Class Year: 1951
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2006
Ray "Curly" Noerenberg '51 is known among his North Central College classmates and hundreds of friends as a man whose heart is as big as the voice he uses as an auctioneer. His generous spirit and active role at North Central earned him an Outstanding Alumni Award, which he received with gratitude and emotion at Homecoming 2006.
"I know deep in my heart that you all do as much as I or more," he said to his fellow alumni in accepting the honor. "But thanks for giving me this award."
Noerenberg fondly recalled his first impression of North Central College.
"I came to this place in 1947 for the first time. I walked up to Old Main and I thought 'Boy, that's a beautiful building.” Noerenberg was active in the Naperville community in countless ways, giving his time to the booster club at Naperville North High School, as a Pony League baseball coach and as a board member and choir member at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville. His work as a board member of the Illinois Independent Living Center was recognized with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award for community service.
As a North Central student, Noerenberg was a commerce major and a member of the Cardinals men's swim team. An active alumnus, Noerenberg served North Central College in many capacities. He volunteered as a class representative for the Class of 1951, as an Alumni Board member and as 50-Year Club president. He supports a family scholarship in appreciation for the Christian teachings of his grandparents, the Rev. and Mrs. William Norenberg (originally spelled Noerenberg), who served in the United Evangelical Church.
Dante J. Germanotta
Class Year: 1951
Wall of Witness Award Winner 2006
The late Dante J. Germanotta '51 (1929-2004) was recognized by North Central College for his life of commitment to social justice causes and higher education during Homecoming Weekend.
His widow, Marybeth "Betsy" Erdman '51, accepted his award.
"The Wall of Witness in Kiekhofer Hall is intended to recognize and honor alumni of the College or the Evangelical Theological Seminary whose lives embody the values — and the commitment to principled leadership, justice and service — which reflect our mission as an institution," said President Harold Wilde. "We felt Dante would be both an ideal first recipient and the person to set the standard for the award."
Those who nominated Germanotta emphasized his extraordinary life experiences and passion for social causes.
"Dante represents the highest example of the kind of dedicated service ... that North Central encouraged and prepared students for in the 1940s and 1950s, which is still instilled in its students today," wrote Leota Buss '51 Ester.
Geramanotta came to North Central College to follow in his father's footsteps and become a minister. After graduation, he married his college sweetheart, Marybeth, and entered Evangelical Theological Seminary. He became a minister in a small rural Wisconsin church but he desired a way to make a difference in the world.
Over his lifetime, he demonstrated a devotion to a variety of social justice causes in Massachusetts, Ohio and the American South. During the Civil Rights Movement, he taught at a predominantly black college in South Carolina, lived in an African-American neighborhood, registered black voters and became active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In 1968, Germanotta received a doctorate in sociology and social ethics from Boston University and moved to Defiance, Ohio. There he took up the plight of Hispanic migratory workers. A move back to Massachusetts to teach sociology at Curry College allowed him to build upon an earlier interest in prison ministry. He implemented a degree program because he believed inmates could lead useful lives after they were released, and he built an international reputation as an advocate for prisoners' rights.
"I knew he would champion the cause of the disenfranchised and underprivileged, and indeed he did, as the list of his achievements so forcefully reveals," wrote Bill Senn '51.
Class Year: 1991
Alumni Recognition Award Winner 2006
Scott Wehrli '91 is a recognized leader in Naperville as a business manager, community volunteer, Boy Scout leader and member of the North Central College Board of Trustees.
For his many roles in the community and service to the College, Wehrli received the Alumni Recognition Award, which honors a "young alum" for accomplishments in the 15 years (or less) since graduating from North Central.
"I'm blessed to have North Central as part of my life and to have so many alumni serve as role models in my life," Wehrli said in accepting the award.
Wehrli is corporate secretary-treasurer and partner of DuKane Precast, Inc., a premier producer of pre-cast concrete building components based in Naperville. In this role, he is a visible business leader in the community, serving as vice chairman of the Naperville Development Partnership and vice chairman and founding member of the Plainfield Economic Development Partnership.
While at North Central, Wehrli majored in speech communication and was head of the news department at WONC-FM 89.1. Since his graduation 15 years ago, he has continued a family tradition of service to the College. He became president of the North Central College Board of Trustee Associates, a group of young Naperville-area professionals who are committed to advancing the College. In 2005, he was elected to the Board of Trustees.
In the community, he has received awards for his dedicated volunteer work with the Boy Scouts of America as an area exploring advisor and past co-chair of the Illinois Law Enforcement Explorer Conference. He also received a meritorious service award from the Naperville Park District, where he served as a police lieutenant in the district's police department.
Wehrli said that while the alumni of the College represent so many different generations, backgrounds and cultures, they share a common goal: "They're passionate about what they do and they live every day with a purpose," he said. "Students come here to prepare for life and leave here still hungry to learn."
H. Robert Holmes
Class Year: 1966
Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2006
H. Robert (Bob) Holmes ’66, a political science major, began his professional career as a stock broker with Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, and later progressed rapidly through a series of promotions with the firm Blyth, Eastman, Dillon & Company.
In 1979, Holmes founded Gilford Securities along with other senior officers of the former Blyth Eastman Dillon & Company. Gilford Securities is one of Wall Street’s few remaining private investment banking firms, with ownership shared by its founders and many of the firm’s more than 150 employees. Today, Gilford Securities is a full-service, national investment firm and maintains offices in Irvine, Calif.; New York City; and in White Plains, Melville and Westhampton, N.Y.
Holmes was elected to North Central’s Board of Trustees in 1979 and was a member of the Board’s Public Affairs and Development Committee. He has also served the College as a class representative, Phonathon caller and has been a contributor to the Linda Gross Holmes Memorial Scholarship in memory of his first wife, Linda Gross ’67 Holmes.
In 1982, he received the College’s first Alumni Recognition Award and in 1989 became a life member of the Presidents Club. Holmes honored his late grandparents, Ben ’12 and Bess Turner ’12 Kiekhofer, with a naming gift toward the renovation of Kiekhofer Hall and Koten Chapel. This gift is a celebration of the strong ties between his grandparents and North Central College.