North Central College paid tribute to longtime President Harold R. Wilde and his wife, Benna, during the College’s annual Holiday Open House.
The Dec. 4 event in Wentz Concert Hall featured two of the College’s student vocal ensembles performing some of the Wildes’ favorite songs. Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger, on behalf of Mayor A. George Pradel, presented the Wildes with a ceremonial key to the city.
“When Hal arrived here 22 years ago, it could be said that we were like a lot of places where cities and colleges don’t always work that well together,” Krieger said.
Since becoming North Central’s president in 1991, Wilde has helped transform the College’s relationship with its neighbors and with business, civic and educational partners in the community.
“The key to a successful partnership is communication,” Krieger said.
Wilde is retiring Dec. 31 as president, just the ninth chief executive in the College’s 151-year history. Dr. Troy D. Hammond becomes president on Jan. 1.
The tribute at the Holiday Open House featured a video showing highlights of some of the academic and scholarly achievements by students, capital improvements to campus and success by student-athletes that have occurred during Wilde’s tenure.
The College’s Women’s Chorale under the direction of Ramona Wis, Mimi Rolland Professor in the Fine Arts and professor of music, performed some of the Wildes’ favorite songs.
“These are pieces that have special significance to Hal and Benna,” Wis said. “They are songs the choir has performed around the country and abroad.”
The College’s Concert Choir under the direction of Jeordano Martinez, professor of music, continued the tribute with performances of more of the Wildes’ favorites, including the song “Cornerstone.”
“We changed the words a little bit at the end,” Martinez told the audience. The Choir then performed the piece by singing “the cornerstone of the school we love,” a line from the College’s Alma Mater. The tribute concluded with the student performances joining the audience and the Wildes in singing the Alma Mater.