North Central College - Naperville, IL

Beth Thomas Zimmerman

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2008

Beth Thomas ’63 Zimmerman is a distinguished nursing professional and trustee of North Central College. A clinical nurse specialist for pediatric surgery at the world-renowned University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, Beth coordinates nursing care for children and teens experiencing minimally invasive surgery.

After pursuing a degree in elementary education from North Central College, Beth completed a bachelor of science degree at Eastern Michigan University and her master’s degree in nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked with the high risk infant and family program at the University of Chicago Hospitals and as a neonatal intensive care nurse at Wyler Children’s Hospital.

A member of the American Pediatric Surgery Nurses Association, Beth served as president-elect with the Association’s board of directors and as treasurer and finance chairman. From 2002-2004, Beth was president of North Central’s alumni board of directors.

K. Darrell Berlin

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2008

K. Darrell Berlin ’55, a distinguished scientist, inventor and author, is the first Regents Professor named at Oklahoma State University and a special consultant to the National Institutes of Health.

After graduating from North Central College, Darrell attended the University of Illinois and earned a Ph.D. in 1958. He also worked as a post doctoral fellow at the University of Florida from 1958-1960. Over the years, Darrell received numerous honors and awards for his teaching and outstanding research accomplishments. He is an inventor with 27 patents and has written a textbook. His research group has published more than 300 papers in technical journals, and he is on the editorial boards of two international chemistry journals.

In the late 1990s, Darrell and his wife Gracie established the Darrell and Gracie Berlin Scholarship for North Central College science majors.

Dale Grantman

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2008

Dale Grantman ’50 has distinguished himself for his successful business career, dedication to service and his loyal support of his alma mater. After graduating from North Central College, Dale served in the U.S. Navy from 1951-1953. He is a former co-owner of Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Red Wing, MN, and previously served as president and owner of Campbell’s Nutrition Centers in Des Moines, IA, from 1957-1995.

In addition to his career, Dale found time to volunteer with many service clubs in Des Moines as president of Exchange Club of Red Wing and as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Red Wing. Dale is also a former member of North Central College’s alumni board of directors. In 2006, Dale and his brother James created the Grantman Endowment with a gift of $1.5 million to North Central College. Dale and Virginia Klein ’51 Grantman have also supported the renovation of Old Main and other endowed scholarships.

Satyan Devadoss

Class Year: 

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2008

Satyan Devadoss ’93, a distinguished educator and mathematician, is associate professor of mathematics at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where he has taught courses in computational geometry, geometric group theory and knot theory since 2002. His research has ranged from particle collisions and polyhedra in mathematics to origami design and cartography in computer science, to manufacturing and modeling in studio art. Satyan received his doctor of philosophy in mathematics in 1999 from Johns Hopkins University, where he was awarded the University’s William Kelso Morrill Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was a Ross Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University and has received two National Science Foundation grants during his career.

In 2007, Satyan was awarded the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by the Mathematical Association of America, which honors a college or university faculty member whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics has proven influential beyond the classroom.

Tallulah Fisher Williams

Class Year: 

Wall of Witness Award Winner 2008

The late Reverend Dr. Tallulah Fisher ’74 Williams is being honored for her leadership in the United Methodist Church. She graduated from North Central College in 1974 and earned a master of divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston. She received a doctor of ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. She accomplished many “firsts” in the Northern Illinois Conference, including the first African-American woman to be a district superintendent and the first African-American female pastor appointed to serve a predominantly white suburban church.

Tallulah was known as an excellent preacher and was elected chair of the national Black Methodists for Church Renewal, giving four national keynote addresses. But she didn’t forget her close connections to North Central, returning to campus as a speaker for a Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast and maintaining contact with alumni and friends. Tallulah was elected as a delegate to the 2000 United Methodist General Conference on the first ballot and was nominated for bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference but passed away June, 20, 1999. Many felt she would have been elected bishop.


Holly Humphrey

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2009

Holly Humphrey ’79, M.D., has achieved national recognition as a leader in the field of medical education and serves as dean for medical education at The University of Chicago. She oversees the education of students in the Pritzker School of Medicine and residents and fellows in graduate programs at The University Medical Center.

A Trustee of North Central College, Crain’s Chicago Business featured her in 2009 as one of its “Women to Watch.” Under her leadership, the Pritzker School of Medicine has soared in its selectivity as reported by U.S. News & World Report, rising from 41st to third, compared to all medical schools nationally. She has also increased the percentage of under-represented minority students in each medical school class.

Holly’s expertise is widely sought and she has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, The University of Pennsylvania, Washington University and Georgetown University. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Hilger Perry Jenkins Teaching Award at The University of Chicago, and been honored 17 times by graduating students as one of their favorite faculty teachers.

After graduating summa cum laude from North Central, Holly earned her M.D. with honors from The University of Chicago. She continued there in an internal medicine residency, followed by a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine. She served as chief medical resident before joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1989, thus beginning a 14-year appointment as director of the internal medicine residency program. She moved to the dean’s office in 2003.

