After a year thwarted by COVID, five Waterloo High School alumni are being recognized as the newest additions to the WHS Legacy Wall.
Soon, the familiar faces of Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss (Class of 1983), Andrew Frierdich (Class of 2001), Kenneth Hartman Jr. (Class of 1980), Emilie Eggemeyer Land (Class of 2003) and Robert Voris (Class of 1946 ) will be seen along the wall leading to the WHS auditorium.
The public presentation of awards will not occur until Fall 2022, at which time five additional inductees will be honored as well.
Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Throughout her life, Schaller Blaufuss has earned many titles, perhaps the most prominent being reverend and doctor.
While at WHS, Schaller Blaufuss was an all-star multi-sport athlete and exemplary student. Not only was she 1983 valedictorian at WHS, she was a thespian, chorus member, speech team standout and more.
After high school, Schaller Blaufuss took on a myriad of educational endeavors. First, she earned a bachelor’s at Westminster College, through which she spent a year abroad in London, then she attended Div. Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and Semester United Theological College in India.
In 2000, she received her Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.
She later was a faculty at United Theological College in India and other seminary programs, a pastor for several US congregations and aided refugees as a team leader for UCC Humanitarian and Development Ministries from 2014-2019. She has held many leadership positions throughout different theological colleges and programs.
Schaller Blaufuss is the author of many books and is featured in an extensive wealth of publications.
She said her days at WHS set her on the path to success.
“The exercise of looking back at my high school years and activities has reinforced that the trajectories begun during these years through leadership, speech music and athletics have continued throughout my life journey,” she wrote. “I give thanks for all the teachers, mentors and community that made these opportunities possible and meaningful.”
Since 2015, the mother of two has proudly worn the label of breast cancer survivor.
Andrew J. Friedich
Frierdich lived out the advice he often gives to others: “If you find what fascinates you – your passion – make it your career.”
Frierdich’s passion is geosciences, more specifically geochemistry.
After graduating from WHS in 2001, he went on to get a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and then a master’s in environmental science in civil engineering from the same university. In 2012, I have received a Ph.D. in Earth and planetary sciences from Washington University in St. Louis.
He is a 2014-2015 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, recipient of the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient and a current lecturer and DECRA Fellow at Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in Melbourne, Australia.
Two of his projects include: Iron Isotope Geochemistry of Jarosite and Implications for Iron Cycling in Sediments on Earth and Mars, and Unlocking Critical Material from Australian Sediments and Ores.
Frierdich is married with two children and is proud of owning a home despite his frequent relocation for work.
Kenneth Hartman Jr.
For Hartman, a popular local soybean, corn and wheat farmer, his agriculture successes date back to high school.
At WHS, I have earned multiple awards and leadership positions in the Waterloo FFA, including the Illinois FFA Star Farmers Degree and FFA Section 22 Proficiency Award – Electricity.
Since his graduation in 1980, Hartman received a Computer Programming Degree from Bryan Institute and his broker’s license from Illinois Real Estate School.
Hartman is a long-time Monroe County Farm Bureau Board member. He served as chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board from 2003-2004 and president of the Illinois Corn Growers Board from 2015-2016, with his membership of him in each organization spanning longer periods.
He has been a delegate for the US Grains Council for the past decade, and executive committee member from 2001-2005.
Outside of agriculture, Hartman is involved in the Waterloo Odd Fellows, Waterloo Rotary Club, St. Paul United Church of Christ and more.
He and his wife Anita are proud parents of three daughters.
Emilie Eggemeyer Land
In high school, Eggemeyer Land not only excelled in softball (she was named MVP in 2003), she also achieved high marks in academics as a National Honor Society member and recipient of multiple scholarships.
While earning two bachelor’s degrees at Southeast Missouri State University and her master’s at Ball State, she continued this upward trajectory in receiving many awards, many of which centered around German studies.
As such, it is no surprise that she was the Sister Cities International Representative from Waterloo to Porta Westfalica, Germany, in 2004 and private consultant in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany for the Lutheran Church through Missouri Synod International Center in St. Louis in 2007.
Much of her community involvement and awards center around historical efforts. She even conducted historical research and architecture assessments through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to examine transportation projects and their effect on historic resources.
Eggemeyer Land is a member of the Whiteside Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution and Secretary of the History Museum of Monroe County.
She resides in Waterloo with her husband and son.
Robert H. Voris
While the WHS 1946 alumnus died in 2012, Voris’ memory lives on through each weekly issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.
Voris served as editor of the Republic-Times and its predecessor, The Waterloo Republican, from 1962-92, having worked there under his father prior to that. The University of Missouri School of Journalism grad went on to become President of the Illinois Press Association and Southern Illinois Editorial Association, of which he is in the Hall of Fame.
In the final installation of his beloved column “The County Printer,” Voris reflected on 40 years of covering the Monroe County Fair, FFA banquets, homecomings, big anniversaries, elections and more.
“There’s a story to go with each one of them… happy stories, sad stories, interesting stories, boring stories,” he wrote. “Being the editor of this paper is the only job I’ve ever seriously wanted.”
Voris’ life extended beyond his journalism career. He served in Korea post World War II during the US Army Occupation.
He helped organize the Waterloo Optimist Club, of which he was named president, was president of the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, director emeritus of First National Bank and helped organize the Waterloo Park District, serving as a longtime park commissioner and leader.