Goke-Pariola presented Dr. Robert “Tad” Lehe, professor of philosophy, for the conferment of emeritus status. Described as “part of the very foundation of North Central College,” Lehe served the college for more than 40 years as a teacher, mentor, scholar, and leader among his colleague.
Dr. Marci Swede, dean of the School of Education and Health Sciences, presented Dr. Carmen Ayala, the former superintendent for the Illinois State Board of Education, with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Ayala delivered the commencement address.
“Don’t be afraid to go through those doors,” she told graduates. “Don’t be afraid to step in – the waters are warm. You will always have individuals to help you through.”
Dr. Kathy Birkett, member of the Board of Trustees, was presented with the 2023 Gael D. Swing Award for Meritorious Service for her work as the chair of the Presidential Search Committee.
Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presented one of two Harold and Eva White First Citizen of the College Awards to Dorothy Pleas, associate dean of students and director of multicultural affairs.
Dr. Diane Bruce, dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship, gave the other First Citizen of the College Award to Dr. Peter Barger, associate provost and director of institutional effectiveness and planning as well as a professor of economics and finance.
Naperville mayor and North Central alumnus Scott Wehrli ’91 offered his congratulations to the graduates on behalf of the city.
“Failure is how you grow,” Wehrli said. “Everything you learned and experienced at North Central is just the start of new experiences. Mistakes can and will be made. This is how we all learn.”
Dr. Holly Humphrey ’79, chair of the North Central College Board of Trustees, welcomed the Class of 2023 to the North Central alumni community on behalf of all Cardinal graduates.
“We have cheered you on through all your successes,” she said. “Now it’s your turn to share in the success of all the future students of this institution.”
To hear from more speakers, watch the graduates walk the stage, and catch up with all the other activities from Commencement weekend, visit our Commencement web page.