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Mom from Sterling to "reign" over Moms Weekend festivities

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois students Natalie and Alex Marks believe their mother qualifies for any number of titles – from Wonder Woman to creator of the world’s best chicken noodle soup.

But the title Wendy Marks will wear proudly this weekend is Queen Mom.  Thanks to an essay co-written by Natalie, a second-year student in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Alex, a junior in Commerce and Business Administration, Marks was selected to reign over Moms Weekend Festivities this weekend (April 7-9) at the UI.  The winning essay was chosen from dozens submitted by doting daughters and sons who believe their moms deserve the royal treatment. 

Marks was crowned Friday night (April 7) at the Mothers Association Banquet at the Illini Union.  Nine other moms were named to this year’s Queen Mom Court.  Members of the court and the students who nominated them:  (EDITORS:  See list.).

In their winning essay, Natalie and Alex Marks noted that their mother gave up her career as a dietitian to stay at home with her children, and credited her with having “an unbelievable impact upon our values, ideas and quality of character.”

“Perhaps she has been most influential in the area of education,” they wrote.  “Whether it was repeated trips to the library, reading Dr. Seuss to us as kids, helping us with homework, or enlightening our minds with exposure to the arts and music, education has always been the first priority.”

In addition to being a cheerleader for education, Marks has filled a number of other important roles in her children’s lives.  Among those they acknowledged in the essay:  best friend, role model, leader, confident caregiver, listener, e-mail partner and guide.

“Other roles she has graciously embraced over the years have included team mom and biggest supporter of our athletic endeavors, leader of numerous school-parent committees, and director of a publishing organization that took children’s stories from local grade schools and transformed them into books for kids,” they wrote.  “Besides her involvement in the school system, our mom still has time and energy to give back to the community, as a homeless shelter volunteer, library board member, strong advocate and contributor to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the March of Dimes, and a member of our Synagogue Sisterhood.”

The new Queen Mom will receive several prizes and her name will be engraved on a plaque in the Illini Union.

The Moms Weekend tradition began at the UI in 1921, with the university apparently the first in the nation to designate a weekend honoring students’ mothers.  The Mothers Association, established in 1923, sponsors the weekend and works to promote a stronger relationship between the university and the residents of Illinois.



FAIRMOUNT – Annette Zeigler, nominated by Andrea Schomburg,  junior

FRANKLIN PARK – Sharon Rozak, nominated by Renee Rozak, sophomore

GLEN ELLYN – Donna Marton, nominated by Katie Marton, senior

LIBERTYVILLE – Anne Marie Landgraf, nominated by Jennifer Landgraf, senior, and Michael Landgraf, freshman

NEW LENOX – Janice Primozic, nominated by Julie Primozic, freshman

ROCHELLE – Maria Lang, nominated by Melanie Lang, freshman

URBANA – Eunice Boone, nominated by Chaya Boone, senior; and Donna Tanner-Harold, nominated by Erika Harold, junior


INDIANA, Zionsville – Gwen Dubay, nominated by Tara Dubay, senior