Past Award Recipients
Tradition of Excellence
Award Recipients By Year
Established by the Class of 1982, the annual Tradition of Excellence Awards are given to recognize OPRFHS alumni who have made outstanding contributions to society through their personal and professional pursuits. Awards are presented annually in November. Alumni who have graduated 10 years prior to the date of the current graduating year and earlier are eligible for consideration - e.g. Class of 2000 graduates and earlier would be eligible in the 2009-2010 school year.
Follow this LINK for Nomination form and instructions
Click on a Year number to see Honorees for a Specific Year, or simply scroll downward to view all
Name, Award Category, Graduation Year
Educator - Class of 1978
Mr. Dudley graduated as valedictorian in 1978, where he played football and baseball, wrestled, and wrote for the school newspaper. After graduating OPRF, he attended Yale University. He became the founding principal of the nationally recognized Urban Assembly New York Harbor School and went on to become a field support liaison with the New York City Department of Education.
DR. CHARLES KRAMER
Pshychotherapist - Class of 1940 (posthumous honoree)
Dr. Kramer earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Illinois. While serving at Chanute Air Force Base in 1951, he volunteered to do psychiatry work, which led to a lifelong career. Dr. Kramer founded the Family Institute in 1968, which became affiliated with Northwestern University in the 1970s, at which time Dr. Kramer became a professor of psychiatry at the university.
Find more informaiton about the 2020 and 2021 honorees at this LINK.
DR. WALTER LAWRENCE, JR.
Medical Doctor and Educator, Surgical Oncology - Class of 1942
Dr. Lawrence is an accomplished medical doctor and surgeon in the oncology field. He received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago and did his surgical training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While at the University of Virginia in 1965 he created the first-ever university-based Division of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Lawrence has been active in social justice efforts such as enrolling minority patients in clinical trials and mentoring young Black oncologists.
DR. KIONA ALLEN
Medical Doctor and Educator, Pediatric Cardiology - Class of 2000
After graduating OPRFHS where she was a four-year member of the gymnastics team, Dr. Allen earned her undergraduate degree then her medical degree in 2008 at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a pediatric cardiac intensivist. Her primary focus is the care of children who spend a long time in the hospital recovering from complex cardiac surgical procedures. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics in cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
MACI PETERSON PHILITAS
Technology Entrepreneur, Class of 2005
Maci Peterson Philitas is co-founder and CEO of On Second Thought (OST), the definitive delay-recall app that allows users to retract a text after hitting “send.” Launched in 2014, the mobile app has generated more than $1 million and is used in 190 countries.
As an entrepreneur and respected thought leader, Philitas is a frequent lecturer, subject-matter expert, and adviser on entrepreneurship, innovation, and diversity. She has been profiled by Inc., Forbes, NPR, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Black Enterprise, Fox, WGN, Oak Leaves, and many other media outlets.
Philitas earned her bachelor's in public relations and advertising from Chapman University in 2009, and was named Chapman’s 2017 Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year.
NIA I. WORDLAW
Aviation, Class of 1993
Nia Wordlaw is a commercial airline pilot with more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry. She holds a unique position in the field, where fewer than 1 percent of commercial airline pilots in the United States are African-American women. Wordlaw’s interest in flying began at the age of 10.
She co-founded a non-profit, Sisters of the Skies, to encourage and promote minority women in the aviation industry. Wordlaw was featured in the 2015 PBS film American Masters: The Women’s List, a documentary featuring 15 trailblazers such as Alicia Keys, Madeleine Albright, and Nancy Pelosi. She received the 2016 Egretha Award from African American Women in Business magazine, presented annually to extraordinary African-American women.
Wordlaw is married to her high school sweetheart.
HOWARD P. WILLENS
Author, Attorney, and Historian, Class of 1949
Howard P. Willens is the author of the 2013 book History Will Prove Us Right: Inside the Warren Commission Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy–the only book ever written on the subject by a senior member of the commission staff. He was a young attorney at the Department of Justice when he was asked to help organize the commission a week after Kennedy’s assassination. He served as the executive director of the President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia from 1965 to 1966.
Willens attended the University of Michigan and Yale Law School and served in the U.S. Army before beginning his legal career at a Washington, D.C., firm in 1959. In 1972, he was retained by the people of the Northern Marianas Islands to represent them in their negotiations to become a U.S. commonwealth which eventually let to his service as special legal counsel to the governor of the Northern Mariana Islands from 2006 to 2009. Willens has co-authored three books about U.S. policy in the Western Pacific.
Find MORE INFORMATION about the 2019 TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE at this LINK
Nationally Recognized Architect, Class of 1954
Growing up in Oak Park, Alvin Holm was heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s modernist work and Chicago’s classical architecture. After graduating from Yale in 1958 and the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, Mr. Holm spent 10 years as a project designer in Philadelphia, then in 1976 he opened his own office, focusing heavily on restoration work and historical architecture.
As a founding member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Mr. Holm is acknowledged as an early leader in the rising movement toward a New American Renaissance. He has received several honors and awards throughout his career, including the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for the design of galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.
