Wooten to be honored with degree, reception

Don Wooten

Memorabilia wanted for light-hearted retrospective

Don Wooten, the founder of WVIK Public Radio at Augustana College, and considered by many an institution in the Quad Cities community, will receive an honorary doctorate from the college during its graduation ceremonies May 19.

Longtime friends of Wooten will be celebrating a little early, on May 16, with a gala dinner and reception to honor his “service to the station, the community, the state and the greater good.” The reception will begin at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Augustana College Center Dining Room (3750 7th Ave.), with dinner to follow at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and include dinner and two complimentary glasses of wine. Please RSVP by May 10th.

The challenge now is to collect memorabilia from the community that can be used to present a light-hearted retrospective about Wooten, his multi-faceted life and his iconic role in the community.

“He’s such a public figure who touches so many different people in different ways,” said Jennifer Blohm, WVIK’s development director. “He’s enriched our lives with music, theater, news and information. And that’s Public Radio. He’s really the embodiment of WVIK.”

At the age of 85, Wooten still hosts two weekly radio programs. Blohm said Wooten believes the results of his efforts are reward enough, but that he was excited about the idea of the dinner as a fundraiser for the station.

“And another thing,” the name of his Sunday newspaper column, will also be the name of the dinner event. WVIK is soliciting sponsorships to underwrite the dinner’s cost. Ticket sales and additional donations will go toward funding the mission of public service Don established at the station.

Wooten’s career not only encompasses WVIK and his newspaper column, but also roles as an Illinois state senator, teacher, local television and radio personality, and founder of a Shakespearian acting company called the Genesius Guild, which has taken outdoor public theater to heights few communities ever see.

Blohm is asking anyone with ties to Wooten’s long career to send her photos, stories, video clips or other memorabilia. She can be reached at (309) 794-7552 or jenniferblohm@wvik.org.