North Central College - Naperville, IL

Eric McLaren

Class Year: 
1986

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2012

Eric McLaren ’86, Ph.D., has devoted his career to advancing the mission of the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), most recently as its principal and vice president for academic programs. In that role, he has been responsible for ensuring quality instruction and the integrity of the overall academic and residential program. A charter staff member, Eric began as a resident counselor in 1986 and was subsequently promoted to head resident counselor, coordinator of residential life, assistant principal/coordinator of community learning and principal. He was named vice president for academic programs in 2004.

His leadership style is characterized by his ability to motivate others by building a shared sense of purpose. In fall 2010, Eric was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “Find something that feeds your sense of purpose and be willing to look low for that purpose as well as high,” Eric said to IMSA students in a video revealing his diagnosis. “It’s one way to learn how to be more fully human as you press beyond ‘being good’ to ‘being good for something.’”

He has continued in his leadership role at IMSA for an extended time as vice president for academic programs and has helped establish a connection between the academy and ALS research efforts. In 2011, he and his family, along with IMSA, hosted an ALS Awareness Night Gala to advance a partnership between IMSA and Project ALS that will focus on programs and research. The proceeds went to the McLaren Family Research Fund at Project ALS and to a fund at IMSA called Cure A Dreaded Human Ailment (CADHA). “If I have to have a disease, then I want something good to come from it,” Eric has said.

Eric majored in psychology at North Central College and went on to receive his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northern Illinois University.

Eric, his wife Kim and their children live in Sugar Grove, IL.


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Fredric Janzen

Class Year: 
1985

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2012

Fredric Janzen ’85, Ph.D., is widely known in the field of evolutionary biology and herpetology as an outstanding teacher, researcher and author. A professor in the department of ecology, evolution and organismal biology at Iowa State University, Fred teaches evolutionary genetics, herpetology and field biology courses to advanced undergraduate and graduate students and has mentored 100 postdoctoral fellows. He has authored 135 scientific articles and book chapters since 1986 and holds editorial positions with two academic journals. Dedicated to global conservation and ecology causes, which resulted in visiting professor posts in Costa Rica and China, he is frequently invited to deliver talks in a variety of academic and science-related settings worldwide and has garnered millions of dollars in grants to support research and education in biology.

Closer to home, Fred is involved in groups that are devoted to amphibian and reptile conservation and studying climate change. He is a member of the Sound Science Initiative, which helps to promote rational U.S. science policy involving the societal impacts of climate change and invasive species.

Fred’s numerous awards for his teaching and research included recognition as an ADVANCE Professor in 2007 by the National Science Foundation. Fred majored in biology at North Central and was inspired to pursue an academic career in zoology by traveling to Arizona and New Mexico for undergraduate research on desert ecology and reptiles. He completed a master’s degree in zoology at Colorado State University, a doctorate in ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Davis.

Fred, his wife Anne and their children live in Ames, IA.


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Priscilla Ferch Gallagher

Class Year: 
1980

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2012

Priscilla Ferch ’80 Gallagher is one of Illinois’ top lawyers, well known for her work in the area of intellectual property law. Registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Priscilla specializes in preparing patent applications involving chemicals, chemical processing, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and mechanical arts. She has negotiated patent licensing and technology sharing agreements in such diverse fields as wellbore gas detection systems, plasma treatment processing and polymeric films; counsels clients on patentability, infringement and validity issues; and has prepared opinions in a wide range of technologies. She manages all aspects of the trademark portfolios for several clients, including clearing trademarks, and obtaining and maintaining registrations on a worldwide basis.

As a litigator, Priscilla has been a member of several successful litigation teams and has developed a unique niche as a strategist and case management specialist. She has extensive legal writing experience at the trial, appellate and Supreme Court levels, including being a principal author of many successful summary judgment and appellate briefs.

At North Central, she majored in chemistry and biology and went on to law school at Loyola University, graduating in 1984. She has been an active supporter of North Central, serving on the Alumni Board and speaking on intellectual property law to graduate students.

Priscilla, her husband Larry and their children live in Chicago.


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Maria E. Wynne

Class Year: 
1977

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2012

Maria E. Wynne ’77 oversees the world’s largest Girl Scouts council and is a leader and role model who influences the lives of nearly 86,000 girls in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. As CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Maria led the merger of seven independent councils in 2008. The reorganized council has experienced an increase in members, launched a new staffing structure and improved other systems for delivering services. These achievements have been recognized with several prestigious awards from area organizations, and Maria was named Chicago Executive of the Year 2011 by the Public Relations Society of America and included among 100 Women Making a Difference by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine in 2011.

Prior to the Girl Scouts, Maria was senior director for the office of citizenship and innovation for the U.S. Public Sector for Microsoft Corporation. Before that, she held other executive positions with Microsoft, Xerox and Ameritech.

At North Central, Maria majored in art. Working on the stage crew of Pfeiffer Hall fostered a passion for theatre and her role as a trustee at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. A North Central College Trustee since 2009, Maria is also active in the Donors Forum, as a board member for the National Taproot Foundation and as an advisory board member for the Chicago Innovation Awards.

Maria holds an M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University and furthered her education at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Harvard Business School through the Center for Creative Leadership. She resides in Chicago.


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Myron Wentz

Class Year: 
1963

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2003

Myron Wentz '63 was honored for his life work in researching the effects of the environment on human cells and for founding three successful enterprises: USANA Health Sciences in Salt Lake City; Gull Laboratories, also in Salt Lake City; and Sanoviv Medical Institute in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

After graduating from North Central, Wentz pursued a Ph.D. in microbiology, with a specialty in immunology, from the University of Utah.

