J.D. Ross Past Recipients


2018 Recipients


Dave Holmes

J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award - Humanitarian Service

Dave and Caroll
Holmes (left) with nominator Carroll Klotz


Thanks to a 20-year effort from Dave Holmes, more than $300,000 has been raised for community organizations in the memory of his friend and mentor, Tim Klotz, who died in 1999. Holmes began raising funds through an annual golf outing in his mentor’s honor.

“I don’t do the outing for recognition. I just do it for all the friends to get together for Tim,” Holmes said. “After going through the process for tonight I now have a better understanding of this award and I feel humbled and honored to receive this.”

Tim’s wife, Carroll Klotz, nominated Holmes for the award.  

Organizations benefiting from the Tim Klotz Memorial Golf Outing range from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties to Guardian Angel Community Services, the JJC Foundation and more. In 2009, the Tim Klotz Memorial Fund won the Foundation Philanthropic Award from the Southwest Suburban Philanthropic Network and was named Donor of the Year by Guardian Angel Community Services in 2011. Most recently, Holmes led the effort to endow the Timothy C. Klotz Memorial Scholarship at the JJC Foundation.


Lynne Lichtenauer

J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award - Distinguished Public Service

Lynne and Greg
Lichtenauer (left) with nominator Greg Peerbolte


Lichtenauer’s volunteerism dates back to the late 1970s when she worked alongside the late Dorothy Mavrich to save Joliet’s Rialto Theatre. She went on to serve lengthy terms on numerous community boards. She currently serves as president of the Joliet Museum Board of Directors, as well as director on the boards of the following organizations: Silver Cross Foundation, Joliet Park Foundation, Rialto Square Theatre Foundation. Lichtenauer is also a board member of the Joliet Area Sports Hall of Fame. 

“How fortunate I am to be recognized for something that I love to do,” Lichtenauer said. “Personally I feel volunteering is just what you do to make your community better. Be sure to share your talents.”

Lichtenauer was nominated by Greg Peerbolte, executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum. 

She has been recognized for her influential role with the museum’s Old Joliet Prison Project, and is among those responsible for the worldwide attention the project has received. Thanks to her, the museum board also saw a transition in its membership with the addition of many diverse and enthusiastic members, made up of both experienced and emerging community leaders.

  • 2017 | Jeff Eberhard & Terry Kunze

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    Jeff Eberhard: Humanitarian Service

    Jeff Eberhard (pictured above in the center) of Morris is well-known for his volunteer work in both Will and Grundy counties. One of his projects, the Emergency Homeless Pack, got its start after he saw a need to help the local homeless population. Eberhard is also the creator behind Micro Food Pantries, which house non-perishable food and are stationed across the local area.

    “It’s the little things you can do for others,” Eberhard said in his acceptance speech. “I can’t say that it wasn’t always this way but life has a certain way of seasoning you.”

    Eberhard, whose children help him fill the homeless packs or add pantry items, encouraged others to involve their loved ones when helping those in need.

    “If you have children and you want to give back in a small way, go to the grocery store with them and buy some food, and go to one of these little micro pantries… put something in there and teach them to give back, and what it means to give back.”


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    Terry Kunze: Humanitarian & Distinguished Public Service

    Terry Kunze (pictured above in the center) has made a difference in the community by forming two clubs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: The Aktion Club (a part of the Kiwanis family) and the Transition Club. In addition to her work in the local community, Kunze serves as the administrator of the Illinois Eastern Iowa District for the Aktion Clubs.

    “I am not doing this on my own. It takes a village,” Kunze said Thursday night, and thanked the Kiwanis Club of Joliet for their support.

    “I share this award with them, as well as the teachers and advisors who take up leadership roles at every meeting… I also share this with the Aktion Club members, who have warm and generous hearts and are always eager to help those in need.”

    Kunze also thanked her husband and her adult daughter, Missy, who has Rett syndrome and requires constant care. 

    “Missy does not speak. She uses a wheelchair to get around. She cannot use her hands. But it’s her smile is the impetus and the motivation for the person that I am today,” said Kunze. 

