The Clinton Community School District and the Clinton High School Hall of Honor Committee are proud to announce the 2020 Hall of Honor Class. The inductees are Joan Beck, Denise Dudley, Roberta Fenlon, Wes Golden, Andy Grotelueschen, LuLu Johnson, Jeanette Gehrmann Petersen, and Charles Toney.
Chairperson of the Hall of Honor Committee, Dennis Duerling, stated “the second class of the Clinton High School Hall of Honor is a strong follow-up to the inaugural class. This class, in particular, demonstrates the effect of Clinton High School graduates on breaking barriers in terms of race and sex. The committee also pleased to recognize alumni that excelled in community and military service, along with a nominated Tony actor.”
Joan Beck (CHS Class of 1941) was a staff writer and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. She served as a pioneer for women in the journalism field from the 1950s through the 1980s. Beck was the first woman to sit on the editorial board of the Tribune. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University and joined the Tribune in 1950. Beck was credited for moving coverage from fashion, cooking, and beauty tips to social issues such as adoption, foster care, education, working women, and medical research. In 1961, she took over the popular “You and Your Child” column which ran twice weekly in the Tribune and was nationally syndicated. The response to her work was overwhelming, averaging more than 1000 letters per week. Beck also wrote several books, including “How to Raise a Brighter Child” which was published in 1967, translated in eight different languages, and now is in its 18th printing. She passed away in 1998.
Denise M. Dudley is a professional trainer and keynote speaker, author, business consultant, and founder and former CEO of SkillPath Seminars, the largest public training company in the world, which provides 18,000 seminars per year, and has trained over 12 million people in the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Denise holds a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology, a hospital administrator’s license, a preceptor for administrators-in-training license, and is licensed to provide training to medical professionals in the United States and Canada. She’s also a certified AIDS educator, a licensed field therapist for individuals with agoraphobia, and a regularly featured speaker on the campuses of many universities across the US, and the author of Simon and Schuster’s best-selling audio series, “Making Relationships Last.” Denise speaks all over the world on a variety of topics, including management and supervision skills, leadership, assertiveness, communication, personal relationships, interviewing skills, and career readiness. Denise’s latest book, “Work it! Get in, Get noticed, Get promoted,” is currently available on Amazon.com, and is receiving all 5-star customer reviews.
Roberta Fenlon (CHS Class of 1929) earned her Bachelor of Science from the Iowa State University and Master of Science in bacteriology from the University of Iowa Medical School. Fenlon moved west to do her internship at San Francisco General Hospital and her residency at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Fenlon entered private practice in internal medicine in 1945 and maintained offices in San Francisco for 42 years until her death. She was the first and only woman president of both the San Francisco Medical Society and the California Medical Association. In 1964, Fenlon became the first woman elected to the California Medical Council and became president in 1971. She was the first woman to serve on the board of directors of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, long-time director of the Public Health League, and a director of Blue Shield of California. In 1980, Fenlon received the University of California in San Francisco Charlotte Baer award for outstanding contributions to teaching. She received similar honors from the American Society of Internal Medicine, Heart Association, and San Francisco Examiner. Fenlon died in 1987.
Wesley Golden (CHS Class of 1990) has earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree in Geosciences from Mississippi State University, and a Doctorate of Education in Teacher Leadership from Northcentral University. Golden returned to Clinton High School in 1997, and taught for 20 years in the science department. He also began serving in the Iowa Army National Guard in 1997. As a Company Commander in 2003, Golden served in Baghdad, Iraq, and was deployed for over 15 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received the Bronze Star Medal and his unit was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Citation. In 2010, Golden was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was selected as a Battalion Commander. His battalion deployed for one year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012, to Mazar i Sharif, Afghanistan. His responsibilities included managing logistics for 18 separate NATO and non-NATO nations. He received a second Bronze Star Medal and his Battalion was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation. In 2016, Golden was promoted to Colonel and was assigned as a Brigade Commander. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and earned a master’s degree in Strategic Studies in 2017. He currently serves the school district as the Director of Learning and Collaboration.
Andy Grotelueschen (CHS Class of 1998) attended Marquette University majoring in theatre in 2002. After achieving his master’s degree in theatre from Brown University, Grotelueschen and his fellow theatre classmates launched a new theatre company in New York City called the Fiasco Theatre. Fiasco Theatre offers actor-driven productions and after a decade of success, Fiasco Theatre is a company-in-residence at Broadway Roundabout Theatre. Grotelueschen has had small parts in television shows (Elementary, The Good Wife), commericials (Mastercard, Papa Johns, and Lenovo Computers), movies (Coin Heist), as well as two roles in Broadway plays (Cyrano De Bergerac and Tootsie the Musical). In May 2019, Grotelueschen earned a Tony nomination for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical”.
Lulu Johnson (CHS Class of 1925) was the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in the state of Iowa and the second ever in the history of the United States. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa before receiving her master’s degree in history for a thesis entitled “The Negro in Canada, Slave, and Free.” Johnson taught history and politics at Talladega College (1930-31) and at Tougaloo College (1931-40). She worked intermittently at the University of Iowa throughout the 1930s on a PhD in history. In 1941, Johnson successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, (The Problem of Slavery in the Old Northwest, 1787-1858.” Johnson faced discrimination during her time at the University of Iowa, including being forced to take a swim class as a requirement of her doctorate, even though she was enrolled in the history PhD program, and was not allowed to use the university swimming pool at the same time as whites. Johnson went on to teach history at historically black colleges such as Floriday A&M University, West Virginia State College, and Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. At Cheyney, Johnson served as a professor of history and a dean of women students. She passed away in 1995.
Jeanette Gehrmann Petersen (CHS Class of 1953) has a vast history of volunteering for many Clinton area organizations over her lifetime. Petersen has been on the Sarah Harding board for over 25 years. She also was active on the following committees or organizations: Felix Adler, Balloons in June, the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, Police and Fire Retirement Board, Municipal Transit Administration, Civil Service Commission, Wa-tan-ye, the Jane Lamb Agatha Circle, the River Bluff Community Foundation of Clinton, and the League of Women Voters in Clinton. Petersen served as the precinct chair of the Clinton County Democrats of the second ward from 1960-1980. She was on the Clinton County Historical Society and was the chairperson of “Living History Day” for seven years. In 1980, Petersen received the YWCA Woman of Achievement award.
Charles Toney (CHS Class of 1930) was a national leader in equal opportunity efforts, programs, and results. He initiated one of the first voluntary affirmative action plans in the nation with goals and timetables used at John Deere prior to those which later became mandatory under federal laws. Toney established and instituted local secondary programs such as Quad City Scholars, Home Grown Engineers, and Quad City Merit Employment Council. At John Deere, he was the first welder of color in Iowa or Illinois. In 1972, Toney was promoted to Manager of Minority Relations and then became the first African American at an executive level when he was appointed Director of Affirmative Action. Toney became known throughout the Midwest as the Dean of Affirmative Action and was respected locally, regionally, and nationally for his leadership in this area. He passed away in 2009.
The mission of the Clinton High School Alumni Hall of Honor has been established to recognize those who attended Clinton High School and have distinguished themselves in their careers, communities and personal lives. These individuals are held up to Clinton students as examples of citizenship and success.
The induction of the 2020 Hall of Honor will be in conjunction with the Academic Awards night scheduled for April 17, 2020.