The sleepy central Illinois town she grew up in had all of 300 residents at the time.
So, “you can imagine what it felt like to be at an institution where some of the classes were larger than my hometown,” says the pride of New Holland, Rochelle Funderburg (JD ’81).
This was the ’70s, before the Charles E. Merriam Scholarship recipient would earn her bachelor’s and law degrees from the UI and embark on a legal career that’s included stints with the city of Champaign (1988-96) and Meyer Capel (ever since).
As a UI freshman, “I signed up for French, and the first semester was good, but the second semester was terrible — the TA had just gotten out of the French army, according to the university, and was not in a good place.
“I had to drop the class and sign up for another one late into the semester. I ended up in a French literature class taught by a professor who let me into the class late, helped me catch up, and was generally very kind to me.
“Because so many years have passed, I can’t recall his name off the top of my head, but I can picture him very plainly and will never forget what a difference that made, coming to the university and finding someone who went out of their way to help me — he was a real gentleman in the true meaning of the word.”