North Central College - Naperville, IL

Legacy of Science

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few—all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. Thomas Steitz. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

When it comes to graduate science education, nobody does it better than America’s great research universities. But your probability of reaching the pinnacle of science is much better if you start at a liberal arts college with a great science program...where you can get your hands on state-of-the-art equipment from day one, where you can work with full professors on research, where classes are small and teamwork is the rule.

For 150 years, North Central College has been one of those schools. As we celebrate our Sesquicentennial, we’re looking to match our first-rate teaching faculty with a science facility worthy of the tradition that produced Ed Rall; and to do that we need the help of someone who “gets it”—the importance of sustaining the excellence of American science in the 21st century and the crucial role of private colleges like North Central in that effort—and has the financial capacity, vision and generosity of spirit to underwrite a lead gift. If you are that individual, we want to talk with you

We’re looking for another Ed Rall. And another. And another. Your philanthropy can make it possible for a great small college to produce more than its fair share of scientific stars in the 21st century.

Biochemistry major

Dr. Veronika Gagovic gained her inspiration to pursue medicine from a typical source in a very atypical setting. Her father, a physician in war-torn Bosnia, was murdered in the Bosnian conflict.

She spent her teen years supporting her widowed mother and brother as a translator for NATO, but then found her way to a small liberal arts school in Naperville, Illlinois— North Central College, a place for her to heal and grow into her future role in the medical field.

A nearly perfect grade point average in biochemistry and great faculty mentoring resulted in a spot at Loyola Medical School, and national recognition as a...

Physics major

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

Carl Gamertsfelder may not be a household name, like other nuclear age pioneers such as Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, but he was present along with Fermi in Chicago when the world’s first nuclear reactor went critical. And he was there at the launch of three of the world’s first four nuclear reactors.

This graduate of North Central College, a liberal arts school in Naperville, Illinois, whose degree was in physics...

Physics major

The world today could use an efficiency expert like Harvey Mehlhouse. When the U.S. Treasury wanted to improve operations at the Philadelphia Mint in 1971, Mehlhouse was called in to help. At the time, he was president of Western Electric Company, which had a reputation for running a tight ship. Mehlhouse checked out the Mint’s operations, and the Treasury immediately adopted his recommendations for improving production planning, scheduling, quality control and materials handling.

In addition to being the 13th President of Western Electric Company, Mehlhouse was a director of Bell Telephone Laboratories, Sandia Corporation and Uniroyal, Inc. You...

Zoology major

Called “the intellectual and ethical founder of modern environmental medicine,” Dr. David Rall helped create the scientific field of environmental health. Many of the discoveries made in the 19 years he served as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences continue to influence health policy and environmental regulation today. He campaigned to strengthen laws protecting water from pesticides; he released studies linking asbestos to lung damage; and he oversaw research showing lead exposure could affect children’s development.

As a young researcher at the National Cancer Institute, Rall’s work resulted in ways to prevent...

Biology major

When you study science at a small liberal arts school, you’re preparing for a career in just about anything.

Dr. Holly Humphrey, who majored in biology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, is dean for medical education at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where she oversees the education of 400 medical students and all graduate programs.

Certified in internal medicine and pulmonary disease by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Humphrey has served on the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine since 2001. Humphrey continues to teach at Pritzker, where she...

Chemistry major

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

Roger Hruby graduated with a degree in chemistry from North Central College, a liberal arts college in Naperville, Illinois. The specialty chemical company that he founded utilizing his scientific background, CFC International Inc., touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world everyday. Among its innovative products, it is a key supplier to the credit card industry of the magnetic strips and holograms that protect consumers...

Zoology major

Dr. Norma Kolthoff graduated with a degree in zoology from North Central College, a liberal arts college in Naperville, Illinois, and went on to earn a doctorate in physiology from Boston University, becoming the first nurse ever to receive a Ph.D. degree from that institution. In a long career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she became one of the leading educators of nurses in the nation, earning recognition as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Biology major, Chemistry minor

Dr. Nate Montgomery became one of the top doctoral students in genetics and molecular biology in the country after finding his passion for science at North Central College, a small liberal arts college in Naperville, Illinois, where he came to run cross country and learn to be a journalist, but earned a degree in biology. In a freshman cell biology class, he actually needed remedial help but fell in love with molecular biology.

