Chicago Illini of the Year

2015 Recipients

Pedro J. Cevallos-Candau Dr. Pedro J. Cevallos-Candau MS ’77 ENG, PHD ’80 ENG is co-founder, CEO and president of Primera Engineers Ltd., a diversified, full-service engineering design and consulting firm with offices in Chicago; Lisle, Ill.; and Munster, Ind. With nearly 200 employees and close to $30 million in annual sales, the company ranks nationally among Engineering News-Record’s prestigious Top 500 Design Firms. In addition to his business acumen, Dr. Cevallos-Candau has worked assiduously to empower Hispanic professionals in the Chicago area, helping to found the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Engineers and create the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. He has served on the boards of directors of several professional engineering societies, including as president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois. Currently, he is chairman of the board of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and president of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Dr. Cevallos-Candau’s efforts also include maintaining a strong relationship with his Alma Mater. He has hired interns, served on the board of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association and participated in Minority Engineering Program events. An enthusiastic philanthropist, he developed Primera’s give-back program, which has donated more than $1 million to community efforts in the Chicago area, and through his leadership, more than $200,000 was raised for the ROTARY/One Foundation and The Gads Hill organization, the latter of which works with children in the Pilsen, Lawndale and Brighton Park communities in Chicago.

Jeanne K. Gang Through her visually striking work and environmentally sensitive approach, Jeanne K. Gang ’86 FAA, founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects in Chicago and New York, explores the role of design in the revitalization of cities. In projects ranging from community anchors and cultural institutions to tall, mixed-use buildings and urban design, Gang engages pressing contemporary issues and their impact on human experience. She has produced some of today’s most innovative and compelling architecture, including the recently completed Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in Kalamazoo, Mich.; and the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo and the 82-story Aqua Tower, all in Chicago. Having worked as a young professional with the legendary Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in Europe, Gang developed a sense of adventure, as well as an appreciation for both the Old World and the New. Among her signature marks are buildings designed for their specific locations, such as Solstice on the Park, a 26-story apartment house in Chicago’s Hyde Park which optimizes the angle of the sun to shade the structure in summer and brighten it in winter. The recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “genius grant,” Gang has taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and her works have been honored and exhibited widely, most notably at the International Venice Biennale, MoMA, the National Building Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

(Photo by Jenny Hueston)

Howard T. Griffith Howard T. Griffith ’91 LAS—one of the best blocking backs in the NFL and well-known to Illini fans for scoring eight touchdowns in an historic Sept. 22, 1990, home game—serves as lead in-studio analyst for the Big Ten Network and a co-host for ESPN-Radio Chicago. Following his graduation from the University of Illinois—where he served as captain of the Fighting Illini football team and continues to hold one of the top five receiving records at the University—Griffith spent more than a decade in the NFL. As star fullback for the Denver Broncos, he helped lead his team to Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII championships in 1998 and 1999, and over the course of his athletic career, has been named “Offensive Player of the Week” seven times. After retiring from professional football, Griffith moved into media, serving as a football analyst or commentator for NFL and NFL Europe football leagues. He has worked for the Illini Radio, FOX, NFL and Big Ten networks, as well as for ESPN-Radio Chicago. He received an Emmy Award for outstanding sports broadcast in 2010-11 and was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. A generous contributor to Illinois scholarship funds, Griffith also co-founded Turbo Athletics, a youth sports academy; created the Hyde Park Jr. Spartans Youth Football League; and served on the advisory council of the United Youth Football League, as well as the board of the National Able Network.

Past Recipients (Occupations listed were current at time of award)

Stephen D. Bardo ’90 las
College Basketball Analyst, ESPN, Big Ten Network and Fox Sports 1

Carrie J. Hightman’79 las
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, NiSource Inc.

Ryan Baker ’91 MEDIA
Sports Anchor/Director, WBBM-TV/CBS 2 Chicago

Celene Peurye-Hissong ’74 LAS, MSW ’76
Focused Philanthropy

Jesse H. Ruiz ’88 LAS
Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

The Hon. Timothy C. Evans ’65 LAS
Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County

SamuelMendenhall ’88 CBA (UIC), JD ’91 LAW
Equity Partner
Winston & Strawn

Carol Hillsman Sagers ’79 MEDIA
Founder and Consultant
CHS Marketing Consultants

G. Thomas Castino ’60 ENG
Retired President and CEO
Underwriters Laboratories

Mary Frances Fagan ’76 MEDIA, MA ’83 LAS
Director, Corporate Communications
American Airlines

Howard M. Katz ’82 ACES
Senior Executive Vice President
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Ronald W. Bess
’69 BUS, ’72 MEDIA
President and CEO, Euro RSCG Chicago

Robert D. Kleinschmidt ’63 FAA
President, Powell/Kleinschmidt Inc.

