People of IWU: Stew Salowitz moves from sports to art

Sophia Heilman

Hats off toStew Salowitzand his work at Illinois Wesleyan.
Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University

 

For thirty-one years Stew Salowitz worked as Illinois Wesleyan’s Sports Information Director, and touched  the lives of Titans all over campus. 

Salowitz began his legacy at IWU in 1972 as an English major. Originally, Salowitz planned on attending Illinois State University as he was a Normal resident but, after hearing of IWU from friends, decided this would be the best place for him. 

 “I loved every minute that I was there. Except for the D in chemistry. That was the only D I’ve ever gotten and I didn’t like that very well,” Salowitz said.

While at IWU, Salowitz worked at the WESN radio station the summer of 1974 and onward Salowitz’s career at WESN led to his involvement with more radio shows later on for WJBC Radio in Bloomington and WAKC Radio in Normal. “I was doing the morning show. I got up at five o’clock in the morning. I’d sign the radio station on, turn on the transmitter and I’d be on the air from six till nine. And then I’d come back and do my classes. I had introduction to social psychology at like nine o’clock and I was always late” Salowitz said. 

Salowitz began his job as the sports information director at IWU in 1988 and took his leave in 2019. In his time he saw many changes. “When we started out we kept the statistics by pencil and wrote it all down. And by the time I left we had computer statistics for every sport. I think we had 11 or 13 sports when I started and now they have 24, maybe more.,” Salowitz said.

While working, Salowitz had a number of student workers over the years who were all touched by working with him. Salowitz treated his workers with respect and wanted for them to do something worthwhile. Students could be found playing trivia games, spot the difference and unscrambling words with their boss. “We worked hard but we played hard,” Salowitz said. 

Salowitz retired in September of 2019 and hasn’t been back at IWU since before spring break of 2020. “I spent 31 years of my life going into either Holmes Hall or Shaw Hall almost every day, 300some days a year. And now I haven’t been there in a year, not even inside the building” Salowitz said. 

Today, Salowitz is taking art classes at the Heartland Community College and substitute teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic School. Salowitz remarked on how intelligent kids are these days and are teaching him just as much as he is them. So far, he has taken an acrylic painting class, watercolors and is currently working with pastels. In his first class he spent two hours working on drawing a pear. Salowitz doesn’t overcomplicate it when it comes to his work, “I know what I like. I know I need to use more color, and people like it when I get really colorful” said Salowitz. 

Currently, Salowitz has sold four paintings, “So, I’m a professional,” he said. 

Salowitz still holds on strong to his English major, continuing to read often and considers writing one of the most important skills to have. “It’s so important to be able to write. I would say, just trying to handle the English language is one of my greatest assets,” said Salowitz. 

Salowitz continues to impact the Bloomington-Normal community, now with his incredible artwork and work at St. Mary’s.