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© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Captures All-Sports Trophy

For the third time in four years, Waubonsee Community College has beaten out seven other schools to capture the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) All-Sports Trophy. The trophy is determined by points, which are awarded based on teams' conference finishes throughout the year. 

The Chiefs won four ISCC titles this year, including women's cross country, men's soccer, men's basketball and softball. 

Waubonsee had previously won the All-Sports Trophy in both 2010 and 2011.  

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Prince and Hill inducted into NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame

Long-time Waubonsee coaches honored

Former Waubonsee Community College coaches Bill Prince and Doug Hill have been recognized for their outstanding career achievements with induction into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame. The duo was honored at halftime of the Chiefs’ home basketball contest on Dec. 12 against Rock Valley College.       

Oswego resident Bill Prince initially began his teaching and coaching career at Westfield High School in southern Illinois, before spending five years at downstate Beecher City, and then five years at Oswego High School. In 1967 he became one of the founding members of Waubonsee’s Athletic program. He was the college’s first Athletic Director, baseball coach, Physical Education instructor and Physical Education Department Chairman, simultaneously holding all those positions his first eight years on campus.

As Waubonsee’s first baseball coach, Prince guided the Chiefs on the ball field through the 1977 season. Prince’s 1973 baseball team finished fifth in Region IV, when all of the Illinois community colleges were in one division, and his 1974 club was the first athletic team at Waubonsee to be nationally ranked. Two of his teams won Skyway Conference baseball titles, including the 1975 squad which went undefeated in league play. That team went on to win the Region IV Sectional crown before advancing all the way to the NJCAA Region IV Tournament Championship game, finishing second among the tournament’s 45 teams.     

Prince was also Waubonsee’s first Athletic Director and the Physical Education Department Chairman, holding both of those posts until 1974. He later served as Waubonsee’s golf coach for six years, helping the Chiefs card two Skyway Conference golf titles. And for good measure he was also the cross-country coach in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Throughout his entire 27 years at Waubonsee, Prince was a Physical Education instructor, retiring in 1993. 

However, perhaps his biggest accolade comes from the fact that he developed the first computerized statistics program in the United States in 1973, which Region IV baseball still used until 2008.  He was also at the forefront of overall fitness, conceiving the idea and development of Waubonsee’s Fitness Center. Prince’s many athletic contributions were recognized in 2003 when he was inducted into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame, and in 2007 when he was part of the inaugural class of inductees into Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame.   

Long-time Aurora resident Doug Hill graduated from Big Rock High School before the district consolidated to form Hinckley-Big Rock. He went on to operate his own electronics repair business for many years in the Aurora area. Throughout most of that time he could also be found on tennis courts in the area. Hill was considered the ‘dean’ of Waubonsee coaches, joining the Chiefs’ coaching staff in only the fourth year of the college’s existence. He led the women’s tennis program for the next 32 years. For a majority of that time, he also guided the men’s tennis program, giving up those reigns in 1999 after 25 years at the helm.  

A true gentleman on and off the court, Hill guided the Lady Chiefs to 13 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference crowns, including 10 titles in 11 years beginning in 1979. More than 60 of his players earned All-Conference honors during his tenure, including his daughter Jeannine, who was the league’s Player of the Year in both 1979 and 1980. Hill’s last team in 2004 was Co-Champions of the conference after taking six of the nine titles at the ISCC Tournament. Subsequently, Hill was named the league’s Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year for the 13th time. Many of Hill’s players excelled off the court as well with over 30 earning Academic All-Conference honors. Six of his players were also named the Dick Durrant Academic Award winner which annually honors the Skyway’s top student/athlete.

Hill’s coaching resume also included teaching gymnastics for 16 years at the Aurora YMCA, where he was selected the Y’s Man of the Year. Hill has served as President of the Golden Fox Tennis Club, and as the Northern Illinois District endorser for junior players to advance to the sectional and national United States Tennis Association tournaments. Hill was inducted into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame in 2007, and was recognized the following year with induction into Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame as well.   

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Adult Literacy Program Receives National Book Fund Grant

The Adult Literacy Project at Waubonsee Community College has received a $600 grant through the National Book Fund program administered by ProLiteracy, of Syracuse, NY.

The funds will be used to provide training to staff and volunteer tutors to increase the likelihood adult learners will continue to participate in adult education and tutoring programs.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Dean Rambish to Serve on Mutual Ground Board

Dr. Medea Rambish, Dean for Developmental Education and College Readiness at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve on the board of directors for Mutual Ground in Aurora.

Founded in 1975, Mutual Ground provides shelter and other services, free of charge, to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Greater Aurora, Southern Kane and Kendall counties. It stands as one of the largest and oldest domestic violence shelters in Illinois.

Rambish, of North Aurora, will serve a two-year term on the board. This will mark her first term on the board.

In that role, she will serve on the board’s Finance Committee and will help oversee Mutual Ground’s annual Walk for Hope fundraiser.

Rambish said she applied to serve on Mutual Ground’s board because she strongly supports and agrees with the organization’s purpose and mission.

“I wanted to help any way I can,” Rambish said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Dean Sinclair Elected President of Family Focus Aurora Advisory Board

Kelli Sinclair, Dean for Counseling and Student Support at Waubonsee Community College, has been elected president of the advisory board at Family Focus Aurora.

She was elected to the post in June, having served as interim president of the advisory board through the first six months of 2014. Sinclair had served as vice president of the board, and had served a term as the board’s secretary, as well.

