair.

Since the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center opened about a year ago, more than 12,000 alumni and guests have visited the facility.

"To celebrate the special moments in an alum's life is really what the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center is about," said Pat Vickerman, vice president for advancement at Bradley.

When Vickerman and Chuse said goodbye, she accepted his invitation to come back next year when she celebrates 102.