North Central College - Naperville, IL

Commencement 2013: Traditions continue for largest graduating class ever

President Troy D. Hammond in June presided over his first Commencement ceremony, the academic finale for the Class of 2013. The Residence Hall/Recreation Center accommodated an enthusiastic audience to witness the ceremony for the largest class of undergraduates ever: 628 students who completed requirements for bachelor’s degrees, in addition to the 104 receiving advanced degrees.

An honorary degree was awarded to Frannie A. Léautier, Ph.D., Commencement speaker and executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation. With a doctorate in infrastructure systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she provides leadership for the foundation’s programs and was named one of the 100 most influential people in Africa in 2011. She also held senior leadership positions at the World Bank.

“It took traveling to some 100 countries during the time I worked for the World Bank for me to appreciate the vast differences in culture and the role information could play in raising productivity,” she said during her address. “I encourage you to go out and discover the world. Do it now while you have the energy and the curiosity to learn from and enjoy new experiences.”

A second honorary degree was awarded to A. George Pradel, mayor of Naperville, for his long-term leadership of Naperville and his support for North Central, including his enthusiastic participation in College events. Judy Brodhead, associate professor of English and Naperville City Council member, introduced Pradel.

“Your inexhaustible devotion to your community is a model for public servants and an inspiration to current and future leaders,” she said. “Your legacy of enthusiasm, care and concern will be revered by Naperville’s future generations and is the benchmark for all City leaders to come.”

Significant awards went to Tad Lehe, professor of philosophy, who received the Harold and Eva White First Citizen of the College Award, and Derek Sanderson ’13, recipient of the Mark A. Reid Leadership Award. In addition, Jeordano “Pete” Martinez was recognized with the title Professor of Music Emeritus.