Family Focus Aurora is the local branch of Family Focus, a Chicago area organization established to provide services and assistance to promote the well-being of children from birth by supporting and strengthening families in and within their communities.

Sinclair, of DeKalb, has served on the Family Focus Aurora advisory board since 2006, assisting the board in its mission of advising the board of directors regarding staffing and programs and helping to organize fundraisers and cultural events.

In August, for instance, Family Focus Aurora will work with other Aurora-based community organizations, including Waubonsee Community College, to host “Roots Aurora,” a community festival to celebrate the cultures that enrich the Aurora community.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee HR Director Needham Elected Co-President of Aurora Noon Lions

Michele Needham, Executive Director of Human Resources at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve as co-president of the Aurora Noon Lions Club.

Needham, of Plainfield, will share the presidency with Aurora lawyer Herbert Steinmetz for the 2014-2015 year.

Needham’s responsibilities will include helping oversee the club’s events and philanthropic efforts, including raising funds and materials in support of the Lions’ efforts to assist those with impaired vision, impaired hearing and diabetes, as well as helping local schoolchildren obtain eye exams and eyeglasses.

The Aurora Noon Lions Club is marking its 90th year.

Needham has been a member of the Aurora Lions since 1993.

She previously served as president of the club in 2000.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Joins Consortium to Boost Opportunities for Apprentices

Waubonsee Community College has joined the growing ranks of colleges and other postsecondary institutions nationwide signing on to a new federal initiative to help apprenticeship candidates translate their specialized education and work experience into a college degree.

In June, Waubonsee became a member of the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, or RACC.

Launched as a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education, RACC is creating a network of colleges and registered apprenticeship programs operated by unions and others to provide greater college-to-career opportunities.

The RACC partner institutions work together to create an accelerated pathway to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree by allowing apprentices to earn college credit for their registered apprenticeship experience.

Waubonsee would work with organizations running partnered registered apprenticeship programs to evaluate the apprenticeship curriculum and determine how best to convert apprenticeship experience to college credit.

Those completing registered apprenticeship programs would be eligible to earn up to 45 college credits based on their experience.

The college in coming months also will launch a new degree program created specifically to help those with apprenticeship and other work
experience and industry-specific education more quickly earn degrees.

“The demand for apprentices is only expected to grow in the years to come,” said Michael Cermak, Waubonsee’s Dean for Business and Career Technologies.

“Now, through RACC, a journeyman electrician or other skilled professional working in the trades also would be able to take the next steps in their educational journey and obtain a degree with just a few more classes.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Emergency Management, Safety Director Wu Elected Chairman of Fox Valley United Way

John Wu, Director of Emergency Management and Safety at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve as chairman of the board of directors for the Fox Valley United Way.

Wu, of Naperville, was pre-elected to the position a year ago, when the board selected him as its vice-chairman for 2013-14.

He will serve a one-year term as chairman.

In that role, Wu will work with the organization’s chief executive officer to set strategic direction for the Fox Valley United Way and coordinate the board’s activities and the organization’s public events.

Fox Valley United Way exists to support communities in the Aurora area by measurably improving lives of area residents working in partnership with dozens of other area agencies.

Wu said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve in leadership on the board.

“It’s another opportunity to contribute to the area,” Wu said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee TRIO Program Helps First-Generation Students Succeed in College

Many students enter college knowing roughly what to expect.

Such students are often the recipients of advice and guidance from parents, siblings and other relatives who may have graduated from, or at least attended college in the not-too-distant past. Or, perhaps they have benefited from years of college prep in high school or other places.

Other students, however, are less fortunate.

Coming from low-income backgrounds, or blazing their own trail into higher education, these students may need a little boost to help them conquer the rigors of college.

At Waubonsee Community College, that is where the team at TRIO/Student Support Services enters the scene.

Since 1987, TRIO/SSS has helped hundreds of students gain the help and support they need to not only complete college, but to thrive.

For its role in helping many of the most vulnerable of Waubonsee students succeed, Waubonsee is proud to recognize the people working within the TRIO/SSS program as part of its “Placing Learning First” program.

Funded by federal U.S. Department of Education grants awarded over five-year cycles and additional monies from the college, the Waubonsee TRIO/SSS program provides a broad range of academic services designed to assist first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities.

The program, led by Manager Frankie Benson, includes a team of four other staff members and eight tutors working together to assist the 200 students who annually participate.

To participate in the program, students must meet certain criteria.

In addition to being a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, students eligible for assistance through TRIO must be enrolled at Waubonsee and working toward a degree or certificate.

Further, students eligible for TRIO must be a first-generation college student, meaning their parents or legal guardians did not graduate college with at least a bachelor’s degree; qualify as a low-income student; or be a student with a learning or physical disability. Two-thirds of students participating must be both first-generation college students and low-income, Benson said.

Once in the program, students become eligible for a range of assistance, including help with academic planning and course registration; individualized tutoring; help in applying for and obtaining scholarships and financial aid; help in transferring to four-year schools; and guidance with life skills.

“We can help with things like dealing with financial literacy and credit, or even etiquette while eating a meal when out on a job interview,” Benson said.

Additionally, TRIO arranges for students to attend a range of cultural events, including outings to museums, musical theater, or leadership conferences, and official college visits to four-year institutions in the region, including such schools as Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, among others.

And TRIO students also participate in organized volunteer activities at such local charitable organizations as Feed My Starving Children, among others.

“We become a kind of home-away-from-home for our students,” Benson said. “We want them to be comfortable in college and in a range of settings.”

