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Irl Engelhardt

Irl Engelhardt

Energy executive | Peabody CEO, 1990-2005 | Class of 1968

Future Peabody Energy CEO Irl Engelhardt didn’t have to look far for inspiration when he arrived on campus in the mid-1960s.

“The University Library hallway housing the Bronze Tablets gave me a much-needed shot of confidence in 1964," he says.

"As an impoverished, small-town guy with no exposure to college life, I was forced to work two jobs to pay college and living expenses. As my freshman year progressed, exhaustion and the need to send money home to the family were taking their toll.

"The University Library became a study haven for me, and that shot of confidence came when I saw my cousin’s name on a bronze tablet in its hallway.  

“My experience at Illinois, plus an MBA from Southern Illinois, gave me the confidence and foundation to become the chairman, CEO or board member of a number of energy companies plus chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

"Now, I’m back in that same small town working with my son to make the family farm successful and to help make the community a better place.”