Chicago Illini of the Year Award (Est. 1997)
Co-sponsored by the Illinois Alumni Association and the Chicago Illini Club, this award recognizes the accomplishments of Chicago-area graduates of the University. Up to three distinguished alumni who live and work in Chicago or a Chicago suburb are honored each year.
Richard J. Sieracki, '74 ENG
Richard J. Sieracki, ’74 ENG, is co-founder and Co-CEO of the Kenrich Group, a nationally -based construction and business litigation firm with its largest office in Chicago. Kenrich has been named by Brill Street recruiters as one of the “Top 50 Employers for Generation Y Emerging Talent in Chicago.” During his four decades in the construction industry, Rich has gained an international reputation for providing testimony in high-profile construction litigation with a specific emphasis in cost overruns and schedule delays. Rich and Kenrich have worked on numerous Chicago Projects such as Soldier Field, the Waldorf Astoria, the Palmolive Building, Malcolm X College, Millennium Park and the University of Illinois’s Memorial Stadium. He is a member of the Board of the U of I Civil and Environmental Alumni Association and with his wife Linda, ’74 LAS, established the Linda J. and Richard J. Sieracki Civil and Environmental Engineering Visionary Scholarship Fund. Rich and Kenrich continue to draw talent from U of I and eagerly hire engineers, finance majors and accountants who hold UI System degrees. In addition, Rich and his family are longtime supporters of U of I athletics.
Jill Wine-Banks, '64 MEDIA
Jill Wine-Banks, ’64 MEDIA, began her career as a trial lawyer, becoming the first female attorney in the organized crime section of the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The Chicago native served as a prosecutor in the Watergate trial and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the first female general counsel of the U.S. Army. She became a partner in the Chicago firm of Jenner & Block before serving as the first Solicitor General of Illinois and first female executive director of the American Bar Association. She next held international business roles at Motorola and Maytag and as the CEO of Winning Workplaces before becoming the Chief Officer for Chicago Public Schools’ career and technical education program where she helped to create DeVry University Advantage Academy, an early-college high school. Wine-Banks now is a MSNBC Legal Analyst, speaker and soon-to-be author. She is a member of The Chicago Network and a board member of the Better Government Association and Governor’s State University.
Thomas DiSanto, '87 ACES
Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, '88 LAS
Steven Thayer, '88 LAS
Rebecca A. Snyders Darr, ’90 LAS
Mary Kay Kretch Haben, ’77 BUS
Judge James F. Holderman Jr., ’68 ACES, JD ’71
William T. Barry, ’77 BUS
Phillip C. Goldstick, ’53 BUS
Craig W. Vodnik, ’92 ENG
Dr. Pedro J. Cevallos-Candau, MS ’77 ENG, PHD ’80 ENGCo-Founder, CEO and President of Primera Engineers Ltd.
Jeanne K. Gang, ’86 FAAFounder and Principal of Studio Gang Architects
Howard T. Griffith, ’91 LASFormer NFL Player, Lead in-studio analyst for the Big Ten Network and a co-host for ESPN-Radio Chicago
Carrie J. Hightman, ’79 LASExecutive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, NiSource Inc.
Stephen D. Bardo, ’90 LASCollege Basketball Analyst, ESPN, Big Ten Network and Fox Sports 1
Jesse H. Ruiz, ’88 LASPartner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Celene Peurye-Hissong, ’74 LAS, MSW ’76Principal Focused Philanthropy
Ryan Baker, ’91 MEDIASports Anchor/Director, WBBM-TV/CBS 2 Chicago
Carol Hillsman Sagers, ’79 MEDIAFounder and Consultant, CHS Marketing Consultants
Samuel Mendenhall, ’88 CBA (UIC), JD ’91 LAWEquity Partner Winston & Strawn
The Hon. Timothy C. Evans, ’65 LASChief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Howard M. Katz, ’82 ACESSenior Executive Vice President Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Mary Frances Fagan, ’76 MEDIA, MA ’83 LASDirector, Corporate Communications, American Airlines
G. Thomas Castino, ’60 ENGRetired President and CEO Underwriters Laboratories
Richard C. Romano, ’54 LASFounder & Chairman, Romano Brothers & Co.
Robert D. Kleinschmidt, ’63 FAAPresident, Powell/Kleinschmidt Inc.