Through the years, the results generated by TRIO have met or exceeded all goals for the Waubonsee program.

In 2012-13, for instance, 81 percent, or 162 of the 200 Waubonsee TRIO students, persisted in college, meaning they graduated, enrolled in the following fall term or graduated and transferred to a four-year school. That persistence rate has matched Waubonsee’s goal of 80 percent per year.

Ninety percent of the students were in good standing academically, meaning they held at least a 2.0 grade point average a year later, matching Waubonsee’s goal exactly.

Further, 56 percent of eligible students in 2012-13 attained a degree, while 55 percent of those attaining a degree transferred to a four-year school. Both of those metrics easily exceeded Waubonsee’s goals, which were set at 38 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

“TRIO makes a difference every day in the lives of our students,” Benson said. “We’re giving them the tools and assistance they need to reach their dreams."


© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Nursing Program Graduates 22 Students in July

Twenty-two more nursing candidates became eligible to join the ranks of health care professionals after graduating from Waubonsee Community College’s Nursing program during a pinning ceremony on July 10.

The July pinning was one of four such ceremonies that will take place at Waubonsee in 2014, when the program is scheduled to graduate a total of 80-90 nurses.

Nursing graduates are now eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam.

July graduates included: Andrea Bucio, Mayra Garcia, Angelle Griffin, Monica Timke, Isaura Valadez and Monyca Wells, all of Aurora; Elizabeth Makula and Erin Votava, of Batavia; Sarah VanBuskirk, of Big Rock; Cody Crook, of Elburn; Christine Maughan, of Geneva; Brandon Felker, Kristen Gendusa and Michelle Polizzi, of Montgomery; Marci Sullivan, of North Aurora; Ashley Jacunski, of Oswego; Olugbenga (Isaac) Ajiboye and Liliana Larios, of Plano; Veronica Sanchez, of Sandwich; and James Rufer, of Yorkville.+ 

In addition to classroom learning, Waubonsee nursing graduates performed clinical education at local health care facilities, including Rush-Copley Medical Center and Presence Mercy Medical Center, both in Aurora; Cadence Delnor Hospital in Geneva; and Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb.

Participants in the July pinning ceremony heard from class speaker Makula, as well as Dr. Jess Toussaint, Dean for Health Professions and Public Service at Waubonsee, and Suzette Murray, Waubonsee’s Assistant Vice President of Career and Technical Education.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Recognized for Financial Reporting, Budget Presentation

Waubonsee Community College has been nationally recognized for the college’s financial reporting and budget presentation practices.

For the 15th consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded Waubonsee the Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Additionally, for the first time, Waubonsee received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

Both awards were for the college’s 2012 budget and financial reports.

The awards represent significant achievements by the college, reflecting the commitment of Waubonsee and its staff to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting and financial reporting.

To receive the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, Waubonsee was required to satisfy nationally recognized budget presentation guidelines, designed to assess how effectively the budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device.

Those four categories include 14 mandatory criteria.

Twenty-eight other colleges in the U.S. and 13 others in Illinois received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

The GFOA Excellence in Financial Reporting award represents the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Of the 77 colleges receiving the award, 22 are Illinois community colleges.

Waubonsee was one of 307 local taxing bodies in Illinois to receive the award from the GFOA.

The GFOA, with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., is a non-profit professional association serving more than 17,000 government finance professionals.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student Wins Gold Medal at SkillsUSA National Competition

A Waubonsee Community College student has staked a claim to being the best auto body student in the country, after taking top honors in his category at the SkillsUSA National Skills Competition.

Jose Martinez-Joya, 24, of Carpentersville, took the gold medal among college/postsecondary students in the Automotive Refinishing Technology category at the national skills competition held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

The multi-day competition involved hands-on skills demonstrations, including preparing automotive body parts for painting, operating a paint spray gun, spot refinish repairs and identifying and correcting paint match problems, as well as written testing and other auto body repair-related tasks, such as creating a written repair estimate.

The skills were based on the task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Martinez-Joya competed against students from 27 other colleges and postsecondary institutions.

“When they called my name, I felt relieved,” said Martinez-Joya. “It’s a lot of work, so it was a sense of relief and happiness that it got to all pay off.”

Waubonsee Assistant Professor of Automotive Body Repair Andrew MacDonald, who accompanied Martinez-Joya to the competition, said the student’s work, approach and attitude were all exemplary. He noted Martinez-Joya needed to study materials related to the competition outside of class and practice for the contest on his own time on weekends, while working six days a week.

“Waubonsee could not have had a more humble, professional and hardworking student representing us in this competition,” said MacDonald. “Jose is a true champion.”

Martinez-Joya, who immigrated to the U.S. about 10 years ago, had worked as an automotive repair technician for six years at a shop in Elgin before discovering Waubonsee’s automotive body repair program in 2013.

“I’ve learned so much here,” Martinez-Joya said. He credited his success, in part, to MacDonald’s skill and knowledge as an auto body repair professional and instructor.

“He’s a great, great person, and very experienced,” Martinez-Joya said. “He really knows his stuff and can teach it to others.”

Martinez-Joya’s win marks the second consecutive year in which a Waubonsee auto body student has taken a gold medal at SkillsUSA. In 2013, student Matt Meyer placed first in the country in the Collision Repair Technology category.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Grad Receives Health Information Management Association Award

Waubonsee Community College Health Information Technology Program graduate Pamela Fritsch, of Plano, recently received the Illinois Health Information Management Association’s Edna K. Huffman Award. The honor comes with $100 to pay the application fee for the American Health Information Management Association Registered Health Information Technician exam.

