Longtime Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be awarded an honorary degree June 8 during North Central College’s 148th Commencement ceremony.
The Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, is expected to draw more than 5,000 parents, alumni and visitors to North Central College’s Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St., Naperville. Tickets are not required but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis so guests are encouraged to arrive early; doors open at 8:30 a.m. for guest seating. The academic procession begins at 9:40 a.m.
Pradel will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony. Dr. Frannie Léautier, executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, will deliver the Commencement address and be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Pradel was first elected mayor of Naperville in 1995 and re-elected four times since then, most recently in 2011, making him Naperville’s longest-serving mayor. A former Naperville police officer and lifelong Naperville resident, Pradel is known for his many public appearances, friendly demeanor and demonstrated enthusiasm for Naperville.
Pradel was born in 1937 in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and his family moved to Naperville soon after. He earned an associate degree in police science from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
He served as a U.S. Marine from 1956 to 1959 and in the Naperville Police Department for 29 years. He retired from the force as lieutenant on April 30, 1995, when he began serving as mayor. He has been involved in numerous community groups, including The Illinois Tollway Authority, Naperville Lions Club, Naperville Rotary Club, Naperville Kiwanis Club, Naperville Exchange Club, Police and Fire Pension Boards, DuPage County Police Association, DuPage Mayors and Managers Association, The Hundred Club of DuPage and North East Multi-Regional Training Board. Pradel was the founder of Safety Town and the Naperville Marines.
Pradel is depicted in the Naperville Century Walk public art sculpture “Officer Friendly,” located near Washington Junior High School, in honor of his work with schoolchildren during his years as a Naperville police officer. He also has portrayed Santa Claus for many years at numerous Naperville functions.
Pradel and his wife, Pat, have been married for more than 50 years, and they have two sons, George and Gary, and a daughter Carol.
For more information about Commencement activities, visit northcentralcollege.edu/commencement or contact the North Central College Office of Alumni Relations at 630-637-5200.