Writer and Journalist, Class of 1988
Michelle McNamara knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. At OPRF, she was named editor-in-chief of Trapeze, the student newspaper. She majored in English at the University of Notre Dame and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
She moved to Los Angeles to write for television and films and developed a growing interest in an unsolved Oak Park murder from her teenage years. This led to the creation of a website dedicated to solving cold cases, True Crime Diary. Ms. McNamara developed a particular interest in the crimes of an unidentified serial rapist and killer in California, whom she named the “Golden State Killer,” which led to an LA Magazine article and a subsequent book deal from HarperCollins. Ms. McNamara passed away in April 2016 before her book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” was published. Just over two years after Ms. McNamara’s death, on April 25, 2018, the Golden State Killer was identified and arrested. Ms. McNamara's book is credited with igniting a renewed interest in the case.
United States Naval Medical Officer, Class of 1985
Following his graduation from OPRF, Paul Roach attended Loyola University Chicago and Rush Medical College. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Maryland in 2003. A fellowship in Complex Surgical Oncology at the University of Chicago followed.
Mr. Roach served two tours as a U.S. Naval Flight Surgeon in Okinawa, Japan, and the second at Naval Air Station Washington D.C. He also served one overseas tour as a general surgeon in Sicily, and three tours as a combat surgeon in Afghanistan and Iraq. Stateside, he has worked at two Navy hospitals as a general and oncologic surgeon, the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Vir., and Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.
Mr. Roach is married with three daughters and is the author of one novel, The End, and one nonfiction memoir, Citizen-Surgeon.
CLASS of 1996
Nationally recognized Health Advocate
Class of 2001
Writer and Cartoonist
Lt. MATTHEW SMITH
CLASS of 1994
Decorated Military Officer
State Representative CAMILLE LILLY
CLASS of 1979
Public Servant and Politician
FULL BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS AT THIS LINK
Charles Dawson Butler
Class of 1935
Mr. Butler is most recognized as the voice of Yogi Bear, who debuted in 1958 as a supporting character in the “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” Toledo-born but Oak Park-raised, Mr. Butler always had a knack for vocal impersonations. The aspiring cartoonist left high school without graduating during the Great Depression, hoping to provide financial stability for his family by performing standup impersonations at venues throughout Chicago. This led to a major break as the voice of a British wolf on “Little Rural Riding Hood” in 1948.
Throughout the late 1940s and ‘50s, Mr. Butler landed many voice acting jobs, including the narrator in “The Cuckoo Clock” and the cobbler in “The Peachy Cobbler.” He served in the Navy during World War II, then resumed his career in radio. In later years, Mr. Butler opened an in-home actors training workshop, specializing in voiceover techniques, subsequently teaching a student who would become the second voice of Yogi Bear after Mr. Butler’s death in 1988. With the help of his son David, Mr. Butler officially earned his high school diploma in 1977.
OPRF High School Athletic Ambassador
Class of 1961
Mr. Arcieri grew up in Oak Park and has been active in OPRF athletics since his enrollment in 1957, lettering in baseball his junior and senior years. After receiving a degree in education from Northern Illinois University, Mr. Arcieri returned to Oak Park to teach at Longfellow and Hawthorne (now known as Julian Middle School). In 1969, he began teaching at OPRF High School, where he coached tennis, football, and basketball. He led the 1998 football team to an undefeated conference record and the 1975-1976 basketball team to a third place finish at state.
Coach Arcieri’s 30-tenure as a football coach earned induction into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. One of his biggest contributions to the Huskies’ Athletics Department was co-founding the OPRFHS Coach Hall of Fame in 1989, which inducted 31 outstanding coaches at its founding, one of them being himself. The OPRFHS Coaches Hall of Fame still honors coaches today.
Mr. Arcieri is noted for his philanthropic work, which includes obtaining football scholarships through fundraisers, creating orange and blue championship banners that hang in the fieldhouse, and co-founding the Gary Olsen Scholarship, which annually awards scholarships to graduating OPRF seniors.
Public Servant Class of 1993 Born in communist Laos, Mr. Keovan and his family fled the country for a refugee camp in Thailand shortly after he was born. In 1979, they arrived in the United States through sponsorship from the Oak Park Temple. He attended three Oak Park elementary schools: Irving, Beye, and Whittier. A volleyball team member during his sophomore through senior years at OPRF, he was named Illinois State Boys Volleyball Player of the Year in 1993. Mr. Keovan continued his volleyball career at Loyola University, where he became a part of its inaugural volleyball team.
In 2003 he graduated from DePaul with a law degree and now owns a practice in transactional law. Mr. Keovan is one of the first Laotian American attorneys in the United States and is heavily involved with Lao American Community Services (LACS). The organization assists Illinois refugees and immigrants from Laos, especially those in metropolitan Chicago, in becoming self-sufficient, productive participants in American society while preserving and enhancing their cultural heritage, identity, and sense of belonging to a community.
Singer and Songwriter Class of 1994 Ms. Friedberger developed her love of music while growing up in Oak Park. Post high school, she studied film and American Studies at the University of Texas and moved to New York City, where she and her brother Matthew formed the band The Fiery Furnaces in 2000. Together they recorded nine albums. Her first solo album, “Last Summer,” was released in 2011 on Merge Records. She has since released two more critically acclaimed solo albums and toured throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
Ms. Friedberger also has collaborated with the Andy Warhol Museum, performed regularly in the 8G Band on NBC's “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, and appeared in renowned multimedia artist Doug Aitken's experimental train project and subsequent film “Station to Station.” Currently she is on tour with shows in Tel Aviv, Rome, and the Netherlands. When she is not touring, Ms. Friedberger lives in Ulster County, New York.