Fritsch earned her associate degree in health information technology from Waubonsee this spring with a 3.75 grade point average.

Headquartered at the Aurora Campus, Waubonsee’s health information technology degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Dean Sparr to Serve as VP of Local AAUW Chapter

Waubonsee Community College Dean for Communications, Humanities and Fine Arts Cindy Sparr, of St. Charles, was recently elected membership vice president for the Batavia-Geneva-St. Charles branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Her two-year term began May 1.

“As a member of AAUW, it is rewarding to be a part of a group where the focus is on education and contributing to a more promising future for women and girls,” Sparr said.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee VP of Finance Quillen Elected Chair of IL Community College Risk Management Consortium

Waubonsee Community College Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations David Quillen, of Geneva, has been elected chair of the Illinois Community College Risk Management Consortium (ICCRMC). His two-year term begins July 1.

The ICCRMC is a member-owned intergovernmental risk-sharing organization that currently includes 12 colleges.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee VP of Finance Quillen Reappointed to Geneva EDC

Waubonsee Community College Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations David Quillen, of Geneva, has been reappointed to the Geneva Economic Development Commission and will serve through May 2018.

A commissioner since November 2011, Quillen will continue to help identify community issues and assist in economic development activities such as business retention and recruitment.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee's Rennels Appointed to Plano Plan Commission

Waubonsee Community College Manager of Public Access Programming Mike Rennels has been re-appointed to the City of Plano Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. A Plano resident since 2006, Rennels was first appointed to serve in early 2013.

His new five-year term will end in 2019.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Students Exhibit Photos at Batavia Library

This July, the work of Waubonsee Community College photography students will be on display at the Batavia Public Library. Running the entire month, the “Waubonsee Digital Photo Class Studies” show was put together by Waubonsee student Wynette Edwards, of Elburn.

Edwards’ work will be a part of the exhibit, along with that of her classmates from Waubonsee’s fall 2013 digital photography class, including Larry Benson and Edgar Espino, of Aurora; Lindsey Fansler, Katie Schade and Kevin Veloz, of Geneva; Marissa Novak, of Yorkville; David Oldeen, of Big Rock; Tara Olson, of Maple Park; Emily Russell, of North Aurora; Colleen Slatton, of Newark; and Les Westphal, of Oswego.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Professor to Exhibit Artwork at Florida Gallery

Waubonsee Community College Assistant Professor of Health Care Interpreting and digital photography student Cynthia Perez, of Aurora, will exhibit her work as part of “Dreamers, Misfits, and Rebels: Conceptual Fine Art Portrait Exhibition.”

The show, which includes works by 50 members of the Fine Art Photography Guild, will run July 17 to Aug. 15 at the Star Gallery in Orlando, Fla.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Student Places in International Video Game Design Contest

Waubonsee Community College student Kevin Nadro, of Geneva, recently took fourth place in the international “Got Game?” video game design competition, sponsored by gaming website

Nadro spent a month designing and programming his game “Bleu et Rouge,” which can be played on both PCs and mobile devices. In it, players control a spaceship and try to earn points by strategically switching colors between blue and red and then shooting enemy crafts of the same color.

“I picked this style of game because I like the fast-paced action and the difficulty it brings,” Nadro said.

The game can be played at

For the “Got Game?” contest, games were judged based on number of plays, user ratings and judges’ scoring. Nadro’s fourth place finish earned him a Nexus 7 tablet.

While at Waubonsee, Nadro has taken a variety of math and computer programming classes. This is the first game he has fully developed, but he’s ready for more. 

“Making games is what I want to do for a living,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge. The best part is coming up with an idea then following through with it.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee’s Tutor Training Program Receives Certification

Waubonsee Community College’s Tutoring Center recently received Level I International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) from the College Reading and Learning Association.

“Because our tutors are so integral to the success of our students, proper training is key,” said Dr. Medea Rambish, Dean for Developmental Education and College Readiness. “This certification assures students they’re getting tutors who meet high quality standards while also allowing the tutors themselves to earn additional credentials and recognition.”

Waubonsee provides free walk-in tutoring at all four of its campus locations. Last year, a team of more than 30 professional tutors helped more than 8,000 students achieve more academically.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Hinckley Resident Daniel Noll Named Waubonsee Student Trustee

Daniel Noll, of Hinckley, has been elected to serve as Waubonsee Community College’s Student Trustee for the 2014-2015 academic year. Noll was seated at the college’s board of trustees meeting June 18. The student trustee serves as the liaison between the Waubonsee board of trustees and the college’s students, representing students’ interests at the board level.

Noll, 19, a 2013 graduate of Hinckley-Big Rock High School, said he looks forward to the hands-on learning opportunities offered by the chance to represent Waubonsee’s student body.

Noll served on the Hinckley-Big Rock High School student council all four years at the school, including as that council’s treasurer for one year.

A political science major, Noll said he harbors a keen interest in government and desires to learn as much as he can about the “professional aspects” of public service through representing his fellow students.

A member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Noll has maintained a 3.78 grade-point average while studying political science and history at the college.


© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Where It All Begins: Yorkville Developer Ratos Uses Waubonsee Education to Enhance Local Communities

Jim Ratos likely will never provide medical care, screen the latest Hollywood summertime megahit movie, or prepare a restaurant-quality dinner or even a sub sandwich for his neighbors in and around Yorkville or Sugar Grove.

But anytime those who live and work either side of U.S. Route 30 in southwestern Kane County and northern Kendall County enjoy any of those services, they just may owe Ratos thanks.

