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Edward Nestingen Award for University YMCA Alumni

Bob Lenz, 2023-24 Recipient

About the Honoree

Ed Nestingen had a deep history of working within the YMCA movement including as staff for the National Council of Student YMCAs. Arriving to the University YMCA in 1959 as a program associate, he reached and engaged a generation of undergraduates with his passionate search for life purpose and meaning and his commitment to challenging others to live out their beliefs and convictions.. After more than two decades as the University Y Program Director, Ed took on the responsibility of serving as the Director of the Bailey Scholarship program until his retirement in 1991. Throughout his tenure, Ed was single minded in his focus on helping students develop as leaders who would have an impact on the problems facing their community and our world. Although in his mid-nineties, Ed continued to preach the importance of helping these students meet the skyrocketing cost of higher education.

About the Award

Presented annually in recognition of the personal and professional qualities modeled by staff, and epitomized in Ed’s long career as a YMCA professional, that have a significant impact on the life paths of individuals who join in University YMCA service. It also serves as a way for University Y alumni to recognize their peers who they know have continued to grow in ways that Ed and other staff have nurtured.

Bob Lenz, 2023-24 Recipient

Bob Lenz graduated from the University of Illinois in 1959. As an undergraduate he was involved at the Y in numerous ways, both as a student interested in civic and political work, a Bailey Scholar, 3rd floor resident, and an employee as a custodian and student desk worker. During his time as a student he viewed the Y as his emotional home and intellectually invigorating, and considered Hal Colvin his most important mentor.

Following graduation, Bob received his J.D. from Illinois in 1963, and since then has been engaged in the general practice of law in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Currently he practices at Meyer Capel in the fields of Alternative Energy and Real Estate. In a distinguished career Bob has served in numerous leadership roles, including President of the McLean County Bar Association, the David Davis Mansion Foundation, the Abraham Lincoln Association, and Regent of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.   In the 1990s he participated as counsel in The Committee For Educational Rights v. Edgar, which sought to address issues of equity in state funding for public schools in Illinois.

From 1975-1981, Lenz served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and he was chairman of the State of Illinois Universities Civil Service System, Merit Board. From 1979-1981 he was a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He has been a delegate to the 1963 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Conference in Istanbul, Turkey; a founding board member of the Adlai Stevenson Lectures; and an attendee at the 1971 YMCA International Committee World Meeting in Kampala, Uganda.  In the 1970’s, Bob was chairman of the YMCA region that included all of Illinois and Indiana and served as a member of the YMCA National Board.

Bob has also offered his services to several community and civic organizations, having spoken to the Bloomington Rotary, Bloomington-Normal Sunrise Rotary, Bloomington-Normal Golden Kiwanis, DAR, SAR, Young Men’s Club of Bloomington, League of Women Voters, and the ACLU. He has at times served on the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees of the University YMCA, and remained a consistent supporter and member of the Association.

Throughout his career Bob has displayed qualities of leadership, civic mindedness, and supported his community both professionally and through volunteering. His exceptional service has been in the greatest spirit of Ed Nestingen and the mission of the University YMCA.

Past Award Recipients

2024: Bob Lenz

2023: Diane Pearse

2022: Willard Broom

2021: Kasey Umland (declined)

2020: Naomi Jakobsson

2019: Will Patterson

2018: Jeremy Hays

2017: Julia Kellman

2016: Kimball Anderson

2015: Jack Lavin

2014: John C. and Diane Marlin

2013: James Young

2012: Jennifer Walling

2011: Edith Buhs

2010: Tom Abram

2009: Michael Hamblet

2008: Jerry Glashagel

2007: James D. Montgomery

2006: Jim Hinterlong

2005: Hugh Tyndall

2004: Scott Herrick

2003: Lawrence N. Hansen

2002: none

2001: Rebecca Crummey

2000: Harold “Hank” Hannah

1999: Jack Patterson

1998: Richard L. Hutchison

1997: Philip H. Martin

1996: Lewis Collens

1995: Steven B. Sample

1994: Robert Bohl

1993: Herman Sievering


1991: Gerald Brighton

1990: Corliss Anderson

1989: John W. Gwinn

1988: John W. Thompson

1987: Ralph E. Davis

1986: Lowell Hoffman

1985: William B. Browder