The Foundation is proud to partner with the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Hall of Fame. The first class of distinguished members was inducted into The PBL Hall of Fame in 2014. Since the very beginning, The Foundation has provided financial support for this worthy program that recognizes outstanding achievements of our alumni. This recognition serves the dual purpose of spotlighting the member’s contribution to society while also serving as role models for today’s students. Alumni who have excelled and contributed in education and/or work/military, made professional contributions, led in community activities, and have had an overall positive impact on society are considered for this honor.
Harold Eugene “Hek” Kenney
Loda High School Class of 1922
After dropping out of school for three years to help his father on the family farm during World War I, Harold Eugene “Hek” Kenney graduated from Loda H.S. in 1922. Harold then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in 1926 and a Master’s degree in 1932 from the University of Illinois, and his Doctorate in Education from Vanderbilt University.
After completing a successful wrestling career at the University of Illinois, “Hek” was offered a position as the Head Wrestling Coach at the University, which he accepted in 1928, and remained in until 1947. During this time, in addition to winning five Big Ten titles, “Hek’s” teams placed in the top ten nationally ten times, placed second in the nation twice (1930 & 1938), and placed third once. He also produced eight individual NCAA champions, 13 runners-up, 10 third-place winners, and four fourth-place finishers.
During World War II, “Hek” wanted to go into combat but was told he was too old, so in 1943 he completed the V-12 Navy College Training Program for commissioned officers and was appointed the Director of Physical Training for the 6th Naval District, where he wrote a book on rough and tumble fighting that was widely used during World War II.
Along with his assistant coach, “Hek” was responsible for starting the Illinois High School State Wrestling Championships. The two organized and officiated the first statewide championships, which were held at Champaign High School. In 1974, The Military Drill Hall, later known as the Annex, (which is considered by many to be one of the most historic buildings on the campus of the U of I Urbana-Champaign), was renamed Kenney Gymnasium, after Harold Eugene “Hek” Kenney.
Paxton High School Class of 1965
Robert Frump graduated from Paxton High School in 1965. After graduating high school, Robert went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois and Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University.
After completing his schooling, Mr. Frump went on to work for several newspapers before eventually landing at The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1976. It was in this position that Robert became a nationally-recognized journalist and author who served as the “anchor writer” for a Pulitzer Prize-winning task force. During his time at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert was awarded the George Polk Award for investigative reporting and the Gerald Loeb Award for National Business Reporting.
Robert Frump also authored four books, including Until the Sea Shall Free Them, which is considered a modern classic of non-fiction maritime literature and is required reading at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Robert has also held several senior executive positions including Executive Director for Corporation Communications for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, editor in chief of Merrill Lynch Private Client, and was co-founder of MediaLink, a successful communications company startup capitalized by Boston Ventures.