  • 2016 | Glen Marcum

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    Glen Marcum was nominated for the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award by Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Illinois State Representative Natalie Manley in the area of Distinguished Public Service. Due to Mr. Marcum’s passing in 2016, his family received the award in his honor. Mr. Marcum was always a strong advocate for the betterment of the community through leadership and service, and selflessly devoted countless years of service to the Joliet community. He was instrumental in bringing Relay for Life to the Joliet area and served as its committee chair.

    Mr. Marcum participated in numerous organizations and community initiatives, including the Joliet Grade School Foundation, Will County Take Back the Night, Old Timer’s Baseball Association, Regional American Cancer Society Board, Men Who Cook Will County Children’s Advocacy Center fundraiser, Will/Grundy Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and Joliet Grade School District President.

    Glen was a 1980 Joliet Junior College alumnus and a role model and an inspiration to all who knew him. He continuously demonstrated a commitment to his community and truly devoted his time and talents to the many organizations he served.

  • 2015 | Gary Cheney & Deborah Reposh-Smith

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    Gary Cheney of New Lenox, was honored with the 2015 Joliet Junior College J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) at the March 8, 2016 Board of Trustees Meeting.

    Gary is the founder of 'ShareFest' an annual, month-long festival of sharing and caring that began in New Lenox in 2007 and has grown to include the greater Will County area.

    As it states on the website, "During this time, we unite in compassionate community service to meet the needs within our community. these needs are only met through hundreds of volunteers sacrificing their time, talents, and treasures in compassionate community service. Our model of service to others has proven to be successful involving over 160 organizations and is available for any organization to plug into." ShareFest is the "model," and Gary Cheney is the "model maker" here in Will County. Some of the events and activities included in ShareFest under Cheney's leadership, include: Recyclepalooza, where Will County residents can dispose of hazardous waste and electronics appropriately; a health and safety fair, with free screening and health advice from local health care professionals; the "Main Event," where items are gathered to benefit troops; job fairs; projects to assist the elderly and others in need; and environmental clean-up days. "There is a great reward in helping people," Cheney said. "What I have done through ShareFest is find people who are already passionate about something, and I help them apply that passion."


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    Deborah Reposh-Smith of Lockport, was also honored as a recipient of the 2015 Joliet Junior College J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) at the March 8, 2016 Board of Trustees Meeting.

    Debbie is actively involved as a volunteer in a number of community organizations, and she has created programs to assist underprivileged individuals and children through the JJC district. She tirelessly donates her time and resources to help active soldiers and veterans' programs, our local environment, and economically disadvantaged people throughout the community. She helps to recruit other volunteers to collect coats and winter clothing for people in need and make food packages for homeless and economically disadvantaged area residents. Debbie also volunteered to be trained in first aid so that she could help ensure the safety of athletes who compete in the local Quarryman Competition.

    Debbie also participates in the Will County Forest Preserve District's prairie restoration training program.

    In addition to working countless hours for community service agencies, veterans organizations, and the forest preserve district, Debbie has also established, with her husband, an organization for children in the Lemont/Lockport/Homer Glen area that builds children's self-esteem while teaching them martial arts, discipline and anti-bullying behaviors.

  • 2014 | Joseph B. Schmitz

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    Joseph B. Schmitz

    The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees honored Joe Schmitz with the 2014 Joliet Junior College J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) at their June 9, 2015 meeting.

    The ESA is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the college; it was developed by the Board of Trustees to honor residents who have given outstanding service to Community College District 525. The award is named for former JJC President J.D. Ross.

    Schmitz, a resident of Morris, was nominated by Morris Mayor Richard Kopzick for his charitable work with Operation St. Nick, a non-profit Schmitz founded in 1979 to provided needy children with Christmas gifts that their families would not have otherwise been able to give them.

    "Growing up, Joe was taught by his father the importance of helping neighbors and giving back to his community," said Kopzick. "It's that generous and kind spirit that is the driving force behind Operation St. Nick and has made the organization one of Grundy County's leading non-profits."