She has authored more than 60 publications and has served as chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and as president of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine. Her career achievements led to her becoming the first clinician educator faculty member to earn tenure at The University of Chicago.

Holly is married to Duane Follman ’79, a cardiologist practicing in Hinsdale, Ill.

Donald Wolfensberger

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2009

Donald Wolfensberger ’64 is a senior scholar on public policy and congressional procedures after a distinguished career in the halls of Congress. A recognized expert on parliamentary rules and procedures, he played a key role in the House reform proposals implemented during the 104th U.S. Congress, after Republicans took control of the majority in 1995. After 28 years as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives, in June 1999 he became director of the Congress Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has published Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). While at North Central, Don earned his B.A. in English and held editorial positions on The Chronicle and The Spectrum. After graduation, he earned an M.A. in political science at the University of Iowa and then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa, from 1967-1968, which he describes as a “life-changing experience.”

In 1969, Don was appointed legislative assistant to his own congressman, U.S. Rep. John B. Anderson (R-Ill.). He joined the House Rules Committee staff as Anderson’s subcommittee counsel in 1979 and subsequently served on the committee as subcommittee counsel to U.S. Rep. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and U.S. Rep. Lynn Martin (R-Ill.). In 1991, he was named Republican staff director of the Rules Committee and in 1995 he was named chief of staff on the committee. He currently writes a twice-monthly column, “Procedural Politics,” for the popular Capitol Hill Newspaper, Roll Call. He lectures frequently on Congress to student groups, foreign diplomats and executive branch officials. Don and his wife, Monty Tripp, live in Arlington, Va.

John Novak

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2009

John Novak’s ’64 reputation for integrity and fiscal responsibility was endorsed seven times by voters during his extraordinary three-decade tenure as DuPage County Treasurer. He retired as the “dean of Illinois treasurers” in November 2006. A past president of the Illinois County Treasurers Association who was honored in 1995 as the County Official of the Year, John majored in business administration at North Central and was an All-American in wrestling. After graduation, he worked as an admission counselor and head wrestling coach at his alma mater until leaving to work for IBM. He was appointed Treasurer of DuPage County in 1977 following the indictment, conviction and removal of his predecessor. John  restored public confidence to the office and dramatically improved the processing, collection, payment and investment of tax funds.

John has served in a variety of other public service roles, including past chairman of the treasurers affiliate group of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers; as a member of the State of Illinois Pension Laws Commission; and as sub-chair of the State of Illinois Department of Revenue Recodification committee. In addition, John was a board member on his local community’s Police Pension Board from 1990-1999 and, in 1998, was elected to the Illinois Municipal Retirement board of trustees and served as chairman of its investment committee until his retirement.

John has remained active with his alma mater and in 2006 became a member of the Board of Trustees. John and his wife Marcy reside in Lombard, Ill.

Richard Tholin

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2009

The Reverend Dr. Richard Tholin ’49 is a distinguished scholar and leader in seminary education, including long service as vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has been recognized for his leadership in the United Methodist Church (UMC) and as a community activist focused on peace and justice, affordable housing and the abolition of nuclear weapons. After North Central College, Richard earned a bachelor of divinity from Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1952, a master’s degree in world mission in 1960 and a doctorate in Christian ethics in 1967 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His career path included serving as pastor of Diversey Parkway Evangelical United Brethren Church, Chicago (1952-1959) before going on to become a teacher, administrator and senior scholar at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Special recognitions in the UMC include election as a delegate to the General Conference four times and membership on the General Board of Church and Society (1968-1976). As a member of the General Board of Global Ministries (1976-1984), he chaired the task force that developed the Africa Church Growth and Development Program and served on its board (1977-1986).

Richard and his wife, Phyllis Eckardt ’49 Tholin, are loyal supporters of North Central and have donated their extensive collection of books on Chicago to the College. This working collection, particularly useful for students in the Chicago Term program, is housed in the Haven Hubbard room in Oesterle Library.

Gwendolyn Graff

Class Year: 

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2009

Gwendolyn Graff ’94 has distinguished herself as a leader and innovator in the confectionary industry—a real-life Willy Wonka—primarily specializing in chewing gum. In her 10-year career with Amurol and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in Chicago, Gwen has become one of the top experts in her field, with a number of patents for her innovations.

A chemistry and biology major at North Central College, Gwen first landed a position as a research chemist analyzing samples in a laboratory. In 1999, she went to work as a chemist at Amurol Confections, a subsidiary of Wrigley, doing “blue sky” or futuristic research to create new products. After Amurol and Wrigley merged in 2003, Gwen managed a creative team of researchers who explored and developed new products. She had a hand in developing products that have subsequently become household names, such as Bubble Tape, Big League Chew, Squeeze Pop and Hubba Bubba. She continues to travel internationally to scout new products and in 2007 was promoted to technical principal, with responsibilities for training and advising.

Inspired by campus ministry and service programs at North Central, Gwen is an active volunteer and parishioner. She has chaperoned groups on mission trips with Habitat for Humanity and Mendenhall Ministries. For the last two years, she and her cousins have recorded a Christmas CD to benefit Misericordia.

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