Richard C. Romano ’54 LAS
Founder & Chairman, Romano Brothers & Co.

Gail Veasman Kellogg '65 LAS
Retired principal, partner and consultant, Hewitt Associates

Cirilo A. McSween '54 LAS
Owner, Cirilo McSween Insurance Agency
Founder and President, Black McDonald's Operators Association

Avy H. Stein '77 BUS
Managing partner, Willis Stein & Partners LLC

Caroline Becker Joss ’84 ACES
Co-founder and designer, Caroline Rose Inc.

Sheldon B. Rubin ’64 LAS, ’66 VM, DVM ‘68
Former owner and director emeritus, Blum Animal Hospital; author

Paul Schrage, MS ’59 MEDIA
Retired Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s Corp.

Richard Cline ’57 LAS
Chairman & Director, Hawthorne Investors, Inc.
Managing Partner, Hawthorne Investments, LLC

Robert Falls ’76 FAA
Artistic Director, Goodman Theatre

Roger Plummer ’64 ENG
President & CEO, Plummer & Associates Consulting

Howard Engle ’72 BUS
Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP

John David Mooney MFA ’65 FAA
Founder and Artistic Director, John David Mooney Foundation

Pamela Bristow Strobel ’74 MEDIA, JD ’77 LAW
Retired Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Exelon Corporation

Carol Ross Barney ’71 FAA
Founder and President, Ross Barney & Jankowski

Jack Klues ’77 MEDIA
Chairman and CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group

Thomas Miner JD ’53 LAW
President of Thomas H. Miner & Associates, Inc.
Chair and Founder, Mid-America Committee for International
Business and Government Cooperation

Corinne J. Wood ’76 LAS
Former Lieutenant Governor of Illinois

W. Gene Corley ’58 ENG, MS ’60, PhD ’61 ENG
Senior Vice President for Engineering, Construction Technology Labs, Inc., head of federal investigation into collapse of World Trade Center buildings

Cary D. McMillan ’80 BUS
Chief Executive Officer, Sara Lee Branded Apparel

Doris Christopher ‘67 ACES
Chair and Founder, The Pampered Chef

Dr. Emiel Hamberlin ‘77 EDM, ‘83 EDD
Biology and horticulture teacher at DuSable High School
Inductee, National Teachers’ Hall of Fame; Golden Apple Award

Robert P. Crawford ‘59 MEDIA
Retired “Dean” of Chicago broadcast journalists, more than 40 years with CBS and WBBM

Cheryl Berman ‘74 MEDIA
Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett USA

Eli Cohen ‘55 ENG
Principal Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti Engineers

Ralph Johnson ‘71 FAA
Director of Design, Perkins & Will

Mary Dempsey MS ‘76 GSLIS
Commissioner, Chicago Public Library

Mark Tebbe ‘83 ENG
Chair and Founder, Lante Corporation

Thomas Tunney ‘77 ACES
President, Ann Sathers Restaurants

Avis LaVelle '75 MEDIA
V.P. for Government & Public Affairs, University of Chicago Hospitals, former Press Secretary for Mayor Richard M. Daley

Lynn Martin '60 LAS
Chair, Deloitte Touche's Council on the Advancement of Women,
former U.S. Secretary of Labor

Arnold Weber ’50 LAS, AM ’51 LIR, HON ‘97
President Emeritus, Northwestern University

Nicole Hollander '60 FAA
Sculpter, writer, creator of comic strip “Sylvia”

Johnny "Red" Kerr '54 ALS
President, Kerr Financial Services
Announcer for Chicago Bulls basketball team

Sam Skinner '60 BUS
Capital Partner & Co-chairman, Hopkins & Sutter
Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Chief of Staff

Lester McKeever Jr. '55 BUS
Managing Principal, Washington, Pittman & McKeever

Tonise Paul '79 MEDIA, MS '80 MEDIA
President and CEO, BBDO Chicago

Sheldon Good '55 BUS
Chairman Emeritus, Sheldon Good & Company

Roger Ebert '64 MEDIA
Film critic, author

Carol Marin '70 LAS
News anchor, CBS News

Joel Weisman '63 BUS
News analyst and private attorney, Siegman & Weisman, Ltd