    In addition to running Operation St. Nick, Schmitz is a Navy veteran and a former president of Exchange Bank in Gardner, Ill. He and his wife of nearly 50 years, Carol, have three children and seven grandchildren.

    "I'm deeply honored and humbled that the JJC Board of Trustees chose me to receive this prestigious award," said Schmitz. "Receiving the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award has inspired me to do more for those in need in the communities Operation St. Nick serves. I have realized over the years that inspiration comes from not focusing on myself, or the world of ego and entering the world of spirit to benefit others."

  • 2013 | H. James Baum

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    H. James Baum

    H. James Baum was honored as the recipient for the 2013 Joliet Junior College J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) at the March 11, 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.

    Nominated by State Senator Sue Rezin for humanitarian service, distinguished public service and scholarly service, Baum of Morris has performed extraordinary service in the Illinois Community College District 525, the City of Morris and Grundy County.

    Mr. Baum was an original organizer and the first president of the Community Foundation of Grundy County. The foundation identifies community issues and attempts to mitigate them by convening groups with similar interests and missions, making grants and running programs other non-profits are not ready to take on.

    The Community Foundation of Grundy County is improving the quality of life in the county through leadership and philanthropy.

    Mr. Baum served for twenty-five years as a member of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Board of Directors including the position of corporate secretary for sixteen years. As a business owner in Morris, he served on the Grundy Economic Development Council working to bring new businesses and jobs to his community.

    H. James also served as a member of the Joliet Junior College Foundation Board of Directors.

  • 2012 | Carrie Worthington

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    Carrie Worthington

    Carrie Worthington was honored as the recipient of the 2012 Joliet Junior College J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) at the Feb. 5, 2013 Board of Trustees meeting.

    Nominated by fellow district resident Robert Talkie for distinguished public service, Worthington, of Romeoville, has been a tireless advocate and volunteer for five years for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), serving the last two years as president of the grassroots Will-Grundy chapter.

    "Ms. Worthington has dedicated her life as a leader in promoting mental health awareness in Will-Grundy County," said Amy Murphy, ESA board member. "During the last several years, she has facilitated a program designed to educate the public with a workshop designed to raise public awareness in mental health issues, and educate individuals to become mental health first responders. "Carrie Worthington exemplifies what the J.D. Ross ESA is all about, and we were delighted to honor her with this award."

    "I am so honored to have received this award," said Worthington. "I'm hoping I can keep moving forward to help fight against the stigma of mental illness and keep promoting all the programs NAMI has to offer."

    Additionally, Worthington initiated and implemented in Joliet the nationally-renowned course, Mental Health First Aid USA, which is now repeated four to five times yearly in the Will-Grundy service region and certifies and equips students to prevent major mental health crises from occurring, including suicide prevention.

    Her service in the community also extends to her church, Good Shepherd, which involves helping to operate a food pantry and assesses and assists with other recognized needs in the area.

  • 2011 | Anthony Ray & Dr. Albert Ray

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    Anthony Ray and Dr. Albert Ray

    Anthony Ray and Dr. Albert Ray, recipients of the Joliet Junior College 2011 J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA) were honored publicly at the September 2012 Board of Trustees meeting.

    Tony Ray, a life long resident of Joliet, graduated from JJC in ‘88 before earning a degree from DeVry Institute of Technology. From 1988 to 1998, Ray was known as "The Voice of Joliet" while he hosted a gospel radio show on WJOL. Throughout his 20 years at the station Ray held positions as the program director and the operations manager for parent companies.

    Ray is currently the Executive Director for the Forest Park Community Center, a community based organization located in the Forest Park Community on Joliet's eastside, providing hope to disadvantaged youth through programs and services.

    He is also one of the founding members of the Silver Cross Hospital Community Commission, a founding member and current board member for Advocates United for Children and Coordinator of the 12th Judicial Circuit's Family Violence Coordinating Council where he is a mentor to troubled youth.

