2002 Recipients

Dorcas Mae Lepien Toenniges Pearcy

Class Year: 1947
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Dorcas Percy was a savvy business woman who ran Toenniges Jewelers, Inc., for more than 50 years. She recently moved to Wisconsin but continues to travel. While residing in Naperville, Pearcy was an active community volunteer who served breakfast twice a month at PADS and Katharine Manor. She sang with the Naperville Woman’s Club Chorus and was also a member of New Horizons, the 55 Years and Older Band at Benedictine University. She also directed the Community United Methodist Church Choir for many years. Pearcy has traveled to the Philippines and Africa with Heifer Project International and continues to volunteer through its Chicago branch. In 1998, she published the book Facets of Dorcas, Memoirs, which includes a chapter about North Central College.

Al Benedetti

Class Year: 1948
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

A native of Chicago, Al Benedetti joined the family residential construction business in 1951, assuming the presidency of Bruno Benedetti and Sons in 1963. Benedetti served on the boards of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce for nine years and the Northern Illinois Home Builders Association for six years. Almost 30 years ago, along with the help of other college supporters, Benedetti and Dick Wehrli ’56 performed what the Chicago Tribune referred to as the $18,000 Miracle in Naperville, together transporting and re-constructing the old St. Louis Cardinals stadium on North Central’s south campus.
Benedetti has been a College Trustee since 1988 and was named Life Trustee in 2002. He was also chairman of the 1986 committee that assisted with efforts to complete the renovation of Merner Field House and is a former Alumni Board member. He continues to serve as a North Central College Trustee. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Gael D. Swing Award for Meritorious Service.


Barbara Schroeder Rehn

Class Year: 1957
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Barbara Rehn has dedicated more than 40 years to the profession of teaching piano to students of all ages. She maintains a weekly studio of 45 students, many of whom participate and place in the Wisconsin State Music Association contests for which she has served as a volunteer accompanist for many years. Her most rewarding experiences have been developing lasting relationships with each of her students. Rehn is an active member of Community United Methodist Church of Elm Grove, Wis., and a loyal volunteer and supporter of North Central. She has assisted with recruiting high school students and organized Milwaukee area alumni gatherings on behalf of the College. She has served on the Alumni Board and has been a class representative for more than 40 years.

Joseph E. Birkett

Class Year: 1977
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2002

Joseph Birkett was sworn in as DuPage County state’s attorney in 1996, and has been re-elected to two consecutive four-year terms. Throughout his career, he has assisted with training junior prosecutors and has received numerous awards and commendations for his public service. He received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1981 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar later that same year. He became an assistant states attorney in DuPage County in 1981. In 1985, he was promoted to chief of the Major Crimes Unit and the next year was named deputy chief of the Criminal Division. He served from 1991-96 as the Chief of the Criminal Division. He is a member of several professional organizations and is also an adjunct faculty member at National Louis University in Wheaton, Ill.

Peter Hallam

Class Year: 1987
Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2002

Peter Hallam graduated third in his class, summa cum laude, from John Marshall Law School. After law school, he became a litigation associate with the Chicago firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Today, Hallam is a partner in the firm and litigates a broad range of commercial lawsuits, real estate matters and general corporate disputes. He frequently lectures on real estate litigation topics.

Suzanne Erzinger Hallam

Class Year: 1987
Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2002

Suzanne Erzinger Hallam became a full-time mom to her two sons after working nine years at Information Resources Inc., a marketing research firm in Chicago. She is a school volunteer and one of the chairpersons for the Flossmoor Community Church Parent Education Group. She coordinates the local women’s social organization and plans the neighborhood block and holiday parties.