North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College 2006-2007 Highlights

New Student Enrollment

For the fifth consecutive year, North Central welcomed a record number of new undergraduate students. More freshmen enrolled than at any time in history—470—and 248 new transfer students pushed the total number of new undergraduates to a record 718.

Student Achievements

Three North Central College students from ethnically diverse backgrounds were chosen for prestigious corporate summer internships through INROADS.  This not-for-profit organization seeks to develop and place talented minority college students in business and industry, to prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Participating students were Sunbir Gill ’10 (pictured) with American Family, Yanet Favel ’10 with Verizon Wireless and Caroline Hirsch ’10 with General Electric.

Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center

An October 2006 groundbreaking ceremony for the 57,000-square-foot Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center heralded the start of the long-awaited, $29.5 million project at Chicago Avenue and Ellsworth Street. The Concert Hall will be named in honor of Dr. Myron Wentz ’63, the lead donor. Construction is on track for a 2008 dedication.

Ruge Fellows

Three professors were recognized as the inaugural Ruge Fellows for their distinctive and engaging teaching: Richard Paine, professor of speech communication/theatre; Andrew Whitaker, professor of economics and finance; and John Zenchak, professor of biology. Named for the late Daniel Ruge ’39, M.D., neurosurgeon and White House physician to President Ronald Reagan, the program will add three additional fellows in fall 2007.


621 students, including 121 master’s candidates, received degrees at the 142nd Commencement on June 9, 2007. U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) presented the Commencement address and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Board of Trustees

Robert A. Wislow ’67, chairman and CEO of U.S. Equities Realty, LLC, was elected chair of the Board, following in the footsteps of outgoing chair Roger F. Hruby Sr. ’58. Four new trustees were elected: Sam Duncan, chairman and CEO of Office-Max; Misty Gruber, a Chicago attorney and partner in a new biotech venture; Sue Koranda ’06, a Naperville resident with many ties to North Central College and the community; and Doug Mackie, CEO of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock.

Kresge Challenge Grant

In support of new fine arts facilities, the College completed the 18-month Kresge Foundation Challenge Campaign, raising more than $8 million from 2,500 donors, with wide participation from alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, students and community leaders, fine arts groups, businesses and service clubs. Unique fund-raising activities included an opera master class taught by Sherrill Milnes ’56 (pictured left); a campaign with Naperville restaurants to donate proceeds of restaurant meals; and a WONC-FM 89.1 phone-a-thon.

Notable Speakers

Visitors on campus during 2006-2007 included: Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It; Daryl Davis, race relations expert; Mohammed Bilal, former cast member of MTV’s “The Real World”; Ron Allen of NBC News, a visiting Wilson Fellow; former U.S. senator and professional basketball player Bill Bradley; actor and comedian Bob Newhart; author Lisa See; author Greg Mortenson; “American Idol” finalist Gina Glocksen; and actor Henry Winkler, now a children’s author.

Naper Place

College obtains residence hall space in downtown Naperville for 145 students, the result of a two-year lease with Moser Enterprises and approval from the Naperville City Council. Located three blocks from campus, the former older adult residence offers apartment living for juniors and seniors, staffed by three resident assistants and a hall director.

Future Hospitality Center

Property acquired at 48 E. Jefferson Avenue will serve as a welcome center for alumni, faculty, international students and distinguished visitors. The historic 92-year-old prairie-style home is adjacent to the Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center and currently houses offices for faculty, Community Development and other campus functions.

Meiley-Swallow Hall

Renovation of old Grace Evangelical Church began with completion of the east wing slated for August 2007 to house the art and interactive media studies departments. Completed facilities will include a graphics arts computer lab, studios for painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture, faculty offices, seminar room and art gallery. The building’s name honors the family of Judy G. Meiley Swallow Stevenson, life trustee and generous benefactor.

Kiekhofer Hall / Koten Chapel

The renamed building that once housed the Evangelical Theological Seminary administration re-opened in September 2006 to rave reviews with renovated offices, new gathering spaces and amenities for modern accessibility. Koten Chapel—with 50 additional seats in a new balcony, narthex/community room that seats 75 and  new drive-up side entrance—hosted several important campus visitors and weddings.  

Athletic Accolades

The Cardinals captured more conference championships than any other school in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW). Seven CCIW titles came in football, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, indoor men’s track and field, indoor women’s track and field, outdoor men’s track and field, and outdoor women’s track and field. Men’s cross country achieved its 33rd consecutive conference championship, while the women’s cross country team took home its first CCIW championship since 1995. The men’s basketball team advanced to the CCIW tournament for the second consecutive year and two wrestlers achieved All-American status. Their third-place finishes placed North Central 10th nationally at the NCAA III National Championships.

Football Success

For the second consecutive year, the Cardinal football team made an NCAA III Playoff appearance, after achieving the College’s first CCIW football championship in 46 years. Quarterback Kam Kniss ’07 was invited to play in the Aztec Bowl, which featured seniors from around the country playing against a team from Mexico.

Strategic Planning

Collaborative work groups composed of faculty, staff, students and administrators developed the College’s 2007-2012 Strategic Plan, North Central College at 150: The Path Ahead. The six-month process shaped a five-year vision for North Central College, taking the school to its sesquicentennial in 2011-2012.

Fourth Annual Athletic Hall of Fame

Six alumni were honored for their athletic accomplishments at the Annual Hall of Fame Awards: John Molitor ’60, swimming, head coach of 1961, 1962 and 1963 NAIA National Championship teams and national champion swimmer as a student; Ernie Alix ’62, swimming, national champion; Eric Avery ’66, football and wrestling, three-time national qualifier in wrestling and professional football player after graduation; Mike McFadden ’84, basketball, helped Cardinals earn first-ever appearance in NCAA III basketball tournament; Matt Brill ’97, cross country & track and field, 1996 NCAA III Cross Country national champion, eight-time All-American in track and field; and Maureen Szweda ’02, swimming, 1999 NCAA III national champion in 200 butterfly.