Former Aurora Mayor, Chief of Police Stover Named Waubonsee “Fab 40”
Sugar Grove — David Stover spent his entire career in public service. He served his country as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, protected his hometown as an Aurora police officer and as chief of police, and led Aurora into the 21st century as the city’s mayor. Waubonsee Community College is proud to honor him as one of the college’s “Fabulous 40” alumni.
David Stover, seen here in the Aurora Mayor’s Office, spent his entire career in public service. He served his country as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, protected his hometown as an Aurora police officer and as chief of police, and led Aurora into the 21st century as the city’s mayor. Waubonsee Community College is proud to honor him as one of the college’s “Fabulous 40” alumni.
As part of the college’s yearlong 40th anniversary celebration, Waubonsee is honoring 40 alumni and students who embody the mission, vision and values of the college. These individuals represent the diversity of Waubonsee’s students and the college district, as well as the diversity of the college’s mission as a comprehensive community college.
After high school, Stover would join the U.S. Marine Corps and serve in Vietnam with a highly distinguished record. He received the Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnamese Unit Citation with Cross of Gallantry Colors, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnamese Service Medal with two stars and the Vietnamese Campaign Medal.
When he left the service, Stover would take a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigations in their Chicago office, working the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
“It was an exciting time for me,” he said.
In 1969, Stover decided to return to work for his hometown’s police force in Aurora. His career with the Aurora Police Department would be marked by a steady rise in rank and responsibility. In 1971, he was named the department’s Patrolman of the Year.
“I went well beyond my expectations,” he said.
Deciding that he needed more education to advance in life, in 1974, Stover used federal grants for law enforcement officers to go back to college.
“I knew going to college was important to me and my family’s future,” he said. “I was still an officer with a family while I was a student. It was difficult. My wife believed in it and was very supportive.”
Stover attributes much of his career success to his education.
“Waubonsee was the fuel for the fire for the rest of my educational career,” he said. “It was a pleasant surprise how professional and motivational the professors were. It was equal in quality to any four-year college. Waubonsee became the foundation and the building blocks for my future.”
Stover’s experience at Waubonsee instilled in him a lifelong love of learning.
“I’m obviously proud of the fact that I obtained my first college degree from Waubonsee,” he said. “The whole academic experience was terrific. I walked away from Waubonsee knowing that I could perform well anywhere. I developed good study habits and it gave me the motivation to go on.”
Following his graduation from Waubonsee, Stover pursued his education at Aurora University, where he graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He would go on to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in business management from Aurora University in 1988.
“All of my additional academic achievements were due to the foundation Waubonsee provided me,” he said.
In many ways, Waubonsee provided Stover with a global perspective that he applied in advancing his career.
“The appreciation for having an academic background, mixed with the occupational experience, provided the foundation to achieve a number of things in my career,” he said. “It gave me a deeper appreciation for what was going on in the world and focus on things that were not specific to Aurora. All of that shapes your future.”
Stover ultimately would lead the Aurora Police Department as chief of police, a position he held from 1991 to 1997. In this role, he managed a $22 million annual budget. He was then elected mayor of Aurora in 1997, leading the state’s second largest city, and served until he left public service in 2005. As mayor, Stover would spearhead a number of critical projects for the city and was always a staunch advocate for Waubonsee.
In addition to his decorated criminal justice career, Stover passed along his extensive experience and knowledge by teaching classes at Waubonsee in the early 1990s and was a guest lecturer in Waubonsee’s criminal justice courses. He also taught classes at Aurora University and as a guest lecturer at the University of North Florida Institute of Police Technology and Management.
During his professional career, Stover was a member of a long list of professional and community organizations including the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, the Juvenile Protective Association, the Aurora United Way, and the Aurora Area Crime Stoppers.
Before his retirement from public service, Stover was a lifelong resident of Aurora. He and his wife now live in Greenwood, S.C. They have a daughter, Jennifer; son-in-law, Robert; and three grandchildren.
“I’m enjoying time with my wife,” he said of retirement. “I gave so much between my two careers, it’s really been wonderful to spend time with my wife.”