The Moraine Valley Community College Foundation has selected seven successful alumni to be inducted into its Alumni Hall of Fame. The inductees will be invited to campus in November to spend time with students in various capacities and to attend a reception where they will be the second group of alumni installed into the Hall of Fame.
Community members who knew of a deserving candidate submitted their nominations to the Foundation last spring. Selection criteria included: credit or noncredit coursework at Moraine Valley (degree completion was not required), success within their chosen field or profession and a positive impact made on the community through volunteerism and leadership. Seven winners were selected from 18 nominations:
- Michael Deno, of Oak Forest, Illinois, earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1986. He is an assistant state’s attorney and has worked his way up through the ranks of the State’s Attorney’s Office to his current position of supervisor of prosecutions for the 5th District Court in Bridgeview.
- Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, of Albany, New York, earned an Associate of Arts degree in Political Science in 1979. She is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 109th District. She is an outspoken advocate for education advocacy and sits on the assembly’s Committee on Higher Education. She also is a long-term mentor to at-risk and refugee children.
- Kelly O’Brien, of Palos Hills, Illinois, earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1989. She is an attorney and president and CEO of the Alliance for Regional Development and executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee. Her career has spanned the public and private sector, including stints at the White House, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and an investment banking firm. She now is responsible for convening leaders from government, academia and private sector to identify collaborative initiatives to move the Tri-State Chicago Metropolitan Area forward.
- William Peterson, of Kissimmee, Florida, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science in 1972. He is the senior vice president at Strategic Government Resources in Keller, Texas, where he serves as the primary technical expert for operational assessments and management consulting in the fields of Fire, EMS and Emergency Management. He is an editorial advisory panel member for the “Crisis Response Journal” and was a regional administrator for the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also was the international president of the Institution of Fire Engineers based in Morton-in-Marsh, England. Mr. Peterson is pictured.
- Vicki Quade, of Chicago, Illinois, earned an associate degree in the 1970s. She is the owner of Nuns4Fun Entertainment, home to the international hit “Late Nite Catechism,” the longest-running (22 years in Chicago), one-woman show in Off Broadway history. She also created four other religious comedies and a new line of bingo comedies. She has donated over $3 million to the care of retired Catholic nuns.
- Margot Riphagen, of New Orleans, Louisiana, earned an Associate of Arts degree in 2001. She is the southern field director of Planned Parenthood of America. She has worked extensively organizing unions across the country and for the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns. She volunteered for the Rape Victim Advocates hotline and is an active participant in the Women’s Rights movement.
- Jerry Thor of Melbourne, Florida, earned an associate degree in 2007. He is the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Eastern Florida State College at Melbourne. He previously served as head coach at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, and at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas, and assistant coach at Moraine Valley, where he also played for two years and earned several post-season honors. At each school, he turned struggling programs into successful, nationally ranked teams. While at Moraine Valley, he also served as student trustee. He has served as a member of the Army Reserve.
“As the Hall of Fame grows, we get a bigger picture of the accomplishments Moraine Valley alums have made in their careers and respective communities,” said Kari Pantol, assistant director of the Foundation. “We are excited to see how our past students are making the world a better place, and we want to share these successes with current students, faculty, staff, and our community.”
Community members interested in attending the induction ceremony and hors d’oeuvres reception on Thursday, Nov. 12, can purchase a ticket for $25. Cocktail hour is at 6 p.m., and the presentation is at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.morainevalley.edu/alumni/hall-of-fame/
The Foundation plans to induct five to eight alumni every year and will be asking for nominations in spring 2016. Information will be available at morainevalley.edu/alumni.