1997 Recipients

Ruth Johnson Fawell

Class Year: 1952
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1997

Ruth Johnson Fawell ’52 has been a community leader in Naperville for more than 20 years. Before retiring from teaching, she served School District 203 in various capacities from 1970 to 1989. She has served on the board of the Naperville Riverwalk Commission, the Jeanine Nicarico Literacy Trust Committee and the Advisory Committee for the DuPage Children’s Museum. She was instrumental in plans to relocate the interactive science museum to Naperville, and has also helped with Little Friends Action and North Central College’s alumni fund drives. As an honorary governor of the Illinois Lincoln Series for Excellence in Public Service, she was on the board of directors of the SCI-TECH Science Museum and has been active in state and national political affairs. She’s been a recipient of the Citibank Crystal Award, given to women for outstanding achievement, in the category of Community Enhancement and Betterment.

Ed Mathey

Class Year: 1986
Alumni Recognition Award Winner 1997

Ed Mathey is the head baseball coach for North Central College. He received his master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1991. For nine years, Mathey was previously head baseball coach at North Central College.  During his tenure, the Cardinals won three College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin titles in 1994, 1996 and 1998.  All three conference crowns led to CCIW Coach of the Year Awards for Mathey. He received the President’s Award at the 24th Annual Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame dinner. Nominators commented that Mathey developed North Central into one of the best programs in Illinois. In August 2002, Mathey was named the 24th head coach in the 103-year-history of the Northern Illinois University baseball program.  He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association.


Ed Mathey '86 joined the North Central College baseball coaching staff in November 2014 in his second stint guiding the Cardinal program, previously manning the helm for nine seasons from 1994-2002.

Mathey guided the Cardinals to back-to-back CCIW titles in each of his first two seasons back at North Central, going 31-12, including a 15-6 record in CCIW play, to earn Central Region Coach of the Year by D3baseball.com.  The Cardinals qualified for the NCAA Division III Regional hosted by the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, the ninth appearance in program history. In 2017, Mathey led the Cardinals to the NCAA Division III College World Series. 

In his first year back at the helm, Mathey guided the Cardinals to its 11th College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) regular-season title in 2015, going 16-5 in conference play, with an overall record of 26-16, his eighth 20-win season in 10 seasons as head coach.  Eight of Mathey's players were named to the All-CCIW teams, tied for the most selections in program history, led by the program's first CCIW Pitcher of the Year in Bryan Polowy.  Polowy would turn in one of the best seasons in program history, finishing with a record of 8-1 as his 1.09 ERA broke the single-season mark set in 1974, while also earning D3baseball.com and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings Central Region Pitcher of the Year, as well as earning ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-America and D3baseball.com Third Team All-America honors.

Mathey returned to North Central after serving as head coach at NCAA Division I Northern Illinois University for 12 seasons, guiding the Huskies to a Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division Championship in 2013, the first in program history, while leaving his mark on the program as the all-time winningest coach amassing 294 victories.  Mathey holds the four winningest seasons in program history and is the only head coach to eclipse the 30-win plateau during a single season, doing so four times throughout his tenure, including a pair of 34-win seasons in 2003 and 2007.  Over his stint at Northern Illinois, Mathey has produced 59 all-conference selections, 34 professional players, 20 all-region selections, 11 Major League Baseball draft picks and eight All-Americans.

Mathey has totaled 525 victories over his 22 years as a collegiate head coach, with his 500th win coming in his first victory back at North Central in the Cardinals 30-0 win over Lawrence University on Mar. 7, 2015.  

Mathey remains North Central’s second-winningest head coach, totaling 231 victories while also guiding the team to CCIW Championships in 1994, 1996 and 1998 while finishing runner-up in each of the 1995 and 2001 seasons.  He qualified his team for the NCAA Central Regional twice, finishing runner-up in 1998 and finishing 15th in the final national rankings.

As a collegiate athlete, Mathey was a four-year member of the North Central baseball program and earned First Team All-CCIW accolades as a pitcher his junior season.  After graduating in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management, he later completed his master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Illinois in 1991.

Mathey and his wife, Colleen, along with their three children, Patrick, Michael and Juliet currently reside in Sycamore, Ill. 

Charles D. Bueche

Class Year: 1952
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1997

Charles Bueche is a lifetime community volunteer. Since retiring as vice president of employee benefits of Fannie May Candy Shops, he has been an active member of the Junior Chamber Commerce (Jaycees), working with the organization on a city, state and national level, serving as director of the National Jaycees. He received a distinguished Service Award from the Jaycees and was named Outstanding State Chair. He has also volunteered for various leadership positions with church committees, YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, VFW Post 3873 and the Y’s Men’s and Women’s Club International.


Elmer A. Sundby

Class Year: 1952
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 1997

Elmer Sundby taught at North Central from 1956-72 and served as a graduate lecturer on learning disabilities at the National College of Education in Evanston, Ill. He retired from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he was a professor and chair of psychology and assistant to the vice chancellor of academic affairs. He has been a member of the Wisconsin Annual Conference Board of Higher Education and Ministry and has been active in the United Methodist Church. As a visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota for one year, Sundby was also a Ford Foundation Fellow, named to Who’s Who in the Midwest and cited as an Outstanding Educator in America. He is a member of many professional organizations and his contributions to the community include working with the Eau Claire Rotary Club and Eau Claire County Mental Health Association, mediating for the Eau Claire County small claims court and delivering books to shut-ins as a library volunteer.


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.