North Central College - Naperville, IL

G. Ward Stearns

Class Year: 
1956

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1988

G. Ward Stearns was president and chief executive officer of Harris Bank in Naperville. After graduating from North Central College with a degree in business administration, Stearns pursued graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Graduate School of Banking. Prior to his 1970 appointment as president of the Bank of Naperville, later Harris Bank, he was a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vice president of Naperville National Bank, and president of the Bank of Westmont. He has been involved in numerous Naperville civic organizations and serves several area bank boards. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950-54 and is a licensed commercial pilot. For the College, Stearns has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 1984 and has been a Life Trustee since 1996.


Roberta Schaeffer

Class Year: 
1938

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1983

Roberta Schaeffer worked alongside her husband Everett – the medical director and chief of staff at Red Bird Mission Hospital in Beverly, Ky. – as a missionary and served as editor of the mission newsletter, The Cardinal. In 1980, she wrote the book titled The Story of Red Bird Mission. She has participated in United Methodist Women, and the Woman’s Club, where she served as president for three years, and is a volunteer at the Madison County Pregnancy Health Center. In 2003, she wrote a second book, Bedside Manor: One Doctor’s Family, as a sequel to her earlier book.

After his retirement from Red Bird in 1984, Everett became a volunteer at Berea Hospital and a chaplain with the board of trustees of Body Recall, Inc. He is a member of the American Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Madison County Medical Association, the Christian Medical and Dental Association and Family Practice Medical Society. Schaeffer has been recognized by the board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for his mission work and medical practice and as chief of staff of Red Bird Mission Hospital. He was awarded the Heroes, Saints and Legends plaque in 1999 and honored with the naming of the medical clinic building of Red Bird Mission Hospital as the E.W. Schaeffer Medical Clinic.


Everett Schaeffer

Class Year: 
1939

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1983

Everett Schaeffer was the medical director and chief of staff at Red Bird Mission Hospital in Beverly, Ky. After his retirement from Red Bird in 1984, he became a volunteer at Berea Hospital and a chaplain with the board of trustees of Body Recall, Inc. He is a member of the American Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Madison County Medical Association, the Christian Medical and Dental Association and Family Practice Medical Society. Schaeffer has been recognized by the board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for his mission work and medical practice and as chief of staff of Red Bird Mission Hospital. He was awarded the Heroes, Saints and Legends plaque in 1999 and honored with the naming of the medical clinic building of Red Bird Mission Hospital as the E.W. Schaeffer Medical Clinic.

Roberta Schaeffer worked alongside her husband as a missionary and served as editor of the mission newsletter, The Cardinal. In 1980, she wrote the book titled The Story of Red Bird Mission. She has participated in United Methodist Women, and the Woman’s Club, where she served as president for three years, and is a volunteer at the Madison County Pregnancy Health Center. In 2003, she wrote a second book, Bedside Manor: One Doctor’s Family, as a sequel to her earlier book.


Charlotte Roederer

Class Year: 
1965

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1992

Charlotte Roederer graduated summa cum laude from North Central College in 1965 with majors in music and mathematics. She received both a master’s and Ph.D. degree with honors in music history from Yale University and a law degree with high honors from New York State University at Buffalo. She has been a board member and president of the Youth Orchestra Foundation of Buffalo and a music director and organist at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. She is the author of medieval sections of a music history textbook that has been used on many college campuses. Currently, Roederer is a vice president in the legal division at Citibank in Amherst, N.Y.


Ruben A. Roca

Class Year: 
1962

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1997

Ruben Roca was born and raised in Cuba, then came to the United States in order to escape the political fallout from the rise of Castro. He represented Cuba in swimming at the 1959 Pan-American Games and the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. At North Central, was a member of the legendary Cardinal men’s swim team of the early 60s. He pursued graduate work in economics at American University in Washington, D.C., and then became vice president and director of retail strategies for the Rouse Company of Columbia, Md.—best known for its high-profile city projects like Faneuil Hall in Boston and South Street Seaport in Manhattan. He edited and coordinated the publication and preparation of an International Council of Shopping Centers book titled Market Research for Shopping Centers, which was published in 1980. Today, Roca is retired from Rouse Company and has developed Roca Real Estate Advisors, which provides advisory services to corporate entities in Spain and other European countries. He also assists European retailers entering the U.S. market.