2015 Return to Top
Anne Sweeney has spent her career dedicated to finding durable solutions for refugees displaced by war. After living in Tanzania working to resettle refugees on behalf of the United Nations and the US Department of State, Anne decided to design a new kind of program, one focused on restoring hope and safety to the world’s most vulnerable population: refugee women and children. From 2007 to 2014, she co-founded and later led Heshima Kenya, an international nonprofit based in Nairobi, Kenya, that protects and empowers girls and young women whose lives have been uprooted by conflict and who have lost their families while fleeing their countries for safety. Heshima Kenya’s holistic model has received widespread recognition from the international human rights community. Anne has been featured in the Chicago Tribune’s series on Remarkable Women and was honored as 100 Women of Inspiration by Today’s Chicago Woman. She has spoken about refugee issues on local and national television and radio news programs and at numerous forums on human rights and girl empowerment. Anne holds a MA from American University’s School of International Service, a BS from the University of Minnesota, and a Certificate in Forced Migration from Oxford University. Heshima Highlights Chicago Tribune : Remarkable Woman--Anne Sweeney
In 1994, Michael won the AA 171lb IHSA State Wrestling championship and went on to wrestle at Indiana University. After becoming an NCAA All-American at Indiana University, Michael returned to OPRFHS in 2004 as a teacher and later began his coaching career in 1999. In March of 2009 just after coaching his wrestling team to win the IHSA AAA State Dual Team Wrestling Championship and just before being honored as the IHSA AAA Coach of the year, Mike was stricken and diagnosed with a rare disease called polymyositis. Mike has faced his physical challenge with the same courage and ferocity that he uses on the mat, in the classroom or in the coach’s chair. His battle with this rare disease and his commitment to education and coaching was a feature story in Sports Illustrated and to be chronicled in documentaries on NBC as well as ESPN. It is Mike’s philosophy is that maximizing one’s potential as a high school student/athlete is difficult, therefore having a plan on how to do it is essential. Mike assists his students with their life plans even into adulthood; he has been a father figure to many, including 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman. Not only has Mike encouraged young men to become better athletes and positive members of the community, he has succeeded in creating a “Huskies Wrestling Family” of parents, alums, siblings and fans of the team who support the wrestlers each year in fundraising and cheering at local and state tournaments. The Huskies Wrestling Family, as directed by Mike, raised almost $40,000 for Ellis Coleman’s family in his quest for a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. No question or request is off-limits to his wrestlers and wrestling alums, and even in his times of health challenges, he serves as a role model for hundreds of athletes who look to him for advice, inspiration and help. Sports Illustrated Article: Mike Powell -- Man-in-Full
On an excursion through South Africa, David began crafting his personal visions for changing the world. Years later, he created an organization called “No Barriers” that is built on the belief that transformative experiences, delivered to participants who are ready to receive them, could change the trajectory of one’s life forever. “No Barriers” provides tools, inspiration and experiences that empower people to break through barriers, find their inner purpose and contribute their very best to the world. David has spent more than 15 years building strong nonprofit organizations. A passionate educator, he has worked with such diverse organizations as: The World Wildlife Fund; Duke University; Island Press; The Nature Conservancy and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. David earned a master’s degree from Duke University in Environmental Policy and Economics and a B.S in Biology from Xavier University. He also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke. Prior to his work with “No Barriers”, David served as executive director of The Catamount Institute. No Barriers. Executive Director :David Shurna No Barriers: About Us
Dr. Franklin Lemkey
Frank Lemkey, a metallurgical and chemical engineering graduate from University of Michigan would later receive his doctorate in metal physics at University of Oxford in 1974. His principal research areas were controlled solidification and mechanical behavior of eutectic alloys and superalloys. He is the author/editor of five books, has 25 patents and has received the Grossman best paper Award of the American Society for Materials and the Citation Classic award from “Current Contents”. As Adjunct Professor and Visiting Professor he taught materials processing courses and served on graduate student committees respectively at Dartmouth College and the University of Connecticut. He is a Fellow of American Society of Materials and was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering in 1983. He was appointed a White House Executive Fellow in 1988-1989 serving as Director of the Microgravity Division of NASA and later on the National Research Council, Space Studies Board as Chairman of the Committee on Microgravity Research. Dr. Lemkey founded several joint venture companies for United Technologies with Russian and Ukrainian Institutes. The largest company was Pratt and Whitney-Paton in Kiev, Ukraine which manufactures electron beam coating equipment and coats gas turbine engine components. After retirement, Dr. Lemkey was appointed Director of Technology Commercialization for the United States Industry Coalition in Washington D.C. Today he continues research as a consulting scientist at the International Center for Electron Beam Technologies of the Ukraine Academy of Science. Scientific Articles by Frank Lemkey
2014 Return to Top
Joan Rohlfing is president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to strengthen global security by reducing the risk of use, and preventing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Over the last 13 years, Ms. Rohlfing has played a critical role in guiding the organization and was part of the original team that created the mission and scope for NTI in 2000. Since then NTI has conceived, nurtured and launched a number of new global organizations and solutions and she has played strategic roles in the design and launch of these hallmark projects. Ms. Rohlfing has also worked closely with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn in their effort to galvanize global action to reduce urgent nuclear dangers and build support for reducing reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. Before joining NTI, Ms. Rohlfing held senior positions with the US Department of Energy. In 1998, when India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, she was selected for a nine-month assignment in New Delhi to advise the US ambassador on nuclear security issues. Ms. Rohlfing served on the staff of the US House Armed Services Committee and at the US Department of Defense. Ms. Rohlfing holds a master’s degree from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois.
