UW-Whitewater is proud to annouce our Keynote Speaker,
Mr. JESSE A. “TONY” CLEMENTS
Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Mr. Clements attended the University of Illinois where he was a member of both the basketball and football teams. He received his B.S. degree in 1971 and his M.S. degree in 1972 in the area of Recreation and Park Administration. After graduation, he joined the staff of the Division of Campus Recreation at the University of Illinois and served as an Assistant Director and Associate Director; in 1979, he was promoted to Director of the Division, a position he held until retiring in January of 2009. One of the key accomplishments during his tenure as Director was the passage of an $82 million dollar student referendum for the renovation and expansion of recreational facilities on campus.
Upon his retirement, Tony was appointed as a Board member of the United Way of Champaign County (UWCC), where he has served for the last 5 years. During his time with the United Way, he has performed duties as the Co-Chair of the Annual Campaign, Co- Chair of the Pillar Committee, and Co- Chair of the Marketing Committee. He is currently serving as a member of the UWCC’s executive committee. In 2012, Tony served as the UWCC interim CEO.
In January of 2014 Tony was honored as winner of a National Philanthropy Association award as an Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. He was also chosen to join the Board of the Marajen Stevick Foundation. The Marajen Stevick Foundation is a non-profit organization that distributes grants through the East Central Illinois Community Foundation and the University of Illinois Foundation.
In 2003, Tony was named the recipient of the Monsignor Edward J. Duncan Service Award. This award is presented annually to a University of Illinois “football letterman” who has displayed exemplary dedication to his community, state, and country. Former winners of the award include Tim McCarthy, Tony Eason, and Dick Butkus.
In 2002, Tony won the University of Illinois, Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award in acknowledgement of his administrative performance on behalf of the University of Illinois.
Tony remains active in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), having served as President of that organization in 1988-89. He was presented the Association’s most prestigious recognition, the NIRSA Honor Award, in 1996.
On a lighter side, one of Mr. Clements favorite past times is performing standup comedy. He has produced his own annual comedy show, The Clements Comedy Café, from 1990 until April of 2014. Throughout the 25 years, the Comedy Café supported a number of social service organizations including the East Central Illinois Food Bank, the C-U Schools Foundation and the Champaign Parks Foundation. Tony has also performed with comedian Sinbad, emceed shows for Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, and has been the opening act for Jerry Butler and Ray Charles. In 1998, Tony was asked to be the warm-up act when President Clinton and Vice President Gore visited the University of Illinois.
Tony will kick-off the WIRSA Conference on Thursday, October 9th during the Opening Session. The Opening Session will take place from 8:45am-10:15pm in Aspen Ballrooms 1 & 2.