    Ray says receiving the ESA award is an incredible honor adding how much it means to him to have had the opportunity to hear the good news from former JJC President Dr. Gena Proulx shortly before her passing.

    He adds, "J.D. Ross is a wonderful and tremendous person. Receiving an award in his honor means a lot to me especially in light of Gena's passing."

    Dr. Albert Ray has resided in the Joliet area for nearly 50 years. As a volunteer and active member of his church, Grace United Methodist, he has played an instrumental role in the community.

    He is currently a board member of the Will Grundy Medical Clinic, and chair member of the Medical Advisory Committee and works with the Will-Grundy Medical Society.

    Dr. Ray also served as a board member of United Way of Will County from 1982 to 1985, and was president of the board of directors of the Joliet Area Community Hospice from 1984 to 1990.

    Over the years his contributions have been recognized through numerous awards including Joliet Area PTA Council Lifetime Membership Award for Community Service in 1970, Joliet and Will County Project Pride in 2004, Mark Gibson Community Leadership Award in 2005, and the Silver Cross Sehring Medal of Excellence for Outstanding Health Care service in 2008.

    "I don't know if I deserve it, [ESA] but it sure is nice," says Dr. Ray. "If nothing else, I hope receiving this award can do two things—create additional PR and awareness of the Will Grundy Medical Clinic and remind us what a significant and definite advantage Mr. Ross is to the community."

  • 2010 | Jim Riggs

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    Jim Riggs

    Jim Riggs is the 2010 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award. Riggs, of Joliet, has been involved with over a dozen local charities including Boy Scouts of America, the Will County Humane Society, Toys for Tots and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

    Riggs currently serves as a volunteer for the City of Joliet where he has recently worked to erect a free billboard used to promote charitable events in the area. He also helped raise over $275,000 worth of food and clothing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and worked with OPERATION MOM's Cookies, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting members of the U.S. military to send a semi-truck full of the troops' favorite candies overseas.

    Over the years, Riggs has also worked closely with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets. In fact, it was his donation that assured the future of the unit—upon hearing that the unit was going to possibly disband and relocate, Riggs purchased The Brandon Marine and Marina and donated the property to the cadets. Now, the unit's marina is used by cadets all over the nation for training.

  • 2009 | R. Dale Evans, Sr. & Mohra Gavankar

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    R. Dale Evans, Sr.

    R. Dale Evans, Sr. is a 2009 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award. Evans, who is the social services coordinator at the Joliet Housing Authority, has volunteered for the Joliet Alliance for Youth, First Tee of Joliet, and Joliet Region Easter Seals. He is a member of the Joliet Chamber of Commerce, the NACCP, and Silver Cross Hospital Community Trustees.

    Evans, of Joliet, is the president elect of the Community Services Council, a co-chair for the Voices for Illinois Children Joliet committee, and the founder and executive director of A Boost Up Coalition Inc., a not for profit community service organization.

    Rainbow Push recognized Evans with the Martin Luther King Leadership Award in 1996. He has also received proclamations from former State Senator Larry Walsh, the City of Joliet, and Joliet Township for his active roles in the Lights on After School Rallies.


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    Mohra Gavankar

    Mohra Gavankar is a 2009 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award. Gavankar, who is president of RoCo Productions and vice president of Rockdale Controls, has volunteered for Joliet Township High School, Easter Seals, and the Guardian Angel Home. She is a member of the Hospice Guild, The Woman's Club of Joliet, and the Silver Cross Community Trustees.

    Gavankar also serves on the boards of the Will County Community Foundation, Lewis University, and the Joliet Area Historical Museum. She is a past president of the Woman's Club of Joliet, Joliet Junior Woman's Club, and Zonta Club of the Joliet Area.

    Recently, she was honored for her volunteer work by Lewis University with the Christian Brother's Midwest District LaSallian Award. She has also been awarded the Congressman's Medal of Merit for Volunteer Service, the Joliet Area Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, and the Book of Golden Deeds Award by the Exchange Club.