For almost three decades, Ratos, of Yorkville, a 1975 graduate of Waubonsee Community College, has worked tirelessly to make the region he has long called home both more convenient and economically vibrant, and to bring home to those he has long called neighbors a range of local enhancements.

For that dedication to the entrepreneurial spirit and to the local communities, Waubonsee Community College has recognized Ratos as its Featured Alumnus for the month of June.

Ratos, 58, first came to Waubonsee in 1973, fresh out of high school, but with one goal in mind:

To one day own and operate his own business.

The seeds of that desire were planted during his childhood and nurtured as he worked alongside his father, George Ratos, in family restaurant businesses, including the former House of Plenty Smorgasbord in Sugar Grove. The restaurant served as a local landmark for more than three decades, from the time it opened in 1971.

While at Waubonsee, Jim Ratos studied business and political science. But he said the education came to life when he brought home what he had learned and applied it to the real-world crucible of business.

After earning an associate degree, Ratos launched into business on his own, running his own restaurant for a time near Ottawa.

But in 1982, he returned to Sugar Grove, and launched a different business, venturing into construction and land development.

Beginning with various apartment buildings and some small projects in and around Sugar Grove, Ratos’ business eventually grew into the company that, since 1985, has been known as Parkway Development.

Parkway’s thrust in the decades since has been focused on one primary goal: to bring to the area around Yorkville and Sugar Grove the amenities and services residents in the past needed to drive relatively far distances to larger communities to obtain.

“When I came to Yorkville 34 years ago, there was one doctor,” Ratos said. “Just one.”

In the years since Ratos launched Parkway Development, however, the partnerships Parkway has fostered or in which the company has participated have added numerous offices now housing a variety of medical specialists, including those practicing family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, oral surgery, chiropractic, dentistry, cardiovascular care, audiology, and many more, including a number associated with Edward Hospital in Naperville.

But Ratos and Parkway didn’t stop at health care providers. The buildings Ratos and his partners have developed and built in and around Yorkville have also drawn a host of other professionals, including lawyers and accountants, to the community, while also providing space for a number of restaurateurs to increase the region’s dining options.

Among others, Parkway’s projects have added restaurants to Yorkville ranging from Jimmy John’s Sandwiches and Legends Sports Bar & Grill to the Lakeview Grille restaurant and banquet facility, owned and operated by Ratos’ son, Jimmy.

Most recently, Ratos and Parkway have partnered with others to develop the Kendall Crossing retail plaza. Located at the corner of Route 47 and U.S. Route 34, Kendall Crossing has added the NCG Cinemas, a 10-screen movie theater, and will soon add a Lighthouse Crossing child care facility, with space for as many as 230 children.

And all of the projects have also boosted the tax base in the communities, bringing in untold millions of dollars in sales and property taxes to local governments.

“We’ve brought a lot of people to the area, and believe we’ve made things better for those who are here,” Ratos said.

In coming months, Ratos said he intends to turn his attention to the area right around Waubonsee Community College, as Parkway seeks to develop the corner of Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive, bringing another gas station, as well as more retail and restaurants to Sugar Grove.

Ratos acknowledged the difficulties recent years have brought to the line of work he has pursued.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “But we were able to go with the market, and we fared the last recession very well.

“Now, with things on the rebound, we’re poised to make a good comeback.”

Ratos credits his success in large part to the support he received through the decades from his wife, Mary.

“Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to be out doing what I needed to do,” he said. 

However, Ratos also credits his success in part to the education he received at Waubonsee, particularly noting the skills he learned to enhance his abilities to better understand people and business and to communicate.

“I got a lot out of those classes, and I’ve used what I got out of there to the best of my ability,” Ratos said.

He said the Waubonsee education was particularly valuable as it allowed him to earn a degree, while staying close to home and gaining practical experience while working.

Ratos said he knows community college isn’t for everyone. But neither, he said, is four years at a university far from home.

He noted three of his children, daughter, Nicole, and sons, Peter and Tom, attended four-year colleges and graduated with at least bachelor degrees, and are now pursuing careers. But his son, Jimmy, followed in his father’s footsteps, earned an associate degree from Waubonsee in 2004 and has been in business ever since, calling his Waubonsee education “a good backbone” for his entrepreneurial pursuits.

“In this family, our kids, we value education,” Ratos said. “It’s where it all begins.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Leaders Recognized by Illinois Community College Trustees Association

Three of Waubonsee Community College’s leaders were recently recognized for their service by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.

Waubonsee Board Chairman Richard “Shorty” Dickson, Board Member Dr. Richard C. Bodie and President Dr. Christine Sobek were each recognized by the ICCTA during its annual awards luncheon and banquet June 6 in Springfield.

Dickson, of Bristol, was recognized for four decades of service to Waubonsee, receiving his “40-Year Trustee” designation. He and a colleague from College of Lake County are the first elected trustees in the state to achieve such a milestone.

Dickson has served on the board since 1972, taking only two years off from 1987-1989. His current six-year term runs through 2019.   

Bodie, of Aurora, received his second Trustee Education Award for participation in 30 or more seminars offered by ICCTA. He has served on the board since 1998, and his current six-year term also runs through 2019.

Sobek received the ICCTA’s 2014 Advocacy Award, given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership advocating for the needs of Illinois community college students and the state’s community college system. Sobek has served as Waubonsee’s president since 2001.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee Foundation Awards More Than $154,000 in Scholarships

For the upcoming 2014-15 academic year, the Waubonsee Community College Foundation has awarded 232 scholarships totaling more than $154,000 to 192 recipients. The following are local winners:

Altrusa Scholarship: Sarah Kaminky of Yorkville; and Amanda Lawrence of Newark.