Gregory Cappelli has served as Chief Executive Officer of Apollo Education Group, owner and operator of University of Phoenix since May, 2009. Mr. Cappelli is also a founding member and Chairman of Apollo Global, the company’s international division which now operates on six continents. Before joining Apollo Group, Mr. Cappelli spent 10 years as an equity research analyst for Credit Suisse, where he served as Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst and founded the Credit Suisse Global Services Team. He was consistently ranked as one of the top research analyst in the prestigious Institutional Investor All-American rankings. Prior to Credit Suisse, Mr. Cappelli held the position of Vice President and Senior Research Analyst at ABN AMRO. Mr. Cappelli is a regular speaker at the Milken Global Conference among others and is widely quoted in the press as an expert on the business of higher education. He has testified before Congress on the state of higher education in America and regularly meets with members of both parties to provide insights and perspectives on the higher education industry. Mr. Cappelli recently published his fourth in a series of whitepaper’s titled “Creating the Future American Workforce – investments and Innovation in Human Capital”. Mr. Cappelli serves on the National Board of Governors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Dominican University. He performed in numerous musical concerts and contests growing up and still enjoys playing piano today. He and his wife Mary have four children and reside in suburban Chicago. Mr. Cappelli received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Indiana University and his Master of Business Administration from the Brennan School of Business at Dominican University.
Richard Cottle majored in mathematics at Harvard (A.B. 1957, A.M 1958) and taught mathematics for two years at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. He received his doctorate in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduation he became a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories. In 1966 he joined the newly formed Operations Research Department at Stanford University. He was a professor there until 2005 at which time he retired and became professor emeritus. Cottle served as his department’s chair from 1990 to 1996. His principal fields of study are continuous optimization, complementarity, variational inequalities, and equilibrium theory. He is the author of 3 books; editor of 10 books, and has written 100 technical papers on these subjects. He has continued his professional work in retirement. Mr. Cottle has received several honors in his field. These include the U.S. Senior Scientist Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Bonn, Germany, the Lanchester Prize from INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), and the INFORMS Fellow Award. In addition to INFORMS, Cottle is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Mathematical Optimization Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Cottle is also interested in Stanford history and serves on the Board of Directors of the Stanford Historical Society.
2013 Return to Top
Charles M. Hoag
Charlie (aka Chuck) Hoag was a standout athlete at OPRF, lettering in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He went on to attend the University of Kansas (KU), where he lettered in football, basketball, track and played baseball. He was a member of the 1952 KU basketball team that won the NCAA championship. He also played on the U.S. Olympic basketball team that beat the Soviet Union to win the gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki games. Chuck was captain of the 1952 KU football team and earned kickoff return leader in 1950, 1951, and 1952 and receiving leader in 1952. His current KU football records include ninth in career all-purpose yards with 3,233 and 13th in career rushing with 1,914 yards. His Big Seven conference achievements include 1952 conference leader in receptions with 16 and All Big Seven Halfback in 1951 and 1952. Though drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 1953 NFL Draft in the 26th round as the 311th overall pick, he did not play professional sports because of a career-ending knee injury suffered in the 1953 KU versus KSU football game. Chuck married Donna Carter, had four children, and worked as an insurance broker in Glenview, Illinois, and Topeka, Kansas. He later retired to Lawrence, Kansas, where he enjoyed watching his Jayhawks and nine grandchildren grow up, many of whom are carrying on his sports legacy with college scholarships in football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, and track
Major Javin C. Peterson
Major Javin C. Peterson is a senior pilot assigned to the 99th Airlift Squadron, in Andrews, Maryland. While at OPRF he was an all-conference gymnast, captain of the Boys Gymnastics team, and a member of the Senior Class Council. After graduating from OPRF, Major Peterson attended the U.S. Air Force Academy. He graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in human factors engineering and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. At the academy, he was a three-time All-American and two-time USA Gymnastics national still rings champion. He earned a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Oklahoma and a Legislative Studies certificate from Georgetown University. During his many military assignments, he was deployed to support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Currently, Major Peterson is assigned to the distinguished 89th Air Wing as an Air Force Two pilot. He provides airlift support to the vice president of the United States, first lady, secretary of defense, secretary of state, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Major Peterson’s military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, five Air Medals, the Aerial Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal. Major Peterson is married to Lt. Col. Stefanie Peterson of Fairfield, California.
