North Central College - Naperville, IL

Harold "Joe" Pletcher

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1987

After graduating from North Central, Harold “Joe” Pletcher served two years in the U.S. Army as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Then in 1954, he joined the First National Bank of Chicago and later retired as senior vice president in charge of real estate in 2000. During that time, Pletcher received a J.D. degree from John Marshall Law School in 1962 and a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago in 1974. In 2000, he founded PMC Associates, a real estate consulting firm. Pletcher has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the University of Chicago Executive Club, Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association. He served as chairman of the board for Southeast Holding Company, Ltd. He was also a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Illinois Bar Association, Naperville Sesquicentennial Ball Committee, DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals, Naperville Heritage Society, Grace United Methodist Church and Who’s Who in Real Estate. At North Central College, Pletcher was a member of the Alumni Board, Board of Trustees and founding member of the Mentor Club.

George Picha

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1994

George Picha is an involved citizen of Rockford, Ill., in many ways. He is a senior partner at Picha and Salisbury Law Firm where he practices exclusively in the area of workers’ compensation law. He’s also a member of the workers’ compensation committee of the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association and serves as a technical advisor for proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act. He has been an author and lecturer for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education courses on workers compensation law and was appointed to the Illinois Industrial Commission. In addition to his leadership responsibilities at both the county and state levels, he’s currently serving on the public policy steering committee of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce. In 1997, Picha was the recipient of the Paul Revere Award for Business Advocacy by the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jeffrey J. Oesterle

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1995

Jeff Oesterle has been on the North Central College Board of Trustees since 1995. After graduating from North Central College with a degree in biology, Oesterle was a telephone executive from 1976 to1988. In 1987, he became a property manager and developer and is currently the owner of Plaza Properties in Highland, Ind. Community service is very important to Oesterle. He is currently president of the Rotary Club of Hammond, Ind. He was the foundation president of that city’s Parks Foundation from 2003-04, vice-president of the Lake County Indiana Court House Foundation since 1997, and a delegate of the YMCA with the USA National Convocation in 2003. Oesterle was awarded the Hammond Jaycees DSA in 1985 and JCI Senator in 1991 and named a life member of North Central’s Presidents Club in 1998. In 2004, he received the YMCA of the Hammond Area Lifetime of Service Award along with his father, Clare Oesterle ’39.

Richard G. Norenberg

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1989

Richard Norenberg, now a Life Trustee of North Central College has been on the Trustee Board since 1984, serving as Board Chair from 2001-2004. He received his M.D. from the Illinois College of Medicine in 1959. He further specialized as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon and is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. After 35 years of medical practice in St. Petersburg, Fla.—including appointments as hospital chief of staff and chairman of the department of surgery—he “retired” from private practice in 1998. He has continued to utilize his medical skills in a variety of endeavors, including a sports medicine fellowship; director of the Wound Healing Clinic at St. Anthony’s Hospital; flight physician with Fixed Wing Air Ambulance Company; and preceptor, surgical clinics teaching program at Bayfront Medical Center. He is also a consulting thoracic surgeon at BayPines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fl.

Michele Tozer Kenaga

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1993

Michele Kenaga is vice president for compensation and international human resource development with responsibility for more than 24,000 Champion employees worldwide. Since joining Champion in 1974, Kenaga has handled a wide range of responsibilities within the human resources function—ranging from labor relations, loss prevention and training to recruiting and salary and benefit administration. She led a task force which researched, designed and implemented one of the first corporate-sponsored child care programs in Connecticut. Kenaga also led the development of the company’s flexible benefits program. She has served on the Human Resource Advisory Board at the University of South Carolina, Women in Management, and is also an honorary member of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center of Fairfield County. A recipient of an M.B.A. from Roosevelt University, Kenaga was elected to North Central’s Board of Trustees in 1998.

Roger F. Hruby

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1995

Entrepreneur Roger Hruby, chairman and CEO of CFC International Inc., a leading chemical specialty company, is also chairman of North Central College’s Board of Trustees. CFC International, Inc. formulates, manufactures and sells chemically complex, transferable, multi-layer coatings, and is a leading supplier in many of the worldwide markets it serves. Principal markets for CFC’s products are heat transfer printing for intravenous solution bags, magnetic strips for ATM/credit cards and wood grain laminates for the furniture industry. CFC is also the leading supplier of holograms used to authenticate brand name software, merchandise, credit cards, event tickets, and other applications requiring protection against unauthorized copying or counterfeiting. In 1998, Hruby was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” and became a member of the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame in the Chicago Area. In 1996, Hruby and his wife, Nadeane, created an endowed scholarship fund to help working undergraduates. Hruby has been a College Trustee since 1991.

Nicholas Hood

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1996

Rev. Nicholas Hood has been a pastor, a central figure in the United Church of Christ, and a leader in Detroit. He was also the first African-American to receive a degree from North Central College. In November, 1965, Hood became the second African-American to be elected to the City Council of Detroit, serving for 28 years. He was a founding member of Southern Christian Leadership Council with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was the founder of Cyprian Center and the Cyprian Foundation, whose chief mission is to serve developmentally disabled persons. He received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Yale University Divinity School in 1974.

David C. Harr

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1989

David C. Harr served in the diplomatic service of the U.S. Department of State. The Diplomatic Service Officer Corps is a competitive career service, and each year approximately 200 men and women are accepted from 8,000 to 10,000 applicants. Diplomatic service officers are commissioned by the United States Senate. Harr served in Nepal and also in DaNang, Vietnam, until 1975 when he returned to the United States and served in relocation camps in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. He then studied language for a three-year tour of duty at Sri Lanka and Burma. He was chief officer in Myanmar/Mandalay, Burma, for 18 months, and first officer in the Burmese capital, Yangon, (Rangoon) for another year and a half.

Harris W. Fawell

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Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1973

The Honorable Harris Fawell, a Trustee of North Central since 1985, served with distinction in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985-1999, representing the 13th District of Illinois. Fawell received his pre-law education at North Central and his doctor of law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago. He practiced law for 30 years, with offices in Naperville, prior to his election to Congress in 1985. In 1995, Fawell was chosen to deliver the Commencement address at the College and was awarded the honorary degree doctor of laws. Upon his retirement, Fawell donated his public papers to North Central, and the College established the Fawell Institute in his honor, an important resource for students of the history and public policy of the Western Suburbs in the 20th Century. The College is also grateful for his service as co-chair of the five-year $50 million Preparing for a New Century Capital Campaign, now successfully completed. In 2003, Fawell was named Life Trustee of North Central.

Susan Kohn Eddins

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1991

Susan Kohn Eddins ’70 has remained very active in local, state and national professional organizations. Since receiving the Outstanding Alumni Award, she has served the Council of Presidential Awardees in Mathematics, working on the scholarship committee. Eddins has also worked on the New Standards Project, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), the Illinois Academic Standards writing team, the Chicago Academic Standards writing team, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards revision team for AYA Mathematics certification. She is in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (1992-present) and has received several excellence in teaching awards.

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