Anita Dickson Memorial Scholarship: Phoebe Xoxakos of Yorkville.

Anna M. Oleson Memorial Scholarship: Bradley Christensen of Newark.

Arlene S. Hawks Fine Arts Scholarship: Evan Mosby of Aurora.

Ashley R. Souba Memorial Scholarship: Theresa Eberhardt of Yorkville.

Aurora Business & Professional Women-Frances McKnight Memorial Scholarship: Susan Bessler of Oswego.

Aurora Elks Lodge 705 Scholarship: J. Eduardo Torres-Escobedo of Aurora.

Aurora Noon Lions Club Scholarship: Sarah Kaminky of Yorkville.

Aurora Republican Women's Club Scholarship: Justina Babel of Montgomery.

Aurora Residents Scholarship: Hector Flores and Sarai Vargas of Aurora.

Ball Horticultural Company Scholarship: Kirsten Meisner of Aurora.

Banking Industry Scholarship: Haley Drew of Sandwich; and Kristen Runyan of Big Rock.

Bobbie Jean Douglas Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Lizbeth Borunda of Aurora; and Katlyn Dempsey of Yorkville.

Cari Carter Memorial Scholarship: Michael Deja of Sugar Grove.

Castle Bank Endowed Scholarship: Victoria Jones of Somonauk.

Caterpillar Inc Scholarship: Katherine Draper of Sugar Grove.

Claudia J. Wennmacher Memorial Scholarship: Shontal Jefferson of Aurora.

Constantine and Jamie Kleronomos Endowed Scholarship: Nicholas Donka of Montgomery.

Cordogan Clark Architects Scholarship: Guadalupe Camargo-Reyes of Montgomery; and Julio Rivera of Aurora.

Cosmopolitan Club of Aurora Scholarship: Gianna Squillo of Batavia.

Cynthia L. Kleronomos Endowed Scholarship: Ashley Bowling of Yorkville.

Dona O'Keefe Tucholski Endowed Scholarship: Yessenia Delgado of Aurora; Gloria Hancock of Plano; and Zachary Weiss of Batavia.

Douglas Arthur Vest Scholarship: Jaime Lopez of Aurora.

Dr. Gina Santori Nursing Scholarship: Stephanie Banks of Plano; and Serena Jefferson-Jackson of Montgomery.

Dr. William J. and Jane G. Weigel Memorial Scholarship: NaKetha Richards-Kerr of Aurora.

Dreyer Community Health Fund Scholarship: Amanda Stewart of Oswego.

Edward A. Kelley Memorial Scholarship: Ryan Carter of Yorkville; and Gladys Herrera of Plano.

El Corazon Scholarship: Sandra Joaquin of Aurora.

Emma Brighman Endowed Scholarship: Jeqhari Miles of Sugar Grove.

Ernest McFall Memorial Award: Andrea Janick of Oswego.

Evar Erickson Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Jessica Jablonski of Sugar Grove.

Florence Lorenz Trust Scholarship: Keith Gubala of Darien.

Fox Valley Heart Fund Scholarship: Julio Flores of Aurora; and Katherine Gloor of Sugar Grove.

Geneva Lions Club Scholarship: Michelle Crawford of Chicago; and Marivel Leal of Aurora.

Gil Law Group Scholarship: Emily Campos of Geneva; Carlos Martinez and Nallely Nino of Aurora; and Jose Luis Martinez Joya of Carpentersville.

Gil Law Group Scholarship-Single Mother: Cristina Rodriguez of Aurora.

Goetz Family Engineering Scholarship: Dexter Sonuga of Aurora.

Goetz Family Nursing Scholarship: Sandra Spilman of Sandwich; and Cynthia Wollenweber of Montgomery.

Harbour Funds Scholarship: Patrizio Fortuna of Aurora.

Harry L. Crisp Scholarship: Rosemarie Mendoza of Aurora.

Heartland Bank Community Enhancement Award Scholarship: Alberto Briones of Aurora; Joel Dik of Batavia; Patrick O’Brien, Jr. of South Elgin; and Lia Thompson of Montgomery.

Henning Endowed Scholarship: Julie Graziano, Payton Klaas and Austin Luca of Yorkville.

Human Services Faculty Scholarship: Rosa Arriaga of Aurora.

I-55 Auto Salvage Automotive Program Scholarship: Dany Saldana Gonzalez of Aurora.

ICCSF-Illinois Health Improvement Association Scholarship: Emily DiPasquantonio of Geneva; and Cody Leffelman of Sycamore.

ICCSF-Marilyn Casey Scholarship: Emiliya Valcheva of Batavia.

Ivy Erickson Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Lauren Buchner of Sugar Grove.

J. Dennis Hastert Scholarship: Daniel Noll of Hinckley.

James E. Meier Memorial Award: Devin Ambrose of Plano.

Jami Knowles Memorial Scholarship: Bianca Aguirre of Oswego.

Jane Whinfrey Harris Scholarship: Ariana Bustamante of Aurora.

Janet Bodie Memorial Scholarship: David Lopez-Gonzalez of Aurora.

Jennifer Shook Athletic Scholarship: Mitchell Boyd of Sandwich.

John Austin Sizer Fine Arts Scholarship: Kristen Runyan of Big Rock.

John Emma Memorial Scholarship: Ian Boltz of Aurora.