Kevin Biggins is a writer and comedian who grew up in Oak Park and attended Oak Park elementary schools and Oak Park and River Forest High School where he developed a strong love for writing. After graduating from OPRF, Kevin went to Drake University, where he graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication. After college, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked on the films “Seabiscuit,” “Cinderella Man,” and “Million Dollar Baby” as a member of The Inflatable Crowd Company. Kevin got his break in television when he was hired as a production assistant on FOX’s hit animated series “Family Guy,” where he is now a writer/producer. His other writing credits include “Frank TV,” “Seth MacFarland’s Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy,” “Tosh. 0,” and “The Cleveland Show.” Kevin also is a stand-up comedian. In 2012, Comedy Central showcased him on “Comics to Watch,” and he performed at the channel’s New York City and South Beach comedy festivals. He and his writing partner, Travis Bowe, have created three television pilots for FOX: “Ditka,” “The Brew Crew,” and “School Of Fish,” which is in development for 2014. Kevin lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Korbi. He loves his family, his friends, the Bears, White Sox, Bulls, and OPRF.
2012 Return to Top
Linda Brubaker, M.D., M.S.
Linda Brubaker, M.D., M.S., currently is the Dean of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Brubaker is a life-long Oak Parker who grew up as the second of five children, all OPRF grads. She completed her medical training at Rush University, where she established the first division of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery in the Midwest. For nearly two decades, she directed this division, well known for high-quality clinical care, NIH-funded research productivity, educational contributions, and administrative expertise. A well-known reconstructive pelvic surgeon who has been on the cover of Chicago magazine, Dr. Brubaker has served in many prestigious professional roles, including president of the American Urogynecological Society and the Society of Gynecology Surgeons. Dr. Brubaker enjoys the variety of her work, which includes patient care, research, education, and administration.
Jeff Mauro was a ham from the beginning. Raised in a large family with four children, he competed for attention not by making his sisters cry but by making his family laugh. Jeff’s flair for the stage was discovered early, in the Roosevelt Junior High third-grade production of “Let George Do It!” From that point on, he immersed himself in the performing arts, especially at OPRF, where his talents were nurtured and blossomed. After graduating from Bradley University, he opened a deli with his cousin and instantly fell in love with cooking. At night, he satisfied his performing bug playing the role of Tony in the Chicago production of “Tony n’ Tina's Wedding.” After moving to Los Angeles in an attempt to meld his love of cooking and comedy, he married his first love, Sarah, a Chicago native, in 2005. After a few years of trying to make it in Hollywood, he enrolled in culinary school, graduated, and returned to Chicago. After three attempts, he finally landed himself on Season 7 of “Food Network Star,” which he successfully won. Jeff is now the host of Food Network's Emmy-nominated “Sandwich King” and the primetime hit “$24 in 24.”
Diana Elizabeth Jordan
Diana Elizabeth Jordan began her acting career in Chicago after graduating with a bachelors’ degree in theater and media arts from the University of Kansas. In 2001 she became the first actress with a disability receive an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. Diana has appeared in more than 30 plays, two episodes of the WB’s “7th Heaven,” a web-based series, and several short and feature films. She advocates for disability to be included in dialogues about multicultural diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. Diana serves on SAG-AFTRA’s Performers with Disabilities National Committee, and was one of the 2011 co-chairs for Inclusion in the Arts and Media for People with Disabilities Campaign. Diana is a motivational speaker at schools, colleges, and social service organizations. She also has been a volunteer mentor for National Disability Mentoring Day. Diana developed and ran performing arts summer camps for youth with disabilities for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; her students have appeared in more than 850 roles in film and television.
2011 Return to Top
Iris Krasnow was born and raised in Oak Park. She is a nationally known author and keynote speaker specializing in relationships and personal growth. A graduate of Stanford University, she became the fashion writer for the DallasTimes Herald, then moved to United Press International in Washington, D.C. to become the national feature writer. In her several years at UPI, Krasnow specialized in celebrity profiles, including Yoko Ono,Billy Graham, Ted Kennedy and Queen Noor of Jordan. Iris is the bestselling author of Surrendering to Motherhood, Surrendering to Marriage, Surrendering to Yourself and I Am My Mother's Daughter. Her new book, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married, was published by Penguin Books in October 2011. Her writing has been featured in many national publications, including Parade, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. Krasnow has been a guest on numerous national television and radio programs including twice on Oprah. Iris is a journalism professor at American University in Washington, D.C. and is the mother of four sons. She encourages you to connect with her on: www.iriskrasnow.com
Philip Radford is the Executive Director of Greenpeace. At the helm of one of the most influential environmental organizations in the country, he leads a national team of 500 environmental leaders working in 23 cities on national and global campaigns to protect our planet’s oceans, forests, and climate.
With his roots in local organizing and fundraising, Phil has always specialized in mobilizing people to raise their voices for the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet for our children. Phil began his environmental career as a student organizing the shutdown of incinerators on the West Side of Chicago.
As Greenpeace’s Grassroots and National Canvass Director, his team doubled the agency’s U.S. budget, quadrupled its staff, launched a national student organizing program, and created an online to offline mobilization program.
Over the past decade, Phil has managed several high-impact national campaigns, including Global Warming 2000, which convinced Senator John McCain to take leadership on global warming and The Global Climate Coalition Campaign that forced major corporations to stop funding an industry front-group supporting global warming skeptics. He persuaded Citigroup and more than a dozen communities to make investments in clean energy.
He is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, NBC, and ABC News, Phil has a degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and a certificate in Non-profit Management from Georgetown University.