"I've been recognized many times in the sciences and in business — it comes with age," he said from Taiwan, "...but I value this award immensely and I'm deeply touched."


Robert Schroeder

Class Year: 
1958

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2003

Robert Schroeder is a committed public servant and has been a dedicated teacher of government and geography in the Naperville schools for some 30 years. Since 1988, he has been county commissioner in District 5 of the DuPage County Board. He currently serves as a member of the finance, public transit, storm water and economic development committees of the Board. For over 15 years, he has coordinated Christian education classes at Community United Methodist Church for Little Friends, an organization that serves children and adults with developmental, emotional and behavioral disabilities. Since 1990, he has been a volunteer with Public Action to Deliver Shelter, which addresses the needs of the homeless in DuPage County. In 1986, Robert and his wife, Nancy, established the Heyer-Schroeder Scholarship at North Central for students from Wisconsin.


Elfrieda Soeffker Patton

Class Year: 
1948

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2003

After graduating from North Central with a major in psychology, Patton took a job with the FBI where she worked for 20 years. Even though her post-FBI activities include attending FBI conventions, she still finds community service immensely satisfying. She prepares meals for Meals on Wheels, volunteers at a shelter for mentally challenged women and children, and volunteers at the Altenheim Nursing Home. She remains involved with the American Association of University Women, serves as deaconess at Parma South Presbyterian Church in Parma Heights, Ohio, and serves on the boards of Meals on Wheels and Allenheim Nursing Home. She also chairs the Cleveland chapter of the Society of FBI Alumni.


Dan Iverson

Class Year: 
1994

Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2004

Dan Iverson is a history and government teacher as well as the girl’s cross country and track coach for Naperville North High School. In 2001, the Naperville North Girls Cross Country team earned its second Class AA state title since 1993. Coach Iverson’s teams have been IHSA Regional and Sectional Champions and DuPage Valley Conference Champions on numerous occasions. Iverson received the ITCCCA’s (Illinois Track, Cross-Country Coaches Association) Coach of the Year Award in 2002 and the Illinois Association of Girls Coaches Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2001.

Five times in the last 10 years, Iverson has been named “Most Influential Educator” by graduating seniors who are in the top five percent of their class. When he’s not in the classroom or on the high school track, he manages to find time coaching a six-week running camp through the Naperville Park District during the summer months. He has been a guest speaker at numerous athletic conferences and organizations including North Central’s summer camp program for high school runners.

Iverson graduated in 1994 with degrees in history and political science. In 2003 he returned to his alma mater to receive a master’s degree through the M.A.L.S. Program. In 1998, he ran as an independent candidate for Congress in the 13th District to replace retired U.S. representative


Kenneth Pohly

Class Year: 
1945

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2004

Rev. Kenneth Pohly graduated with degrees in psychology and sociology. After graduation, he attended Evangelical Theological Seminary and earned a master of divinity degree in 1947. In 1969 he received a doctorate of ministry degree from Vanderbilt University.

He organized a new mission congregation and led it through development to over 700 members and three building programs in a 17-year period. He helped initiate Rural Ministries Training Program in Ohio, has been a mentor for Pastoral Supervision Peer Group, Doctor of Ministry Program, and most recently, a faculty advisor for the Clinical Learning Peer Group, Doctor of Ministry Program for the United Theological Seminary. Pohly is also a member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the Association for Theological Field Education

Rev. Pohly also has many publications to his credit including The Clinical Method in Theological Education, 1969; The Contextual Model for the Church’s Educational Work, 1974; Pastoral Supervision, 1977; A Theology of Supervision Proceedings, 1981; “The Distinctness of Ministry Supervision,” for the Journal of Supervision and Training in Ministry, 1988; and Transforming the Rough Places: The Ministry of Supervision,” 1993, second edition, 2001.

Over the years, he has been honored with the Brotherhood Award from the Men’s Club of the Euclid Jewish Center, Temple Ner Talmid, in Euclid, Ohio; Outstanding Service Award from The Master’s United Methodist in Euclid in 1965 and 1993; and the renaming of the Center for Supervision and Leadership Formation as the “Kenneth H. Pohly Center for Supervision and Leadership” at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in October 2002.

Kenneth and Marjorie Heininger ’43 Pohly live in Dayton. They have two children, Carol and Keith, and two grandchildren, Aaron and Jesse.


Eliza Keating Moravec

Class Year: 
1968

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2004

Eliza Moravec is president and CEO of Keating of Chicago, Inc., which manufactures and sells fryers, griddles, food warmers and pasta cookers to commercial kitchens and restaurants around the world.

Moravec began working at the Keating factory in 1968, after graduating from North Central with degrees in business management and economics. She soon realized that manufacturing was a male dominated industry and she had to work hard to make her way as a woman. Today, Keating’s biggest contracts include the United States military and federal and state prisons. Her company also supplies Disney and Six Flags amusement parks, the Hilton and the Marriott hotel chains, the Billy Goat Tavern, Soldier Field and fine Chicago area restaurant chains including The Rosebud, Tuscany and Carmine’s.

For the last 36 years, Moravec’s management skills and self motivation have proved invaluable. Although the business was started in 1931 by her grandfather and father with just $1,000, she has built the firm into a multi-million dollar global corporation with 100 employees. President of the privately-held company since 1988, she successfully bought out her business partners in 2003. Her future business plans include a new $11 million plant.

She is married to Donald Moravec ’69, and the couple has two grown children.


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