Ronald W. Bess, ’69 BUS, ’72 MEDIAPresident and CEO, Euro RSCG Chicago
Avy H. Stein, '77 BUSManaging partner, Willis Stein & Partners LLC
Cirilo A. McSween, '54 LASOwner, Cirilo McSween Insurance Agency, Founder and President, Black McDonald's Operators Association
Gail Veasman Kellogg, '65 LASRetired Principal, partner and Consultant, Hewitt Associates
Paul Schrage, MS ’59 MEDIARetired Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s Corp.
Sheldon B. Rubin, ’64 LAS, ’66 VM, DVM ‘68Former Owner and Director Emeritus, Blum Animal Hospital, Author
Caroline Becker Joss, ’84 ACESCo-founder and designer, Caroline Rose Inc.
Roger Plummer, ’64 ENGPresident & CEO, Plummer & Associates Consulting
Robert Falls, ’76 FAAArtistic Director, Goodman Theatre
Richard Cline, ’57 LASChairman & Director, Hawthorne Investors, Inc., Managing Partner, Hawthorne Investments, LLC
Pamela Bristow Strobel, ’74 MEDIA, JD ’77 LAWRetired Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Exelon Corporation
John David Mooney, MFA ’65 FAAFounder and Artistic Director, John David Mooney Foundation
Howard Engle, ’72 BUSPartner, Deloitte & Touche LLP
Thomas Miner, JD ’53 LAWPresident of Thomas H. Miner & Associates, Inc., Chair and Founder of Mid-America, Committee for International Business and Government Cooperation
Jack Klues, ’77 MEDIAChairman and CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group
Carol Ross Barney, ’71 FAAFounder and President, Ross Barney & Jankowski
Cary D. McMillan, ’80 BUSChief Executive Officer, Sara Lee Branded Apparel
W. Gene Corley, ’58 ENG, MS ’60, PHD ’61 ENGSenior Vice President for Engineering, Construction Technology Labs, Inc., Head of Federal Investigation into Collapse of World Trade Center Buildings
Corinne J. Wood, ’76 LASFormer Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
Robert P. Crawford, ‘59 MEDIARetired “Dean” of Chicago Broadcast Journalists, more than 40 years with CBS and WBBM
Dr. Emiel Hamberlin, ‘77 EDM, ‘83 EDDBiology and Horticulture Teacher at DuSable High School Inductee, National Teachers’ Hall of Fame; Golden Apple Award
Doris Christopher, ‘67 ACESChair and Founder, The Pampered Chef
Ralph Johnson, ‘71 FAADirector of Design, Perkins & Will
Eli Cohen, ‘55 ENGPrincipal Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti Engineers
Cheryl Berman, ‘74 MEDIAChief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett USA
Thomas Tunney, ‘77 ACESPresident, Ann Sathers Restaurants
Mark Tebbe, ‘83 ENGChair and Founder, Lante Corporation
Mary Dempsey, MS ‘76 GSLISCommissioner, Chicago Public Library
Arnold Weber, ’50 LAS, AM ’51 LIR, HON ‘97President Emeritus, Northwestern University
Lynn Martin, '60 LASChair, Deloitte Touche's Council on the Advancement of Women, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Avis LaVelle, '75 MEDIAV.P. for Government & Public Affairs, University of Chicago Hospitals, former Press Secretary for Mayor Richard M. Daley
Sam Skinner, '60 BUSCapital Partner & Co-chairman, Hopkins & Sutter Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Chief of Staff
Johnny "Red" Kerr, '54 ALSPresident, Kerr Financial Services Announcer for Chicago Bulls Basketball Team
Nicole Hollander, '60 FAASculpter, writer, creator of comic strip “Sylvia”
Sheldon Good, '55 BUSChairman Emeritus, Sheldon Good & Company
Tonise Paul, '79 MEDIA, MS '80 MEDIAPresident and CEO, BBDO Chicago
Lester McKeever Jr., '55 BUSManaging Principal, Washington, Pittman & McKeever
Joel Weisman, '63 BUSNews Analyst and Private Attorney, Siegman & Weisman, Ltd
Carol Marin, '70 LASNews anchor, CBS News
Roger Ebert, '64 MEDIAFilm Critic, Author