2010 Return to Top
Kevin Sorensen, Class of 1985, is a stuntman from Oak Park, Illinois. He grew up working in the movie industry for his Dad, Gilbert Sorensen, doing numerous commercials and industrial films. After graduating from OPRFHS, Kevin spent four months in California learning how to perform stunts. Upon returning from California, Kevin enrolled at Columbia College pursuing a career in film, television and radio. His passion for stunts led him to follow his dream as a stuntman. While working as a part-time OPRF custodian on and off, Kevin also performed with a traveling stunt show across the United States for two years in the late 80's. He came back to work as a full-time custodian in 1993 while launching his career as a stuntman in the movie, Groundhog Day. He continued to perform stunts in television shows such as Easy Street, Turks, Early Edition (stunt double for Ron Dean), Prison Break, Ride Along and ATF. His film career also included numerous films, including Natural Born Killers, The Jackal, Mercury Rising, Death of a President, Fred Claus, Wanted, Public Enemies, On the Road to Perdition, Stranger Than Fiction, The Lake House, Witless Protection (stunt double for Larry the Cable Guy), Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (winner of The Screen Actors Guild for "Best Stunt Ensemble"). Kevin Sorensen, an OPRFHS custodian for 21 years, continues to follow his dreams as a stuntman. Always looking for the next big stunt!
Warren Trezevant is a Character Animator and Creative Lead for the 360 group at Pixar Animation Studios. Hired in 1995, Warren helped animate seven of Pixar’s feature films: A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille. In addition to successfully bringing characters to life on the big screen, Warren expanded his role at Pixar by creating the ‘Toy Story Zoetrope,’ an updated version of an 18th century ‘illusion of movement’ device that pre-dates cinema and animation. The Toy Story Zoetrope premiered as part of the Pixar: 20 years of Animation exhibit, which opened at the New York Museum of Modern Art. By introducing Pixar to a new technology in the form of 3D printing, Warren took animation he created on the computer and printed each frame as a unique dimensional figurine. The Zoetrope gives the illusion that these figurines are springing to life right in front of your eyes. As part of the touring Pixar exhibit, the Zoetrope has been showcased in leading museums throughout the world in England, Japan, Scotland, Australia, Finland, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, and Oakland. Two additional Zoetropes were permanently installed at the Disney California Adventure theme park in California and Hong Kong Disneyland. Continuing the exploration of computer animation and dimensional figures, Warren helped animate the animatronic versions of Pixar's WALL-e and Luxo Jr. characters. Warren is currently working with the software teams at Pixar to help design and implement a renovation of their production software to improve the process of animating for feature films.
2009 Return to Top
Tom Lennon is currently an actor/comedian who writes for and stars in the popular T.V. show "Reno 911". He has a long list of successful acting, writing, directing and producing credits, including "Night at the Museum", "Herbie Fully Loaded" and the current comedy film, "17 Again".
In 1977, Warren Buckmaster developed the first solar home. He then developed an energy conserving tract of homes in Hemet, California, called Blue Skies Radiant Homes. His concept for home energy efficiency was a precursor to today’s green initiatives and has been featured nationally in televised documentaries, newspapers and magazines.
Aaron Parchem represented the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Pairs Figure Skating. Aaron was the first African-American male figure skater to skate in the Olympic Games.
2008 Return to Top
Former President of Music/New Line Cinema, overseeing music or many films, including Austin Powers, Wag the Dog, Blow, I am Sam; executive music producer for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, winning 3 Oscar nominations for music. Launched his career as assistant engineer on Apocalypse Now to famed Sound Designer, Walter Murch. Currently producer/consultant on music productions, working with record producer Salaam Remi and as executive producer for musical score of Laundry Warrior.
Youngest Music Director of Dick Clark’s live Good Ol’ Rock & Roll Show, performing w/ artists like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beach Boys. He is a noted voice over artist, and created “Let Freedom Sing” one-man show, benefiting NY firefighters in 9/11 aftermath. His 101st Rock Division band entertains troops in Mideast and his Forgotten Hero Foundation produces entertainment for veterans. Board member/ Director, National American Veterans Museum.
2007 Return to Top
Charles P. Carey
Three consecutive terms, Chairman/ Chicago Board of Trade, transitioning it to a NY Stock Exchange-listed public company; Anti-Defamation Leagues’ Lifetime of Achievement Award; Ellis Island Medal of Honor award; Rerum Novarum Award; President of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame; Distinguished Alumni Award – Western Illinois University.
Silver Medalist and long-jump record holder in the Paralympic Gammes (2000 Sydney); manager of the U.S. Olympic Committee's (USOC) Paralympic Academy, Director of USOC Paralympic Sports Military Program; NCAA All-American honors winner; U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal
2006 Return to Top
Jayne Carr Thompson
Former first lady of Illinois; noted public affairs specialist and public relations practitioner, as well as former trial and appellate lawyer; severed three Illinois governors on issues on issues relating to health and human service systems and status of women.
Sara Giddings Bode
Recipient of Rudy Bruner Award for “excellence in the urban environment;” served on boards of Michigan Avenue National Bank and the First Bank of Americas monitoring red-lining; Mayor Daley’s Task Force on Welfare Reform; former president of Village of Oak Park board and Director of the Oak Park Development Corporation.
Terry C. Isaacson
Vice Provost at Arizona State University, overseeing the conversion of the former military base in to the vibrant university campus now serving 6,500 students; U.S. Air Force career of 27 years, holding many command positions, include Wing Commander at Williams AFB.