John J. Swalec, Jr. President's Achievement Award Scholarship: Alexander Cowell, Beatrice Fonge, Christian Ornelas, Jesus Perez-Rincon of Oswego; Nicholas Donka of Montgomery; Claudia Garcia Vazquez of North Aurora; David Lorenzo of Batavia; Tania Mancilla Foullon, Erica Padilla, Alejandra Perez, Dany Saldana Gonzalez, Yossely Silva Caro, and Dominique Turner of Aurora; and Christine Michaud of Sandwich.

John J. Swalec, Sr. Memorial Scholarship: Emma Ahrendt and Joshua Scott of Aurora; and Christine Michaud of Sandwich.

John M. Leatherbury Memorial Scholarship: Cidney Smith of Montgomery.

Kane County Cougars "Ozzie's Scholars" Scholarship: Christian Ornelas of Oswego.

Karen J. and David S. Stewart Scholarship: Emily Reynolds of Geneva.

Kathleen Kelly Memorial Scholarship: Jennifer Kulikowski of Batavia.

Kazanova McDonald's Scholarship: Joel Lopez-Mandujano of Montgomery.

Land Development and Construction Industry Endowed Scholarship: Cinthya Rivera of Aurora; and Andrea Terry of Romeoville.
Larry Scranton Memorial Scholarship: Teresa Orlow of Aurora.

Lawyers' Scholarship: Lizeth Quintana of Oswego.

Lifelong Learning Institute Scholarship: Jose Coronel and Yossely Silva Caro of Aurora; Sarah Grams of Elburn; and Donnie Pingleton of Sugar Grove.

Literacy Achievement Endowed Scholarship: Rosa Arriaga and Rashunee Hill of Aurora.

LKQ Automotive Recycling Program Scholarship: Drew Kleyweg of Yorkville.

Louise Murphy Memorial Scholarship: Mikela Olson and Alex Wagner of Oswego.

Lucille M. Clark Memorial Scholarship: Lisa Gayles and Marivel Leal of Aurora; Ruben Noceda of Montgomery; and Donnie Pingleton of Sugar Grove.

Lyle Burrichter and Sharon Burrichter-Votaw Endowed Memorial Nursing Scholarship: Elizabeth Rache of Yorkville.

Marie Von Ohlen Memorial Scholarship: Shannon Barrett of Aurora; and Daniel Wegehaupt of Oswego.

Marion M. and Les Lester Endowed Scholarship: Stephanie Banks of Plano; Katherine Gloor of Sugar Grove; Serena Jefferson-Jackson and Cynthia Wollenweber of Montgomery; and Elizabeth Rache of Yorkville.

Martha and Ralph Egeland Scholarship: Christine Flood of Mooseheart.

Mary Ann Thompson Memorial Science Scholarship: Danielle McCormack of Sugar Grove.

Mary Francis Mulcrone Endowed Scholarship in Interpreter Training: Kimberley Baccus of Calumet Park; and Andrea Terry of Romeoville.

Mary Jean Murphy Memorial Scholarship: Olivia Lee of Geneva; and Kaela Pelletier of Montgomery.

Mary Lou Murphy Memorial Scholarship: Katherine Galazka of Oswego.

Matco Tools Automotive Program Scholarship: Drew Kleyweg of Yorkville.

Muriel and Stanley R. Groh, Jr. Memorial Scholarship: Jennifer Kulikowski of Batavia.

Myrtle Belle Jones Scholarship: Briseida Chavez of Plano; and Scott Thompson of Batavia.

Nick Wirth Memorial Fire Science Scholarship: Jacob Cichorski of Geneva.

Norm Paul Memorial Scholarship: Bradley Christensen of Newark.

North Aurora Lions Club Scholarship: Cory Alvis, Kristina Fritter, Alyssa Koch and Jacob Mickelson of North Aurora.

Old Second Bank Endowed: Danielle McCormack of Sugar Grove.

Penelope (Penny) Cameron Endowed Scholarship: Emily Reynolds of Geneva.

Performing Arts Scholarship: Christian Limbo of Elburn.

Pulver Family Scholarship: David Kabanda of Oswego.

Quad County Urban League Scholarship: Krystal Davis and Florence Knox of Aurora; and Rikiyah Pryor of Yorkville.

Real Estate Brokers, Developers and Realtors Scholarship: Zayra Juarez of Aurora.

Rex C. Kanpp Memorial Award: Gered Bales of Aurora.

Richard J. Feltes Family Endowed Scholarship: Marisol Campos and Jeanette DiPasquantonio of Geneva.

Robert M. Sohol Endowed Scholarship: Beatrice Fonge of Oswego.

Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown Scholarships: Jennifer Schess of Oswego; and Yoonek Shaw of DeKalb.

Rotary Club of Oswego Scholarship: Amy Lukaszewski Nelson of Aurora.

Roy and Hilda Baker Scholarship: Charles Richardson of Montgomery.

Rush-Copley President's Scholarship: Wendy Mayo of Oswego; and Katherine Miranda of Aurora.

Shodeen Family Scholarships: Julie Adams of Plano; Joshua Fatima of Yorkville; and Terri Mate of Batavia.

Speedway Auto Parts Automotive Recycling Program Scholarship: J. Eduardo Torres-Escobedo of Aurora.

Steiner-Kerman Educational Foundation Scholarship: Sandra Esquivel and Jaylen Lyles of Aurora.

Study Abroad Scholarship: Bianca Aguirre and Andrea Janick of Oswego.

