North Central College - Naperville, IL

Special awards presented during 2012 Commencement

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North Central College recognized several members of the College community with awards and emerita status during its 147th Commencement exercises on June 9.

One of those awards, the Gael D. Swing Award for Meritorious Service, is presented occasionally at Commencement to an individual “whose impact on the College and generosity of spirit set them on a very special plateau,” said President Harold R. Wilde during the presentation. Jeffrey J. Oesterle received the 2012 award. A North Central alumnus of the class of 1976, Oesterle is a member of the Board of Trustees, vice chair of the Board’s Institutional Advancement committee and owner of Plaza Properties in Schererville, Ind.

A member of a three-generation North Central College family, Oesterle is “known for unyielding loyalty to his alma mater and a special generosity of spirit,” said Wilde. “[He] stands tall among the men and women who have ultimate responsibility for the College’s success and a key figure in the campaigns for some of the College’s most important efforts.”

A second award, the Harold and Eva White First Citizen of the College Award, was presented to Henry Tran, who works as a staff employee in North Central’s general maintenance department as a team leader at the Athletic Complex. The award recognizes either a North Central College student, faculty or staff member who exemplifies the best of the College.

“His work day can extend from before dawn to well into the evening … and his extraordinary efforts are never driven by personal recognition but instead by what’s good for the College,” said Wilde. “Every day he sets an example of leadership that inspires our student-athletes, faculty, coaches, staff and his co-workers. No one at North Central is a better role model!”

A third award, the Mark A. Reid Student Leadership Award, was presented to a deserving senior, by vote of the senior class, who exemplifies North Central’s commitment to principled leadership. Emily “Em” Rademaker ’12 was this year’s winner and, said Wilde, “set a new standard for leadership and service to the campus, along with outstanding academic scholarship. … She knows how to build consensus among her peers and then teaches them how to make an impact through serving and leading.” After graduation, Rademaker is headed to South Africa to serve in the Peace Corps.  

Also recognized during Commencement was Linda Gao, professor of mathematics, who retired in June 2012 from teaching after 20 years of service. She was conferred the title Professor of Mathematics Emerita.

Videos of each presentation, as well as the entire Commencement exercises, are accessible online; visit