  • 2008 | Virginia Ferry & Vincent L. Foster Sr.

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    Virginia Ferry

    Virginia Ferry of Joliet is a 2008 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award. She has been selling real estate for more than 40 years through her family-owned business, Twelve Oaks Realty Corp., and is a cofounder of the Joliet Area Historical Society. Though she is involved with many local organizations, Ferry is most recognized for her more than 36 years with the Morning Star Mission. She has been instrumental in assisting the shelter in many ways, including her recent efforts to build a 72-bed shelter for families. Ferry also was a member of the steering committee forming Lamb's Fold Center for Women and Children. Virginia was honored in 2007 by Realtor Magazine as a 2007 Good Neighbor Award Winner; the city of Joliet recognized Ferry the same year for her "outstanding contributions to the quality of life" in the city.


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    Vincent L. Foster

    Vincent L. Foster Sr. of Joliet is a 2008 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award. In addition to volunteering at the Will-Grundy Independent Living Center tutoring mentally-challenged adults, Foster also runs a support group for people discouraged by challenging issues, such as physical disabilities. While a student at Joliet Junior College, he helped found the S.P.R.I.T.E. club, which assists students and parents in resolving issues and sponsors family activities to enrich education awareness. He was recognized by JJC as the Student Leader of the Year for 2002-2003. Despite his own physical struggles, Foster continues his work in the community, which includes speaking to youth groups at his church. Foster received the Youth Incorporated Spiritual Churches of Truth Award for motivational speaking. He has also been named the Most Valuable Player for Extra Effort for Training and Promoting at Arby's and he was recognized as the Most Distinguished Employee at Toddler Town Academy.

  • 2007 | Terry D'Arcy

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    Terry D'Arcy

    Recipient Civic leader and community volunteer Terry D'Arcy of Shorewood has been the named the 2007 recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA). Known as the highest award bestowed by Joliet Junior College, the ESA honors community leaders who have given outstanding service in the college district.

    D'Arcy, who is owner and president of D'Arcy Buick Pontiac GMC and D'Arcy Volkswagen Hyundai in Joliet, is known for his commitment to the community and his personal involvement in local charities. He has served in various capacities on local boards, including the Leadership Giving Chairperson for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 United Way Campaign, as well as a member of the Will County Pillars Society since its inception in 1996. He volunteers his time at the Forest Park Community Center as an adviser to the Center’s board of directors, a motivational speaker to the youths, and donates supplies on a continuous basis for the educational program. D'Arcy also has served as a board member on the Joliet Park District Foundation, and at the University of St. Francis, Right Moves for Youth, and the Joliet Franciscan Learning Center. In 2002, he served as co-chair of the successfully passed Joliet grade school referendum.

    Besides his commitment to the community, D'Arcy has held numerous posts of professional distinction. He recently served as chair of the 2007 Chicago Auto Show and is past president of the GMC Regional Marketing Board. In addition, D'Arcy is a founding and current member of the First Community Bank of Joliet. He is also recipient of numerous awards, including the Joliet Chapter of UNICO National Citizen of the Year in 2002, the Community Service Awards from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association in 2001, and the Joliet area’s first Sam Walton Business Award in 1998.

  • 2006 | Cecil W. Ingmire & Louise Ray

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    Dr. Cecil W. Ingmire

    Dr. Cecil W. Ingmire is a strong supporter of agriculture and veterinary medicine education in the Joliet area. A practicing veterinarian for almost 50 years, he was instrumental in the decision to acquire the land that is now the Main Campus and also played a role in establishing the Veterinary Medical Technology program. From 1967-71, Ingmire served on the JJC Board of Trustees and was chairman in 1969.

    In addition to his work in education, Ingmire was president of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and chairman of its Vet Technician Committee from 1972-91; a member of the Joliet Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; and president of the Joliet Exchange Club from 2000-01. He has received the Joliet Exchange Club's service award, The Book of Golden Deeds, and the Will County Farm Bureau's Volunteer Award.

