Homer Easley

Homer Easley ’59, a longtime faculty member and the first professor to teach computer science at Aurora University, passed away in January. He was 85.

Easley was the first member of his family to attend AU, then called Aurora College, and majored in physics. He married fellow student Pauline (Barton) Easley ’59 after graduation, and the couple moved to Baltimore, where he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University to continue his studies.

Not long after, Easley returned to AU and began a 30-year-plus career at the school, teaching physics and mathematics. He earned a master’s degree in computer science at Northwestern University and pioneered AU’s computer science program, becoming computer science department chair and later dean of information science. He was later named director of development for the university.

AU recognized Easley with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992 and the dedication of the Homer Easley Education Center in the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School in 2014. A man of deep faith, Easley was active in the Aurora Advent Christian Church for more than 50 years.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Pauline, children, David Easley ’84 and Sheryl Frank ’87, and their seven grandchildren, one of whom is enrolled as an AU student.

Roald Berg

Roald Berg ’56, who returned to his alma mater to teach mathematics and coach men’s basketball for more than three decades, passed away in February. He was 87.

Berg majored in mathematics and played basketball at Aurora College, now Aurora University, before earning a Master of Science degree from the University of Florida. He received several National Science Foundation grants.

After teaching and coaching in public high schools in Illinois, Berg joined the AU faculty in 1967. He served as the head men’s basketball coach until 1974, winning three conference championships. He also coached women’s basketball, men’s golf, and cross country.

He retired from AU in 2000 and earned emeritus status. AU recognized Berg with several awards for his influence, leadership, Spartan spirit, and commitment to education. He was inducted into the AU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.

An Aurora resident until his death, Berg was a regular visitor to campus, supporting the arts, athletics, alumni events, and fundraising projects. He served as president of the AU Alumni Association for three terms.

Berg is survived by his wife of nearly 66 years, Frances Waldron, whom he met when they were both students at Aurora College, as well as a number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Steven Lay

Steven Lay ’66, a math professor and musician, passed away in March. He was 77.

A native of Los Angeles, Lay graduated from Aurora College, now Aurora University, with majors in mathematics and Bible. He played tennis, sang in the choir, and received Spartan awards for character and scholarship.

After earning an MA and PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, Lay returned to AU in 1971 to begin his teaching career. He served as chair of the math department and director of the New Life Singers, a student ensemble that he initiated. In 1985, he received the Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In 1990, Lay and his family traveled to Japan as missionaries for the Advent Christian Church. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1998, he joined the math faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he taught until retiring in 2019.

Along with his brother, David Lay ’62, who predeceased him, Steven Lay was the second generation of Lay family members to attend AU. David and Steven’s mother, Florence R. (Ramer) Lay ’30, and father, Dr. L. Clark Lay ’30, were also alumni. Lay is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ann, and many children and grandchildren.