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Fred Moyer

Fred Moyer

Principal architect | Moyer Associates | Class of 1960

Fred Moyer’s name isn’t supposed to be here — amidst the Bronze Tablet honorees on the library wall.

Just ask the valedictorian from his old high school.

"When I enrolled in the University of Illinois more than half a century ago, the university’s status as a land grant school allowed any resident of the state of Illinois to be given entry," says Moyer, now a Chicago architect. "There was no requirement of high scores in any admissions tests and no high school ranking requirements.

"However, if the freshman year did not result in a successful performance, there was no sophomore year or any other year to follow.

"My best friend in high school, who was the class valedictorian, gave me his opinion of what lay ahead of me. He said, 'Fred, you’re going to flunk out of the U of I.'

"I had every reason to believe he was right. Other than spending a great deal of time in art and music, academics had not been my interest in high school. So, I hit the pavement running in Champaign-Urbana.

"It was a fullcourt press driven by the fear that it was going to be a short-lived experience. I was enrolled in architecture, known in those years for losing half of its freshman class by the end of the first year.

"To my surprise, and I’m sure everyone else’s, at the end of the freshman year I was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, the freshman academic honorary society. Buoyed by this unlikely outcome, the regimen of the first year was continued through the next four — it was a five-year program — and was concluded with Bronze Tablet membership and a fellowship to the graduate school at Princeton.

"But something else happened in that last student year at the U of I for which 'memorable' is not a sufficient term.

"The College of Fine and Applied Arts decided that a student council should be formed with representatives from each of it academic programs, at that time including architecture, music, art, dance and landscape architecture. The goal was to foster greater communication between the disciplines. I was selected by architecture to be its representative.

"It turned out that the representative sent from music was the pretty girl who played flute in the Regimental Band, sitting opposite from me around the horseshoe where I played clarinet. Today, I tell our kids that she was always winking at me but she tells them that wasn’t true.

"The greater communication that resulted from the FAA Student Council includes our four adult children, nine grandchildren and an extended family of 22.

"Thank you, College of Fine and Applied Arts."