Elected to Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1964; partnered w;/ George Halas in development of National Football League, playing 13 seasons w/ the Chicago Bears; coached Green Bay Packers.
Mr. McAdam, a Registered Landscape Architect/Horticulture Specialist and President of McAdam Landscaping, Inc. for more than 26 years, has been responsible for the design of more than 1,500 commercial and residential installations. Mr. McAdam served as President of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) in 1992/1993 and received the ILCA’s Man of the Year Award. He continues to be a supporting member of the Chicago Department of Environment Greencorps Program and has served as a member of the University of Illinois Horticultural Advisory Board. He is a member of the Chicago Flower and Garden Show board and of the American Nursery and Landscape Association’s Information Technology Committee.
2005 Return to Top
Paul Harvey Aurandt, Jr.
Creator, Producer, and writer of the longest-running and most popular series in radio history, “The Rest of the Story®”. Inducted into the Radio Hall of fame in 2001.
Co-founder of the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Foundation and the Superintendent of KIPP Houston.
Patricia S. Paulsen
Served as the President of the League of Women Voters and in 1973, she became the first woman elected as a Trustee of the Village of Flossmoor.
Versatile film composer with compositions including piano melodies of “Confession of A Dangerous Mind", orchestral chases of “Hollywood Homicide", the Emmy-nominated HBO film “Normal”, and soulful melodies combined with ethereal orchestrations for “March of the Penguins”.
2004 Return to Top
E. Paul Braucher
Graduated from West Point Military Academy, MIT, and George Washington University. He went on to a distinguished 30-year career in U.S. Army and achieved the rank of Brigadier General in 1970.
Has been a member of the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater and has performed in several performances at the Civic Center for Performing Arts in Chicago under the artistic director, Randy Duncan.
Gregory V. Fera
Film and Television
Producer, writer and director. Among his many films and television shows are “Mysterious Ways,” “Muppets Tonight,” and “News in Revue.” Additionally, he has produced music videos for the Rolling Stones and Elton John.
Astronomer at the Bemini Observatory, Hilo ,Hawaii. He co-discovered Quaoar, a rock and ice planetoid residing in the Keiper Belt.
2003 Return to Top
Graduated the top of his class from Harvard Law School in 1988. He went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and is currently a Professor of Law at Harvard University.
Has been the weekend morning anchor at CLTV in Chicago and is now a reporter for ABC 7 in Chicago
Has been a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1997.
Founder and Director of the Boston Baroque. This group is internationally acclaimed and has been nominated three times for the Grammy Award.
2002 Return to Top
Stewart Goldman, M.D.
Currently is the Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine and Medical Director of Neuro-Oncology at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Was on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Softball Team that won the Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta, Georgia
2001 Return to Top
Laura Kragie, M.D.
Current Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington D.C.
Jacqueline Schiff Nemerovski
Served as President of the San Francisco Arts Commission, Chair of the San Francisco Education Fund, and Former Associate Director of Development of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
2000 Return to Top
Accomplished physician and teacher.
Elsie Lunde Jacobsen
Reporter and news anchor
? Architectural History
Edited the “AIA Guide to Chicago” / written several pieces on historical buildings in Chicago.
1999 Return to Top
Amy Ellen Anderson
Sang with the Aldeburgh Festival, appeared with Aspen Opera Theatre and the Bronx Opera
Writer for Chicago Tribune’s “Food Guide” and “Feeling Good”
Percy Lavon Julian, Jr.
Specializes in Civil Rights Cases
Professor of Medicine. Oncologist known for her breast cancer research
1998 Return to Top
Richard C. Atkinson
Member of National Academy of Sciences / President of the University of California system.
Anthony T. Browder
Founder/Director of the Institute of Karmic Guidance / Historian specializing in Egyptology.
Former president and CEO of Follett Corporation / Community Service.
James J. McClure, Jr.
President, Village of Oak Park 1973-81 / Who’s Who in America.
1997 Return to Top
Wallace S. Broecker
Distinguished scientist and researcher in geochemistry. Noted professor and author of numerous textbooks. Exceptional leader in earth sciences.
Clissold (Budd) Hill
Noted costume designer and researcher from Broadway to TV commercials to regional theatre. Specializes in Shakespearean and other classical plays. University of Delaware instructor in costume design.
1996 Return to Top
Thomas G. Colmey
Distinguished local physician
John W. McCarter
Director of Field Museum, Chicago
David A. Morowitz
Distinguished physician in Gastroenterology, author, and photographer.
Lewis R. Pope
Outstanding business leader
1995 Return to Top
Lincoln S. Dring, Jr.
Outstanding business leader.
Banta Book Award / PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award
Carol Warner Shields
Pulitzer Prize in Literature, 1995
Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
1994 Return to Top
Performed with “Second City” and is the voice of Homer Simpson on the TV show “The Simpsons” .
Marjorie Judith Vincent
1991 Miss America
Traveled throughout the world as an Ambassador of Goodwill.
1993 Return to Top
William J. Adelman
Professor, Labor and Industrial Relations, University of Illinois-Chicago / Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
Clerk of the Village of Oak Park, 1973-1993 / Served as advisor to the presidents of Rosary and Concordia Colleges / Board Member of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.
Vida Brown Olinick
Prominent ballerina of the 1940’s and 1950’s / One of Balanchine’s major dancers and served as his assistant.
