North Central College - Naperville, IL

Leota Buss Ester

Class Year: 
1951

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2001

In 1986, entrepreneur Leota Bus Ester founded Landmark Temporary Services (later Landmark, The Staffing Resource) in Appleton, Wisc., and subsequently, opened Landmark offices in Oshkosh, Neenah, and Green Bay. On its 10th Anniversary in 1996, Landmark employed more than 700 women and men in office positions throughout the area and more than 50 in-house staffers. Ester has been a member of the Fox Valley Chapter, Women in Management; the National Association of Staffing Services; the Independent Professional Staffing Services (TIPSS); Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce; and the Rotary Club. She has been an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA); a trustee of North Central College since 1999; and interim executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Fox Valley. She has earned numerous sales awards from Management Recruiters International and the Mentor-of-the-Year award from the Fox Valley chapter of Women in Management.


Rolland "Rollie" Ferch

Class Year: 
1941

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2001

Rolland “Rollie” Ferch has served a total of 60 years as a minister in the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, which included 10 pastorates and a chaplaincy for United Methodists for Madison Hospitals. During his pastoral tenure, he served many leadership roles. His service to the community includes membership in the Wisconsin Conference Board of Missions, the Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis Clubs throughout Wisconsin, the Lions Club of Menomonie, Wisc., and the Optimist Club of Sauk City, Wis.


Eric Bartel

Class Year: 
1986

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2001

Eric Bartel is an orthopedic surgeon currently on staff at Fox Valley Orthopedic Institute. He is the team physician for the Kane County Cougars, Chicago Freeze and the football teams at Geneva High School. In 2000, he was inducted into the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is also a member of the American Medical Association, American Medical Student Association and the Academy of Family Physicians. In 1998, he was published in both the Annals of Internal Medicine and Operative Techniques in Orthopedics. Dr. Bartel volunteers at the Lazarus House in St. Charles, Ill., and serves on the Delnor Hospital Men’s Foundation board of directors and North Central College’s Alumni Committee of the Campaign to Endow Student Research Science.


Suzanne Erzinger Hallam

Class Year: 
1987

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2002

Suzanne Erzinger Hallam became a full-time mom to her two sons after working nine years at Information Resources Inc., a marketing research firm in Chicago. She is a school volunteer and one of the chairpersons for the Flossmoor Community Church Parent Education Group. She coordinates the local women’s social organization and plans the neighborhood block and holiday parties.


Peter Hallam

Class Year: 
1987

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2002

Peter Hallam graduated third in his class, summa cum laude, from John Marshall Law School. After law school, he became a litigation associate with the Chicago firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Today, Hallam is a partner in the firm and litigates a broad range of commercial lawsuits, real estate matters and general corporate disputes. He frequently lectures on real estate litigation topics.


Joseph E. Birkett

Class Year: 
1977

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Joseph Birkett was sworn in as DuPage County state’s attorney in 1996, and has been re-elected to two consecutive four-year terms. Throughout his career, he has assisted with training junior prosecutors and has received numerous awards and commendations for his public service. He received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1981 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar later that same year. He became an assistant states attorney in DuPage County in 1981. In 1985, he was promoted to chief of the Major Crimes Unit and the next year was named deputy chief of the Criminal Division. He served from 1991-96 as the Chief of the Criminal Division. He is a member of several professional organizations and is also an adjunct faculty member at National Louis University in Wheaton, Ill.


Barbara Schroeder Rehn

Class Year: 
1957

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Barbara Rehn has dedicated more than 40 years to the profession of teaching piano to students of all ages. She maintains a weekly studio of 45 students, many of whom participate and place in the Wisconsin State Music Association contests for which she has served as a volunteer accompanist for many years. Her most rewarding experiences have been developing lasting relationships with each of her students. Rehn is an active member of Community United Methodist Church of Elm Grove, Wis., and a loyal volunteer and supporter of North Central. She has assisted with recruiting high school students and organized Milwaukee area alumni gatherings on behalf of the College. She has served on the Alumni Board and has been a class representative for more than 40 years.


Al Benedetti

Class Year: 
1948

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

A native of Chicago, Al Benedetti joined the family residential construction business in 1951, assuming the presidency of Bruno Benedetti and Sons in 1963. Benedetti served on the boards of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce for nine years and the Northern Illinois Home Builders Association for six years. Almost 30 years ago, along with the help of other college supporters, Benedetti and Dick Wehrli ’56 performed what the Chicago Tribune referred to as the $18,000 Miracle in Naperville, together transporting and re-constructing the old St. Louis Cardinals stadium on North Central’s south campus.
Benedetti has been a College Trustee since 1988 and was named Life Trustee in 2002. He was also chairman of the 1986 committee that assisted with efforts to complete the renovation of Merner Field House and is a former Alumni Board member. He continues to serve as a North Central College Trustee. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Gael D. Swing Award for Meritorious Service.

Deceased.


Dorcas Mae Lepien Toenniges Pearcy

Class Year: 
1947

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Dorcas Percy was a savvy business woman who ran Toenniges Jewelers, Inc., for more than 50 years. She recently moved to Wisconsin but continues to travel. While residing in Naperville, Pearcy was an active community volunteer who served breakfast twice a month at PADS and Katharine Manor. She sang with the Naperville Woman’s Club Chorus and was also a member of New Horizons, the 55 Years and Older Band at Benedictine University. She also directed the Community United Methodist Church Choir for many years. Pearcy has traveled to the Philippines and Africa with Heifer Project International and continues to volunteer through its Chicago branch. In 1998, she published the book Facets of Dorcas, Memoirs, which includes a chapter about North Central College.


Obrad Kesic

Class Year: 
1988

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2003

Obrad Kesic is a senior partner with TSM Global Consultants LLC, a Washington, D.C. firm providing business consulting services and government affairs representation to American companies interested in doing business with Russia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. TSM also offers the same services to international companies interested in doing business with the United States. Kesic has enjoyed a successful and wide-ranging career in international relations. In 1999, he traveled to Yugoslavia with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition to assist in negotiations for the release of three U.S. prisoners of war held by the Yugoslav Army. The group was successful and Kesic received the Rainbow Coalition/Operation Push Peace Award for his assistance in this successful mission. Kesic has authored more than three dozen essays, articles and research papers. Kesic has served as commentator and analyst for American and international media including CNN, 60 Minutes, BBC, NPR and The Lehrer News Hour.


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