Building a Center
Sports/Entertainment/Event Management (SEE) major,
sophomore Brittany Ellingson, a non-traditional
student and graduate of the Chicago School of
Massage, parlayed a spot as a volunteer into a job
with the U.S. Paralympics para-cycling team and
trips to Italy and England.
For her hospitality program community service
requirement, Ellingson opted to assist at a U.S.
Paralympics booth for the National Wheelchair
Basketball competition in March 2009 at the Gold
Crown Foundation in Lakewood, Colo. While there,
she met the coach of the U.S. para-cycling team and
asked if they needed massage therapists. She sent him
her résumé and was offered a chance to serve as a
soigner (French for “caregiver”) at the Olympic Training
Center in Colorado Springs. When an athlete on
a hand cycle was injured, Ellingson took him to the
hospital and served as liaison to the team.
Her performance won her an invitation to the
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) para-cycling world
road championships in Bogogno, Italy, in September
2009, and Manchester, England, in November 2009.
“These athletes train for months in adverse conditions,
are very dedicated, are disabled and they win medals, beat personal bests in competition, break
world records and become world champions. And I
was there,” she says excitedly. “I’m not only fortunate,
I’m more than grateful.”
In November 2008, SEE major Jessica Alley sent an e-mail inquiry to the World Cup Lacrosse
Web site, to ask about volunteering. The response —
World Cup would pay for everything but the flight.
She jumped at the opportunity.
The JWU junior spent two weeks in Prague,
Czech Republic, assisting with event planning for the
10-day Women’s World Cup Lacrosse tournament.
She helped with event set-up, take down and anything
else that needed to be done. During the tournament,
Alley was one of the key statisticians for the games.
“For two weeks, I was able to see a new part of the
world, tour Prague and meet many female athletes
from many countries,” she says. It opened a door
to future prospects. In February, Alley headed to
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to work the
Winter Olympic Games via Clean Event.
Image: Brittany Ellingson, far left, joined U.S. Paralympics paracycling team staff and athletics taking in the sights in Bogogno, Italy, when they weren't vying for a gold medal.
Cooking Up a Dream Delayed
At 71, Harry Faircloth is the oldest student on campus, and as spunky as any. Faircloth
grew up with 24 aunts and uncles in Louisiana —13 of whom were adopted by his
grandmother. He learned to cook at nine of his “aunts’ apron strings.” Yet his path to the
College of Culinary Arts has taken many a twist
Faircloth studied geology at Louisiana State University in the late 1950s. After graduation,
he sold encyclopedias door to door, sold commodities in San Francisco, moved to
Denver 34 years ago to sell metals to the U.S. arsenals, and was president of a land acquisitions
company before becoming president of Whitehall Financial Corp. for six years.
Last year, he decided with adamancy, it was time to do what he’d always wanted: cook.
In summer 2009, culinary dean, Jorge de la Torre, met with Faircloth and advised
him to look at other programs elsewhere. The culinary component of JWU’s Garnish
Your Degree program was grueling, de la Torre warned. Faircloth took it as a challenge.
He looked, but returned to JWU. Sold by the high standards of professionalism he encountered
with the staff, he also liked the fact “that you could eat off the floor.”
Faircloth loves learning here and taking what he’s
learned from watching his aunts to his own kitchen.
“These kids keep me young,” he says proudly of his
classmates. Making the dean’s list with a 3.8 GPA is
another source of pride.
It’s rumored that his wife made him come to school
to learn to cook for her, but he’s quick to dispel the
notion. His dream is to work in a test kitchen to refine
products. “If this piece of my dream doesn’t work out,”
he laughs, “then I’ll cook for my wife.”
Image: With the ever-present twinkle in his eye, Harry Faircloth poses
with his chef-instructor, Kristen Cofrades.
“The potential our students have when they leave campus and place their roots in a community is limitless. The women and men who graduate enter places and businesses around the world where they are the leaders of tomorrow.”