Jean M. Oliver Henning
Class Year: 1941
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2005
"Professor's kid" ... alumna ... coach's wife ... and now 2005 Outstanding Alumna Award recipient. At Homecoming, Jean M. Oliver '41 Henning condensed a lifetime of North Central memories into a personal and emotional recount of her many years at the College.
The daughter of Professor of Speech Emeritus Guy Eugene Oliver, she fondly remembered her campus upbringing as a "P.K.," culminating with her own North Central degree, teaching career and happy marriage to the late Dr. Harold W. Henning '41. (An Olympic swimming coach, Henning is a member of North Central's Athletic Hall of Fame; he received the College's Outstanding Alumni Award in 1963.)
"I grew up along with the College," said Henning, who recalled watching the construction of both Merner Field House (1930) and Pfeiffer Hall (1926) and looking into the fiery blaze the night Nichols Gymnasium burnt down (1929). "Our home was always filled with North Central students and faculty .... Because my father was in broadcasting, he brought home the first television in Naperville."
Henning is an internationally published writer whose articles and poetry have appeared in various magazines. She also published three books: A Sports Odyssey: Journal of an Olympic Wife, Six Days to Swim and Naper Scenes-Poetry of Naperville.
Her athletic prowess in the water has included diving, water ballet, swimming and water walking. She also established the Henning Library at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the world's aquatic sports library in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
A member of North Central's 1861 Society, which recognizes cumulative lifetime gifts of $1 million or more, and a longtime donor to WONC-FM 89.1 broadcasting facilities in Oliver Hall, Henning also supports two College scholarships: the Dr. Harold W. Henning Scholarship, for students anticipating a career in dentistry or medicine, and The Guy Oliver Scholarship Fund.
She divides her time between Naperville and Marco Island, Fla. Henning has two children, Ronald and Susan Henning '78 Tansley.
Mimi Flickinger Rolland
Class Year: 1955
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2005
Mimi Flickinger '55 Rolland of Fort Wayne, Ind., is a devoted fan of her family, community, the arts, education and North Central College.
In receiving the College's 2005 Outstanding Alumni Award at Homecoming, Rolland remarked that she abandoned her prepared speech after attending her Class of 1955 50-Year Club induction the previous evening. "Warm memories of good friends" and her time at North Central were rekindled, she said, and reminded her of the strength and self-confidence she developed while a student.
"I give cheers to North Central for arming each of us with ideas and strengths to lead the best possible lives."
During her lifetime, Rolland has been actively involved in volunteer and community activities, particularly those that addressed problems of Fort Wayne's inner city. She helped establish the East Wayne Street Center in inner-city Fort Wayne; started a nursery school program that evolved into a Head Start Program; served seven years as a Girl Scout leader for a group of nine inner-city girls; acted as a storyteller, song teacher and tutor in local public schools and Head Start programs; and led sing-alongs for students and senior citizens.
Involved in music groups as a college student, her love for the arts has never waned. Rolland continues to enjoy singing and playing the piano and harp and says, "Art and music bring beauty and joy to life." In 2001, she generously endowed the Mimi Rolland Professorship in the Fine Arts chair as part of North Central's Preparing for a New Century Capital Campaign.
A former North Central College trustee, she and her husband, Ian, recently donated $1 million to the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café to create a warm and welcoming place on campus for people to gather. After its grand opening in fall 2004, the Café quickly became one of the busiest and most popular buildings on campus.
The Rolland's have five adult children and 13 grandchildren.
Class Year: 1965
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2005
Owner of Aspen Properties in San Diego, Calif., John Tworoger '65 has parlayed a degree in psychology and chemistry from North Central, and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, into a highly successful career as a commercial, industrial and residential property developer in California and Texas.
Preparing to return to the College to receive the 2005 Outstanding Alumnus Award, Tworoger said he reflected on his undergraduate years.
"What did I learn at North Central? How did it help me survive, spiritually, emotionally and mentally?" he asked himself. "A lot of the things George St. Angelo said stayed with me," he stated, recalling the immense impact the Rev. St. Angelo '43 had on his generation's awareness of what was going on in the world, including injustice.
Tworoger also felt very well prepared academically. "Mentally, North Central made me tough. I went to graduate school with a lot of Stanford guys, and I felt very comfortable."
Today, Tworoger's firm oversees in excess of 8 million square feet of property throughout San Diego County in California and in Austin, Texas. He also manages 1.2 million square feet of office buildings, medical and industrial buildings under construction in San Diego and an additional 2 million square feet of office and mixed-use property in the Austin area, also under active development.
He is controller and also serves on the board of directors of Spectrum Property Management, serves on the board of Rancho Bernardo Association, and is president of two planned industrial developments.
A member of the College's Board of Trustees, Tworoger made it possible for a company employee with great potential to attend North Central several years ago.
He was happy to report that some things don't change. When asked about the experience, his protégé replied, "They always went the extra mile."
Class Year: 1995
Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2005
Jeremy Schmutz '95 is young to be a senior scientist at the Stanford Human Genome Center in Palo Alto, Calif., an accomplishment that was honored at Homecoming as Schmutz received the College's equivalent of a "young alum" award. With a father who was bringing computers home in the 1970s and a mother, Terry Schmutz '95, who worked at the College, it was perhaps inevitable that he would grow up at ease with technology and major in computer science at North Central.
But Schmutz was also fascinated by microbiology because it involved DNA and fondly remembers endless discussions with professors Terry Marsh and Tom Williams about all the questions raised in genetics. He soon added a major in biology, which didn't come quite as easily. "Marsh and Williams let us find our wild side," he recalled as he accepted his award. "The small classes at North Central meant we could sit around and talk about ideas."
During a North Central internship at Argonne National Laboratory, Schmutz learned about genomic science — which merges computer science, biology and engineering — and a career was born. Even without an advanced degree, Schmutz was able to join the Stanford Human Genome Center, which was running a pilot study in human genome sequencing, a topic called the "crown jewel of 20th century science."
The process eventually required 20 laboratories across the globe to produce a draft of the sequence. The Stanford Center completed the finishing process of three chromosomes to correct errors and close gaps. Schmutz managed the vast quantities of data generated by the project, which were disbursed worldwide for scientists to access. "The human genome project consumed my life for eight years," said Schmutz. "And the same questions we discussed with professors Marsh and Williams are still being worked on."
Schmutz continues his work on genomes, currently documenting certain species of frogs, fungi, ocean algea and fish as part of a Department of Energy initiative examining the carbon cycle of the world's environment.
He lives in Menlo Park, Calif.