Arthur "Buck" Rikli

Class Year: 
1939

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1995

Arthur Rikli was a pioneer in the use of computers as a diagnostic tool in medicine. In 1958, he conceptualized the design for the first computer to process electrocardiograms. For 25 years he was a member of the U.S. Public Health Service and served as chief of its National Heart Disease Program for five of those years. After retiring in 1968 with the rank of colonel, he was recruited to direct Missouri’s Regional Medical Program, one of the first of its kind to receive federal funding. Rikli was also founder of the National Organization for State Kidney Programs and served as its first president. Following retirement, he has continued to serve as a consultant to the Department of Health and Informatics. Today, he is president of the National Society for Computer Medicine and holds the title professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Sharon Zimmerman Rader

Class Year: 
1961

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1996

Sharon Rader’s inspiring pastoral and administrative leadership is valued by laity and clergy alike. She served as Bishop of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1992 to her retirement in 2004. She has chaired the Council of Bishops Initiative on Children and Poverty and was president of the Wisconsin Conference of Churches. In 1976, she received a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where she was later awarded the 1996 Outstanding Alumni Award. She was ordained as an elder of the United Methodist Church in 1978 and served congregations in Michigan and Illinois before being appointed district superintendent of the West Michigan Annual Conference in 1989, the same year she received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Albion College. She’s a trustee of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and served as a North Central College Trustee from 1992-2004. She has traveled for mission study to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and has served on the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries, the ethnic minority local church committee and the commission on the status and role of women.


Harold "Joe" Pletcher

Class Year: 
1952

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1987

After graduating from North Central, Harold “Joe” Pletcher served two years in the U.S. Army as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Then in 1954, he joined the First National Bank of Chicago and later retired as senior vice president in charge of real estate in 2000. During that time, Pletcher received a J.D. degree from John Marshall Law School in 1962 and a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago in 1974. In 2000, he founded PMC Associates, a real estate consulting firm. Pletcher has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the University of Chicago Executive Club, Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association. He served as chairman of the board for Southeast Holding Company, Ltd. He was also a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Illinois Bar Association, Naperville Sesquicentennial Ball Committee, DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals, Naperville Heritage Society, Grace United Methodist Church and Who’s Who in Real Estate. At North Central College, Pletcher was a member of the Alumni Board, Board of Trustees and founding member of the Mentor Club.


George Picha

Class Year: 
1959

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1994

George Picha is an involved citizen of Rockford, Ill., in many ways. He is a senior partner at Picha and Salisbury Law Firm where he practices exclusively in the area of workers’ compensation law. He’s also a member of the workers’ compensation committee of the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association and serves as a technical advisor for proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act. He has been an author and lecturer for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education courses on workers compensation law and was appointed to the Illinois Industrial Commission. In addition to his leadership responsibilities at both the county and state levels, he’s currently serving on the public policy steering committee of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce. In 1997, Picha was the recipient of the Paul Revere Award for Business Advocacy by the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce.


Jeffrey J. Oesterle

Class Year: 
1976

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1995

Jeff Oesterle has been on the North Central College Board of Trustees since 1995. After graduating from North Central College with a degree in biology, Oesterle was a telephone executive from 1976 to1988. In 1987, he became a property manager and developer and is currently the owner of Plaza Properties in Highland, Ind. Community service is very important to Oesterle. He is currently president of the Rotary Club of Hammond, Ind. He was the foundation president of that city’s Parks Foundation from 2003-04, vice-president of the Lake County Indiana Court House Foundation since 1997, and a delegate of the YMCA with the USA National Convocation in 2003. Oesterle was awarded the Hammond Jaycees DSA in 1985 and JCI Senator in 1991 and named a life member of North Central’s Presidents Club in 1998. In 2004, he received the YMCA of the Hammond Area Lifetime of Service Award along with his father, Clare Oesterle ’39.


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