Guided by a young professor with an interest in researching yeast genetics, Montgomery learned an approach to science that served him well as a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So successful was this young scientist that he won a Howard Hughes...

Biology major

Dr. Joseph Edward Rall — Ed Rall — never received a Nobel prize, but in his long-time leadership role at the National Institutes of Health, he supported and mentored many who did. And in his own research, he became one of the greatest authorities in the world on diseases of the thyroid. A year after his death in 2008, he was honored by colleagues from throughout the world as one of the preeminent scientists — and scientific mentors — of his generation.

Ed Rall grew up on a small college campus — North Central College in Naperville, Illinois — where his father was president. It must have been a very special learning environment. One college classmate, neurosurgeon Daniel Ruge, was White House...

Chemistry, Zoology major

A few notable inventions and discoveries occurred in 1947. The Polaroid camera. The microwave oven. Chloromycetin.

Chloromycetin might not be a household word like the others, but it was one of the great scientific achievements of that era. Developed by Mildred Rebstock, it was the world’s first synthetically engineered antibiotic that could be mass produced quickly and cheaply, and the first drug to work against typhoid fever and other diseases. Rebstock graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, with a degree in chemistry.

Zoology major, Chemistry minor

Sometimes a lifetime of training and preparation plays out in a few crucial moments.

Dr. Daniel A. Ruge graduated with a degree in zoology from North Central College, a liberal arts college in Naperville, Illinois. He went on to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon and an expert on spinal cord injuries.

It was Dr. Ruge, one of the only civilians in U.S. history to serve as White House physician, whose protocols for care of President Ronald Reagan after he was shot in 1981 were credited with saving the President’s life and contributing to his quick recovery.

Biology, Computer Science major

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

Jeremy Schmutz parlayed his undergraduate education at a liberal arts institution—North Central College in Naperville, Illinois—into a key role in the sequencing of the human genome. After majoring in biology and computer science, Schmutz landed on the scientific frontier known as The Human Genome Project at the Stanford Human Genome Center in Palo Alto, California. His work there merged laboratory science, data collection and data analysis as the...

Zoology, Chemistry major

Dr. Milford Schultz began his stellar career in radiology at a liberal arts school in Naperville, Illinois, North Central College, where he majored in zoology and chemistry before entering Northwestern Medical School. He was a fellow in radiology there before moving on to Massachusetts, where he became chief radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, specializing in radiation therapy. His contributions to the field were numerous, including serving as a clinical professor of radiology at Harvard University Medical School and conducting important research on cancer treatment.

Physics faculty

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

Clifford Wall was a gifted scientist who was devoted to teaching and mentoring future scientists as well as to research and publishing. After attending a small liberal arts school in Naperville, Illinois, he went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Illinois before returning to his alma mater, North Central College, to teach physics for 12 years, nurturing a generation of future scientists, including at least...

Biology major

Some scientists use their knowledge to change the world by advancing technology or by making new discoveries. Dr. Myron Wentz uses his scientific background to promote healing, and to help children.

Wentz graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, with a degree in biology. After receiving his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Utah, he developed the first commercially available test for diagnosing infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. He went on to create two health-related, very successful enterprises, reflecting both his scientific expertise and his passion...

Physics major

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

At a time when new sound and recording technologies were changing the entertainment world, J. Guy Woodward was making his mark at RCA Laboratories in Princeton, NJ. He graduated from a small liberal arts college — North Central College, in Naperville, Illinois — with a bachelor’s degree in physics, went on to earn a doctorate from Ohio State University. At RCA he was involved in exploring and developing a variety of emerging technologies, including vehicular radio transmission,...

Physics major

How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.

Within a few years of graduating with a degree in physics and mathematics from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, before World War II, Harold Zahl became a pioneer in the field of radar research, producing significant innovations for the U.S. military. After earning advanced degrees from the University of Iowa, this distinguished American physicist invented the infrared detector, which led to the assignment of responsibility for...

Biochemistry major

Emily Albright made a major discovery early in her college career. She found that she loved laboratory research and she began spending every spare hour and her summer vacations researching yeast cell genetics and protein repair in bacteria and its relationship to aging.

Her hard work and the close mentoring of North Central College science faculty paid big dividends. While an undergraduate, Albright was named a Goldwater Scholar, the highest national undergraduate award for achievement in the natural sciences. Then she landed a prestigious summer research position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

She went on to earn a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate...