Five distinguished former Waterloo High School students have been chosen as the sixth class for the WHS Legacy Wall.
This year’s honorees are Justin Blandford (WHS Class of 1995), Curator of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion and former head of state historic sites in Springfield; David Hoffmann (WHS Class of 1986), CEO for Dunkin’ Brands (Dunkin’ Donuts) and President of Dunkin’ U.S.; Jordan Bartlebaugh (WHS Class of 2009), who conducted leukemia research, received her PhD from MIT and is now with biotech startup Cedilla Therapeutics; Ron Mueller (WHS Class of 1969), former Waterloo school board member and longtime HTC employee who retired as chief engineer of network and switching services; and the late Allen Hirsch (WHS Class of 1971), who was a civil engineer and former CEO of PLM Transportation Equipment and Vice President of Beacon Capital Management.
The WHS Legacy Society will host an open house to present awards and honor this newest class Thursday, Sept. 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the WHS foyer outside the auditorium. The public is invited to attend.
Blandford, in addition to being class president, won numerous scholarships and awards while a WHS student. He was a member of the National Honor Society and represented WHS at the state speech tournament.
After high school, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Webster University and was History, Politics and Law Club President. He then received his masters degree in history from the University of Illinois, earning the department thesis award.
In addition to being named Curator of Illinois’ Governor’s Mansion, a site now open daily for guided tours, Blandford has also directed operations at Lincoln’s Tomb, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, Old State Capitol, the Vachel Lindsay Home, the Dana Thomas House and Illinois Veterans’ Memorials at Oak Ridge Cemetery. He is also a member of the Arts and Sciences Advisory Board for Webster University, a founding board member for the Community Foundation Preservation Fund, board member of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and member of the Springfield Commission on International Visitors.
“I’m deeply moved by the nomination for this honor,” Blandford said, adding that his education at WHS prepared him for future academic and professional opportunities.
He currently resides in Springfield with his wife and two children.
“For 15 years I have been married to my lovely wife. We have two smart and beautiful children who teach us new things every day. We work hard to create a healthy environment in our home that supports spirituality, encourages fitness, appreciates the arts, and nurtures scholarship,” Blandford said.
Hoffmann was a student council member, WHS golf and baseball team member and participant in Boys State while at WHS.
After graduating in 1986, he earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
In addition to being a certified personal accountant, Hoffman is currently CEO and board member of Dunkin’ Brands in addition to being the president of Dunkin’ US, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts. He spent 22 years with McDonald’s Corporation, serving as president, of high growth markets, an area that included China, South Korea, Russia and several additional European markets.
Hoffmann’s personal achievements include being a board member of Camp Harbor View, an organization focused on helping inner-city children and the Joy of Childhood Foundation, which partners with children’s hospitals, food banks and nonprofit organizations across the country to bring joy to kids who need it most.
“The great town of Waterloo, along with the caring teachers and faculty of WHS, have had a lasting impact on my life. I try to live every day the Waterloo values of strong, smart and kind,” Hoffmann said.
Bartlebaugh was co-valedictorian of the WHS Class of 2009. She was also voted outstanding senior girl, was co-MVP of the volleyball team her senior year, a Top Dog recipient and member of the Renaissance Club.
After high school, Bartlebaugh attended the University of Missouri, earning a bachelors degree in biological sciences, graduating Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
In 2017, she received her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cancer Biology. She currently holds membership with the American Association for Cancer Research and Medical Science Liaison Society. During her thesis work at MIT, focused in leukemia research, she provided research that added to the knowledge base for a new class of cancer therapies.
She has since been working at biotech startup Cedilla Therapeutics.
“WHS was a wonderful place in which to be a part,” Bartlebaugh said. “I thank all of my teachers from WHS for building a strong educational foundation for all of their students. I specifically appreciate everything I learned from Ms. Lisa Tiedemann and Mr. Randy Halleran, who fostered my initial interests in the field of science. Ms. Tiedemann allowed many of us Chem II students to study in her classroom countless mornings and lunches and, unbeknownst to me, began a long personal tradition of being part of a team that tackles tough scientific questions.”
Allen V.W. Hirsch
Hirsch was valedictorian for the WHS Class of 1971, a member of band, basketball, track, cross-country, recipient of the James Scholar Honors Program (U of I), the General Motors Scholarship and Illinois State Scholarship in addition to being a National Merit finalist.
After high school, Hirsch earned a bachelors degree in civil engineering at the University of Illinois, a masters degree in transportation engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA in finance and marketing from Harvard Business School.
Hirsch then spent a year in a faculty role in agribusiness at Harvard. He moved to San Francisco for a job with PLM Transportation Equipment Leasing Co., where he worked from 1985-1996, holding several positions, including president and CEO.
He was with ICON Securities from 1996-2001.
He worked the remainder of his career in financial services and at the time of his death, he was Vice-President of Beacon Capital Management. Hirsch was deeply involved in his community and the Piedmont Community Church, where he was a committed participant of the men’s bible study. On a 2007 mission trip to Africa, he helped serve at orphan feeding centers and rural hospitals.
Allen was a 24-year member of the church choir, where he was loved for his dry humor and solid gifts as a tenor. He was devoted to his wife Sara and very proud of his sons Sam and Pete. He had a lifelong passion for baseball and was an expert in the refined art of sabermetrics.
He loved photography, and as an esteemed member of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, captured the marvels of birdlife in the area. His photos are attributed to helping bring awareness to the plight of birds at risk in urban settings.
He was the oldest of six children born in Red Bud to Adolph and Pearl Hirsch, raised on the family farm near Burksville, and passed away suddenly in 2015.
Ronald H. Mueller
Mueller was Agriculture Student of the Year and FFA officer while at WHS.
After high school, Mueller attended Belleville Area College and United States Air Force Technical School, focusing on electro-magnetic telephone switching equipment training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He worked at Harrisonville Telephone Company as a lineman, repairman, switchman and special services technician before being promoted into management and becoming a switching equipment and special services engineer. He was later promoted again and became chief engineer of network and switching services for HTC.
He has since retired after 44 years of service at HTC.
Mueller holds a multitude of awards and personal achievements, including being a former District Governor of Lions of Illinois District 1 C-N, former President of the Waterloo Lions Club, Waterloo Homecoming committee co-chairman and treasurer, Life Member and past Lion of the Year of Waterloo Lions Club, Lions of Illinois Foundation Fellow award, Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellow Award, 4-H Leader for 27 years, Illinois 4-H Foundation Hall of Fame member, charter member of Waterloo FFA Alumni Chapter, honorary member of Waterloo FFA, Legion of Merit Citation by the National FFA Alumni Association, 37-year board member and current vice-president of the Monroe County Fair Association, former consistory member and treasurer of St. Paul United Church of Christ and serving nine years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, 932nd Communications Flight at Scott Air Force Base.