Feature News

Alumni are honored for outstanding achievements, service

Oct 25, 2017

Six outstanding alumni were honored at North Central College’s 2017 Homecoming Reunion celebration Oct. 21. They were recognized for their career achievements, commitment to the values of a liberal arts education, and their service to the community and North Central College.

The Outstanding Alumni Award recipients were Lara Masullo ’97 Ellison, D.O., award-winning doctor of osteopathic medicine at Edward Hospital in Naperville; John R. Hancock ’67, highly respected expert in the field of national security and counterintelligence; Gerald McCadd ’92, nationally recognized insurance and financial services professional; and Howard Sprecher ’58, Ph.D., foremost expert in the nation on fatty acid metabolism.

The Alumni Recognition Award recipient was Robert Krzyzanowski ’07, Ph.D., director of data engineering at a successful tech startup valued at more than $1 billion.

The Wall of Witness Award recipient was Rev. Dr. Lynn Pries ’67, a passionate supporter of social justice and service and former campus chaplain at North Central.

Lara Masullo ’97 Ellison, D.O.

Ellison has experienced great success in the 11 years of practicing family medicine at Edward Hospital. In 2010 she was voted one of the city’s favorite “kids docs” by Chicago magazine. After graduating with a degree in biology and earning a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, Ellison demonstrated a vested interest in current North Central students. She and her husband Shane ’95 established the Max Lacewell and Brianna Sharp Memorial Scholarship, which honors two of Ellison’s patients who died of a rare form of brain cancer.

“We’ve always wanted to give back to the College, so we thought this is the perfect opportunity … we can help shape the next doctor,” said Ellison.

John R. Hancock ’67

Hancock served for more than 40 years as a professional security officer in both corporate and governmental capacities. He received five Meritorious and Superior Awards for serving with distinction as a career security and counterintelligence executive with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

Graduating with a degree in sociology and anthropology, Hancock valued the education he received at North Central: “Intelligence agencies like the CIA and State Department are looking for the liberal arts type of education and a well-rounded individual.”

Gerald McCadd ’92

McCadd won accolades as a member of the Cardinal indoor and outdoor track and field national championship team in 1989. “When I think of a team, I think of North Central. I’ve learned throughout my life that you can’t accomplish success alone. You must have a team,” said McCadd, who majored in psychology.

Using the skills he gained in college, he built a successful career in the insurance and financial services industry with State Farm. McCadd has since consistently ranked in the top 4 percent of agents nationwide and, since 2003, served North Central College as treasurer of the Board of Trustee Associates.

Howard Sprecher ’58, Ph.D.

Sprecher has made a name for himself as a prolific researcher, authoring over 200 publications in prominent scientific journals and serving on the editorial board of many publications. He is well known for his revolutionary work and explanation of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) formation in mammals, which is named after him and known as the “Sprecher Pathway.”

“My focus was on what you call fatty acids. The techniques I learned in chemistry at North Central allowed me to do that kind of thing,” said Sprecher. He is professor emeritus in the department of molecular and cell biology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Robert Krzyzanowski ’07, Ph.D.

Krzyzanowski started at North Central at age 11 in the Lederman Scholars program for exceptional youth. He graduated as a College Scholar at age 16 with majors in computer science, mathematics and physics. Krzyzanowski went on to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and now manages a team of computer scientists for Avant, the fastest growing online marketplace lender in the world.

“I realized a lot of the skillsets I had built at North Central, the dichotomy between doing lots of programming and lots of math, were more suited to me. I really wanted to do work that was more hands-on and real,” said Krzyzanowski.

Rev. Dr. Lynn Pries ’67

Pries was named to the College’s Wall of Witness. The honor recognizes alumni of the College and/or Evangelical Theological Seminary for their lives of witness to their faith and service to humanity. An alumnus of both institutions, Pries found a passion for his work as an undergraduate student. “North Central was so incredibly important to me. Those four years were just transformative,” said Pries.

After earning a doctor of ministry degree at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Pries pastored several churches. He returned to North Central and served as campus chaplain for 20 years. In 2001, Pries was recognized as Chaplain of the Year by the United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education. Biographies of past Wall of Witness honorees, including Pries, are displayed in Kiekhofer Hall.

Click here for detailed biographies about each award winner.