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Oiler Alumni Hall of Fame

Nomination and Selection Process

The Oiler Alumni Hall of Fame was created by the Board of Education in 2009 as a way of recognizing and honoring outstanding graduates who, in their adult life, have become outstanding representatives of Wood River High. Although all of the inductees had exemplary high school successes, the Hall of Fame seeks to honor those outstanding men and women who have made significant accomplishments in their professions and through their community service. Eligible alumni are those who hold an EAWR Diploma and have been out of high school for at least 10 years.

To nominate an EAWR alumnus for the next class of the Hall of Fame, please send a letter, telephone (618-254-3151, Ext. 2502) or email to Dr. Pearson, with any supporting documents, resumes, news clippings, or any other papers which you feel might help the Selection Panel in making a decision. 

The Panel has recently met (May 2017) and announces the new Class of 2017: They are: Frank Akers (1970), Dr. Rodger Elble (1966), Dr. Jeff Etling (1982), Dr. Phil Kladar (1984), Prof. Doug Laycock (1966), Mayor Bill Magurany (posthumous - 1934), Ron Milligan (posthumous - 1962), Dr. Laura (Pulaski) Hill (1994). They will be inducted on Saturday, October 14, 2017, 6:00 p.m. in the East Building Courtyard. 

Mayor Frank Akers (Class of 1970) has had success as a broadcaster, government official and community leader. Frank’s legacy, however, will be as a mentor, coach and trainer of younger people. He served as mayor of Wood River (2015-2017), city councilman (2010-2015), and co-chairperson of the committee that developed the Wood River Aquatic Center (1982-1984). Frank led successful tax referenda campaigns for Wood River-Hartford School District 15 (1989) and Wood River Public Library (1999). WSIE radio was the bookend for Frank’s radio career from student announcer (1970-1972) to general manager (1996-2010). Frank was a news anchor for two popular St. Louis stations, KEZK and WRTH (1972-1986) with sports assignments from NBC radio. While an administrator and adjunct lecturer at SIUE (1986-2011), Frank co-founded the Student Leadership Development Program and WebRadio. He received the Students First Award and the Mass Communications Department’s Alumni Achievement Award. The president of Operation Blessing, Frank is active in Wood River Rotary. He is a former council chairperson at First United Methodist Church of East Alton. A United Methodist lay servant, he annually speaks in more than 20 worship services. A baseball coach for over 30 years, Frank was a volunteer coach at EAWR and Wood River American Legion Post 204.


Dr. Rodger Elble  (Class of 1966) is a person of signature academic accomplishment. His academic interests ranged from an aeronautical engineering degree at Purdue; to a Ph.D. in Physiology at Indiana University; and, later, to an M.D. - also from Indiana University. His long and distinguished career as a physician, medical school professor, and researcher has included the fields of neurology, psychiatry, and conducting research involving movement disorders (such as Parkinson’s Disease) as well as the study of Alzheimer’s.   Dr. Elbe has served as a Professor of Medicine at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine in Springfield, and has also served as the Medical Director in the Stroke Center and St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. He is also a prolific researcher in the field of neurology, human movement, and tremors; authoring or co-authoring over 60 articles in peer-reviewed professional journals. He has also reviewed others’ journal submissions for numerous professional and academic journals and publishers.  He also performs services as a grant reviewer for neurological research foundations; assisting those organizations in directing their funds to quality research towards the cure of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. At EAWR, Rodger was Captain of the Football Team; competed on the Track team; and was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. 

Dr. Jeff Ettling (Class of 1982) is the Executive Director of the Sedgwick County Zoo (Wichita, Kansas). Prior to that he was the Curator of Herpetology at the St. Louis Zoo for 21 years. Dr. Etling serves as an active professional fellow and has served on several committees and advisory groups with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Currently, he serves on the AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee and as an AZA Accreditation Inspector. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, with a research emphasis in conservation biology, spatial ecology, and population genetics. He has been heavily involved in his career in conservation projects. Examples are: the Armenian Viper Conservation program; the Ozark “Hellbender” Conservation program; and the study of the natural history of the Timber Rattlesnake. Dr. Etling has also led several international tours centered on herpetology study and research. At EAWR, Dr. Etling participated in track, cross-country, the Lettermen’s Club, and was a two-year member of the National Honor Society.