1992 Return to Top
Allen D. Moses
Loren M. Smith
John V. Wehausen
Marcelline Hemingway Sanford
Arts and Letters
1991 Return to Top
Missionary in Thailand
William F. May
Dean of the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration, 1980- 84 / Chairman and CEO of American Can Company, 1965 – 1980 / Chairman and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Academy Award nominee (The Color of Money)
Pulitzer Prize in Poetry,1990 : "The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems -1989"
1990 Return to Top
Prima Ballerina – New York City Ballet
Roberta L. Raymond
Executive Director, Oak Park Housing Center / Board of Directors, National Federation for Neighborhood Diversity / Community Merit Award (OPDC), 1987 / Award for High Achievement in Social Services presented by the National Organization of Women, 1990.
Professor, Florida International University / Global 500 Honour for Environmental Achievement, 1987 (UNE of Rome
Edward C. Wagenknecht
Professor Emeritus, Boston University, Who’s Who in America / Featured Reviewer, Chicago Sunday Tribune / Principal Biographer: Lillian Gish, Geraldine Farrar, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain.
1989 Return to Top
President, ABC Communications, Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. / President’s Volunteer Action Award, 1987 / Illinois State Broadcaster of the Year, 1978.
Kermit E. Krantz
Professor and Chairman, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Professor of Anatomy and Lecturer – History of Medicine, University of Kansas.
Executive Director, Global Tomorrow Coalition / Former Foreign Service Officer / National Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
Senior Member of Howard, Rice, Nemerovksi, Canady, Robertson and Falk / Board of Trustees, American Conservatory Theatre / Board of Trustees, San Francisco Chamber Symphony / White House Fellow, 1965-1966 .
1988 Return to Top
Political Editor, Chicago Sun-Times, 1942-1972 / Marshall Field Award – Editorials / Outstanding Contribution to the Newspaper Industry, Chicago Newspaper Guild / Distinguished Service Award, Chicago Press Veterans.
Ambassador, United States Department of State / Superior Honor Award, Department of State.
Dean, University of Chicago Law School, 1963-1975 / Chairman, White House Task Force on Antitrust Laws, 1968 / Professor, Stanford Law School, 1949-1961 / United States Supreme Court Law Clerk, 1943-45 / Director, American Bar Association, 1963 – 1977
Associate Majority Counsel, US Senate – Committee on the Environment / President, Stanford Environment Law Society / Director, Conference of Western Attorneys General, 1984-85 / President’s Environmental Merit Award, 1972.
1987 Return to Top
Athletic Director, University of Michigan / United States Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Chief, Clinical Laboratories, Atomic Bomb / Casualty Commission, Hiroshima, Japan / International Who’s Who of Contemporary Achievement / Science Award, United States National Academy of Science
Curator, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institute / Fellow of the Linnean Society (FLS), London / Honorary Associate, Botanical Society of Brazil
1986 Return to Top
Harry John Brown
Distinguished Professor, SUNY, Fredonia, New York / Founder, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra / Founder, Chautauqua Civic Orchestra, New York
Robert L. Kroc
President, Kroc Foundation / Director of Physiology, Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Research Institute /Humanitarian Award, Juvenile Diabetes / Found International, 1984
Professor Emeritus, Library Science, University of Illinois / Former President, Illinois Library Association / Rockefeller Grant, University of Keio, Tokyo, Japan
CBS News Correspondent / Peabody Award, 1977 / Emmy Award, 1971, 1974
1985 Return to Top
Edith Heal Berrien
Author, Professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Chairman and CEO, Dean Foods Corporation / Director, Centel Corporation / Director, Milk Industry Foundation.
Faith Jefferson Jones
Dean of Women, Hampton Institute / Director, Parkway Community House.
Professor, Physical Anthropology, Graduate School of Medicine,University of Pennsylvania / Director, Philadelphia Center for Research in Child Growth.
1984 Return to Top
Thomas F. Barnum
Chairman and Division Executive, Citicorp Services / Senior Advisor on International Trade to the United States Secretary of Commerce.
Entertainment Editor, Chicago Tribune
Guggenheim Fellowship / One-man Show, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1963 / First Prize – Fiction, American Film Festival.
Prentice H. Marshall
Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.
1983 Return to Top
Founder, Batten, Barton, Dustine & Osborne, Inc (One of the largest and Award winning (CLIO) Advertising agencies in the world. United States Congressman, 1937-1941 (Representing Manhatten district , New York).
May Estelle Cook
A Founder of the 19th Century Woman’s Club / Author, "Little Old Oak Park".
Frederick J. Doyle
1st Chairman, Department of Geodetic Science, Ohio State University, 1959 / NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, 1971. President of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (1980-1984) http://www.oprf.com/oprfhist/doylef.htm
Walter Burley Griffin
1ST member of Chicago School of Architecture to be awarded a foreign commission for the plan of new Australian capital, Canberra.
Nobel Prize, Literature 1954, Pulitzer Prize, Fiction 1953.
Founder, Chicago Heart Association /Founder, Chicago Society of Internal Medicine.
Founder, McDonald’s Corporation
John La Montaine
Pulitzer Prize, Music 1959
Emmy Award Winner, Directors of American Award. Bette Davis called him, "The finest director in television,"