    Dr. Ingmire lives in Joliet with his wife, Mary. They have four children and seven grandchildren.


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    Louise Ray

    Louise Ray, founder and director of the Forest Park Community Center, has been an important part of the Joliet community since she arrived in 1971 from Mississippi. Her center has helped more than 500 students receive their high school diplomas, while offering a learning center for young children, GED classes, counseling, and job placement services. She also started Youth Builders, a program that helps young men and women get their high school diplomas, while receiving paid, on-the-job training in the building trades.

    Ray has received numerous awards for her community service, including: the All American City Award, the Governor's Hometown Award, the 10th District Citizen of the Year Award, the African American Heritage Certificate of Achievement, United Way Award for Community Service, Coalition of Black Trade Union's Community Service Award, and the Joliet Public Schools Children for Peace Community Peace Leader Award.

    A resident of Joliet, Ray and her husband, Junior, have four sons, and one son who passed away in 1987.

  • 2005 | Jean A. Hansen

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    Jean A. Hansen

    Civic leader and community volunteer Jean A. Hansen of Channahon has been named recipient of the J.D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award (ESA). The ESA is the highest award given by the college and honors community leaders who have given outstanding service to the District 525 community.

    Employed as public service administrator/ manager by the Illinois Department of Employment Security's Joliet office, Hansen has been involved in the community in endless ways for at least two decades.

    She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Workforce Investment Board, Habitat for Humanity of Will County, Cornerstone Agency, Catholic Charities (Central and Corporate Board), Spanish Center of Joliet, and the Will/Grundy Medical Board.

    She also is on the Advisory/Board of Directors for the Salvation Army of Joliet-Will County, secretary for the Board of Directors for Education to Career, a member of the Marketing and Management Advisory Board at Joliet Junior College, and a member of the Will County Chamber/Center for Economic Development.

    A Northwestern University graduate, she has assisted World War II vets in recording their history, is an advocate for education, and has spoken at many schools including the JJC Tech Prep program.

    Hansen says she is extremely proud to be the recipient of the ESA as she has "such tremendous respect for J. D. Ross." The JJC Board of Trustees established the ESA in 2004, and a unanimous vote must be given in order to be a recipient.

  • 2004 | Brother James Gaffney & James M. Roolf

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    Brother James Gaffney, FSC

    Brother James Gaffney, president of Lewis University since 1988, provides an extraordinary standard for public service through his own example. He is a board member for more than 15 educational, religious, civic, corporate, and community organizations locally, in the Chicagoland area and nationally. His service includes chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canal Corridor Association, the Housing Foundation of Will County, the national Lasallian Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Divisional Board of Directors for Provena St. Joseph Medical Center. He also is a board member of the Will County Center for Economic Development and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet.

    During his presidency, Brother James has spearheaded efforts to strengthen current academic programs, created new educational offerings, promoted mission-centered strategic and long-range planning.

    A former Provincial of the Chicago Province of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Brother James is a graduate of St. Mary's University of Minnesota. He holds master's degrees from St. Mary's and Manhattan Colleges, and a doctorate in pastoral theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois.


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    James M. Roolf

    James M. Roolf is president of First Midwest Bank's Joliet Banking Center and senior vice president of Investor Relations for its parent company, First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. He serves on numerous local boards and committees, and demonstrates extraordinary service at its deepest level while promoting humanitarianism, distinguished public service, scholarly service, and creative attainment. He has worked tirelessly with local and national officials to provide safe, clean and affordable housing for low-income tenants at a local housing complex.

    He also led a capital campaign that exceeded a $3 million goal for the Joliet Area Hospice's new residence for the terminally ill. During his term as chairman of the Will County Center for Economic Development (CED), Roolf led the way for new store development, lobbied for the extension of I-355 and the widening of I-55, and worked with the CED in developing a Targeted Industry Study to research area business needs. Roolf also has worked on fundraising campaigns for the United Way of Will County, Easter Seals, and Caritas 2004, and with the Joliet Grade School District, educators and community members for new and improved schools.