Dr. Phil Kladar (Class of 1984). Dr. Kladar is a highly regarded vascular surgeon and physician, having served in that capacity for over fifteen years at the Kootenai Health Clinic in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Idaho and American Medical Associations, and the Southwestern Surgical Congress. In 2014, he founded the Kootenai Vascular Clinic. Dr. Kladar graduated from the Southern Illinois University Medical School, and completed his Internship and Residency at the University of Utah Medical Center. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1988 with a major in Biology. After completing his surgery training in 1997 from the University of Utah, he was first employed in Belleville at Southern Illinois Surgical Consultants and in 2002, relocated to Coeur d'Alene. While at EAWR, Phil played varsity baseball, football (where he was co-captain), and basketball. He was also a member of NHS, Science Club, Student Council, a Coronation Escort, a Junior Rotarian, and was voted by his class as the  “Most Likely to Succeed.”


Prof. Doug Laycock (Class of 1966) had a distinguished career as professor of law at the University of Chicago, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia. He is widely recognized as the leading scholar of his generation on the law of religious liberty and also on the law of judicial remedies.  He has published several books and more than 120 scholarly articles; his many writings on religious liberty are collected in five thick volumes. Doug has won four cases in the United States Supreme Court, lost two, and filed friend-of-the-court briefs in more than two dozen others, urging the Court to protect individual liberty for both sides in America’s culture wars. He played a key role in developing state and federal religious liberty legislation. Prof. Laycock is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which honors only about 200 living lawyers, and Vice President of the American Law Institute, the nation’s leading nonpartisan law-reform organization. At EAWR, he was a successful debater, and a state finalist in extemporaneous speaking, at a time when Wood River High was a state power in debate. And, he was President of his senior class.


Bill Magurany (Class of 1934 - Posthumous). Mr. “Wild Bill” Magurany led a life of widely varied and sometimes exciting experiences and successes after his graduation from EAWR. First of all, during World War II, Lt. Magurany was a decorated veteran in the European Theater.  Serving as a tank battalion commander in the U.S. Seventh Army, he won two Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts. Second, he was a champion motorcycle racer - both before the war and through the 1950’s, riding his Harley in many regional and national races. Thirdly, he served the City of Wood River as Mayor (1973-1981) and as a City Councilman (1967-1973). During his service as Mayor and the City Council, he helped lead the City through the annexation of Glendale Gardens and supported other annexation plans; advocating for Civic Memorial Airport to be the 2nd major airport in the region; the building of Belk Park Golf Course; the construction of the new Central Fire Station and the Brushey Grove Fire Station, the proposal to re-route Rte. 143 along Madison, and the expansion of 6th St. Park. 

Ron Milligan (Class of 1962 - Posthumous) After graduating with an accounting degree from SIUE, he valiantly served in the U.S. Air Force reserves for six years. He was a member of Whitelaw Avenue Baptist Church in Wood River, where he was a Deacon, Finance Chairman, and Sunday School Teacher. Ron's later life passion was golf. Countless hours were spent on the links with Joyce and good friends. Ron retired from Christian Health Services (now BJC HealthCare) after 23 years of dedicated service. He served in many roles during his tenure with Christian Health Services where he worked his way up to Chief Financial Officer and played an instrumental role in the formation of the BJC HealthCare System. He served on numerous boards including; Christian Hospital, Christian Health Services, Alton Memorial Health Services Foundation, Alton Memorial Hospital, SIUE School of Business, and River Bend Family Ministries. He also served as President and Board Member on; Missouri Hospital Financial Association, and Sunset Hills Country Club, Edwardsville, IL. He was best known to his former boss for his belief in God first, family second, and job third.


Dr. Laura (Pulaski) Hill (Class of 1994). Dr. Laura Hill has been in pediatric practice in Alton, Illinois since 2006. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School in 2002 and completed a pediatric residency at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University in 2005. She was board certified in pediatrics 2005. Laura received her B.S at Northwestern in 1988. Dr. Hill has also been very involved in the community, both professionally and in community service. She serves on the Board of the Greater Alton Junior League; leads the VBS program at St. John’s UCC; serves as a parent volunteer in the Alton schools; and participates in on-going pediatric research at Washington University. Because of her accomplishments, Laura was named “Woman of Distinction” in the Riverbend Area in 2013. Laura is also a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics. While at EAWR, Laura was heavily involved in activities, including: Chorus and Swing Choir (including the District Honors Choir), Oilerettes, Student Council, Thespians, Science Club and Future Nurses; and was a Junior Rotarian. She was the 1994 Valedictorian and her classmates voted her “Most Likely to Succeed.”


The Selection Panel may also be contacted with any nominations for the Hall of Fame: They are: Frank Akers, Jean Bruce, Jesse Daniels, Leroy Emerick, Bob Kasten, Ray Mercer, and Leigh Robinson.

Please see the links below for information on our outstanding induction classes ...