Editor’s note: This post is Part 28 of “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” a special retrospective revisiting some of the stories Bloom has published since its inception in 2006. The details in these stories have not been changed since they were originally written, but we have provided updates when possible. Each story highlights an individual who contributed to making Bloomington a compassionate, diverse, and creative community. For more stories from “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” click here.
Brian Shockney: IU Health South Central Region President
Brian Shockney has a rather lofty goal as president of Indiana University Health South Central Region. “We have some pretty unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy people who live in Indiana,” he says. “But we want to make Indiana one of the healthiest states in America.”
When the new $557 million IU Health Bloomington Regional Academic Health Center begins admitting patients in November 2021, serving 470,000 residents across 11 counties, Shockney and his team will be better positioned to challenge that goal.
Shockney earned a bachelor’s degree from IU–Kokomo and a master’s in health care administration also from IU. Prior to his current role, he served as president and CEO of Logansport (Indiana) Memorial Hospital and as chief operating officer of IU Health Arnett Hospital near Lafayette, Indiana.
Doug Bauder: LGBTQ+ Educator
After serving for 25 years as the founding director of the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Culture Center, Doug Bauder retired in 2019 with the intention of turning his experiences into a book. “We’ve heard from hundreds of campuses over 25 years,” Bauder says, “who always ask the same question: How did you do this in Indiana?”
Not without challenges. When IU proposed creating the LGBTQ+ Culture Center, state legislators vowed to withhold funding, and then- President Myles Brand funded it through the IU Foundation.
The center provides advocacy, education, and support—things Bauder experienced in the Moravian Church he attended as a youth. “I grew up in a faith context that valued difference,” Bauder says, “and that certainly helped me in my own coming-out process.”
John Hurlow: One Life-Changing Moment
John Hurlow was 22 and managing a supermarket when an incident changed the course of his life: a friend pulled the trigger of a high- powered pellet gun that he thought was empty. “There was one pellet in the chamber,” Hurlow says. “It hit me in the side of my head and stopped in the back of my brain.”
Doctors decided not to remove the pellet, and Hurlow initially had difficulty processing words. For the six weeks he spent recovering, he read The Wall Street Journal from cover to cover every day merely to challenge his brain. “My interest level grew,” he says. “I thought, ‘This is something I could do.’” He began as an administrative assistant at Merrill Lynch, trained as a financial adviser, and in 2002 founded Hurlow Wealth Management.
Audrey Heller: Theater Pioneer
Audrey Heller co-founded the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington 15 years ago, and she’s very proud of what she started. “We’re the only Jewish theater in a city this small and the only one in Indiana.”
The group’s artistic director, Heller says that the theater’s plays address universal themes as well as issues of Jewish life. “Substantive issues,” she says. “We’ve done plays about anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, the McCarthy hearings.” Plays frequently reflect the current political climate. Cherry Docs, performed last May, addressed white supremacy.
Heller attributes much of the theater’s success to its audiences. “At least 40% of our audience is non-Jewish,” she says. “We couldn’t have sustained ourselves if it was just the Jewish community. We had a lot of nerve starting this.”
John McCluskey: Author, Athlete, Teacher
After earning a Stanford University M.F.A. in creative writing in 1972, John McCluskey met novelist Toni Morrison—then an editor at Random House—and asked her to read his first novel’s manuscript. She liked it, and Random House published Look What They Done to My Song in 1974.
In 1977, McCluskey began teaching creative writing at Indiana University, where he later taught African American and African diaspora studies and spearheaded the creation of master’s and doctoral programs in African American studies. He retired in 2008.
“Right now,” says McCluskey, 75, “my energy is in short fiction.” He is also interviewing and profiling jazz legends such as Sonny Rollins and Ahmad Jamal.
An outstanding athlete, McCluskey was the first black quarterback at Harvard University.
Teri Moren: Year of the Women
After decades of struggling to post winning seasons, the Indiana University women’s basketball team is finding sustained success and an upward trajectory under sixth-year head coach Teri Moren.
The team’s growth under Moren is laudable, including four 20-win seasons in a row; two trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2019, with first-round wins both times, a WNIT championship in 2018; and the highest overall winning percentage (.609) since the program’s first coach, Bea Gorton, in the 1970s.
“This program is built on our work ethic,” Moren says. “It’s built on having a chip on our shoulder. It’s built on this notion that we’ve never historically been relevant in women’s basketball. And that’s our approach every day.”
The Hoosiers finished the 2019–2020 season at 24-8 and were projected to be a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament when it was canceled due to COVID-19.
Michael Shermis: Connector
Michael Shermis is a connector. As a consultant, he facilitates retreats that help nonprofit organizations connect with their missions. As special-projects coordinator for the City of Bloomington, he serves as staff liaison to a number of groups that serve marginalized populations, including the Monroe County Domestic Violence Coalition, the Monroe County Coalition for Access and Mobility, the Nonprofit Alliance of Monroe County, and the City’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission.
“It’s all about people,” Shermis, 60, says. “I love helping people who want to make the causes that they care about run better and help society.”
J.R. Holmes: South High School’s Indomitable Basketball Coach
J.R. Holmes has been coaching high school basketball for 50 years, the past 38 of them at Bloomington High School South. With his 809th win in February 2019, he became the winningest high school coach in Indiana history.
Holmes has had undefeated seasons and two state championships in his years at South, but he is just as proud of teams that didn’t make big headlines. “Really, some of my favorite teams were in the early ’90s,” Holmes says. “I have 8-12 seasons with teams that shouldn’t have won a game. They just played their butts off. That was some of the best coaching I ever did.”
Mike Trotzke: Tech Visionary
Entrepreneur Mike Trotzke sees Bloomington becoming
a launch pad for new technology businesses. He helped start the Combine,
an annual Midwest tech entrepreneurship conference in Bloomington. He and long- time business partner Brad Wisler helped realize The Mill, the coworking and technology incubator in the former Showers Brothers Company furniture factory.
At Indiana University, Trotzke, 43, fell into web software development and met Wisler. They eventually started WorldView Multimedia, a politically oriented design firm. By 1999, they had developed an online apartment rent- payment tool, which they spun off into a dot-com and sold in 2007.
SproutBox, their current business, nurtures startups, providing expertise and capital. “For the first six years, we built a new startup every three months,” Trotzke says.