Valley West Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship: Nicole Fraser and Sandra Spilman of Sandwich.

Vanessa Skeens Ward Memorial Scholarship: Julio Flores of Aurora.

Vern Florence Family Scholarship: Keith Gubala of Darien.

Waubonsee Hearing Impaired Program (WHIP) Award: Nallely Nino of Aurora.

Wayne and Corrine Stone Endowed Career Scholarship: Ryan Fritter of North Aurora.

WCC Automotive Technology Scholarship: J. Eduardo Torres-Escobedo of Aurora.

WCC Early Childhood Education Scholarship: Lynette Groenenboom of Montgomery.

WCC Educational Office Staff (WEOS) Scholarship: Amber Rodriguez of Montgomery.

WCC Employee Scholarship-General: Marissa Rennick of Newark.

WCC Employee Scholarship-Minority Student: Maricruz Cervantes of Aurora; and Jason Manivong of North Aurora.

WCC Employee Scholarship-Single Parent Student: Kati Glascock and Susan Hernandez of Yorkville; and Dominique Turner of Aurora.

WCC Faculty Council Awards AFL-CIO: Lisa Wade of Batavia.

WCC Faculty Council Awards Endowed Scholarships: Matthew Gunderson of Sugar Grove; and Jennifer Sanchez of Aurora.

WCC Faculty Council Student Needs Awards Endowed Scholarship: Lisa Gayles and Michelle Luna of Aurora; Betsy Manak of Elburn; and Jose Luis Martinez Joya of Carpentersville.

WCC Foundation Directors Scholarship: Jeremiah Anthenat of Somonauk; Michael Bermes, Diego Franco, Cynthia Gomez, Kumar Kharel, Raul Ochoa, David Ramos, Marco Rivera, Kelley Siler, Savaughn Strickland, and Whitley Yemm of Aurora; Adriana Cardenas, Alexander Cowell, and Andrea Hockin of Oswego; Colin Eggleson of Sycamore; Brady Fonseca and Amber Rodriguez of Montgomery; Michael Howard and Nicholas Messina of Sugar Grove; Bailey Klaas and Hannah Peabody of Yorkville; Brian Moran of Sandwich; Patrick O'Brien Jr. of South Elgin; Jasmine Pearman of Dolton; and Morgan Sibley of Plano.

WCC Foundation Founders Scholarship: Jaylen Lyles of Aurora.

Weblinx, Inc. Scholarship: Michael Richmond-Heath of Hinckley.

West Towns Community Resource Team Scholarship: Cheyanne Haney of Aurora.

Wm Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation Endowed Scholarships: Rikiyah Pryor of Yorkville; and Jazmine Rivera of Aurora.

Womans Club of Aurora-General Scholarship: Tyler Bimrose of Sugar Grove; and Alyssa Koch of North Aurora.

Woman's Club of Aurora-Nursing Awards: Katherine Gloor of Sugar Grove; and Elizabeth Rache of Yorkville.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee President Sobek Elected to American Association of Community Colleges Board

Waubonsee Community College President Dr. Christine Sobek will join the governing body of the primary advocacy organization for America’s community colleges.

On July 1, Sobek will assume her duties as a member of the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges. Sobek’s fellow AACC member presidents elected her to a three-year term on the 32-person board earlier this year.

This will mark Sobek’s first term on the board, which governs an organization representing nearly 1,200 two-year colleges across the U.S.

Sobek said she is honored to take her place among the leaders of the country’s community colleges, and hopes to help AACC advance the goals spelled out in its 21st Century Initiative, which, among other items, calls on two-year colleges to increase by 50 percent the number of students earning associate degrees and other credentials over the next decade.

“At Waubonsee, we have answered the call issued by AACC and others to boost college completion among our students,” Sobek said. “I look forward to helping AACC advocate for community college recognition and support with the ultimate goal of achieving student success throughout the nation.”

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Artist Erik L. Peterson Exhibits New Works at Waubonsee

Chicago artist Erik L. Peterson, known for making works that challenge the boundaries and expectations created by the interplay of our manufactured cultural and natural environments, brings his subtly perspective-altering art to Waubonsee Community College for a summer exhibit.

The Waubonsee Community College Art Department will host “Plop Art,” an exhibition by artist Erik L. Peterson, in the Arrowhead Room gallery in the Dickson Center on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The exhibit will run from Tuesday, June 3, to Sunday, July 27. It will be free and open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m, and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sundays.

The exhibit will include such works as “Plop,” described as “a neon sign for a darkly humorous ice cream shop,” and “Drops,” a work created from the reconstituted remains of fallen ice cream cones, which have been remolded and refrozen into new perfect swirls.

Additionally, the exhibit will include, among other works, “Billboard Weaving,” a wall-length work created from two hand-woven found billboards; and “Reflecting Pool,” a circle of industrial reflective glass beads, similar to those used in crosswalks, spread across the gallery floor.

Exhibiting his work for more than a decade, Peterson is a public artist, sculptor and curator. He is best known for his “large-scale urban interventions and signature edible ice cream sculptures.”

Peterson said his works are designed to offer viewers “an intriguing cultural experiment … the alchemy of the real and imagined, an absurd chimera of what could be, what might be, and what already is.”

For more information on this Waubonsee exhibition, contact Art Coordinator Cecilia Vargas at or (630) 466-7900 ext. 2964.

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College

Xcelerate Summer Camps Offer Weeks of Fun, Enrichment for Kids, Teens

What are your kids doing this summer?

Registration is now underway for Xcelerate Summer Camps at Waubonsee Community College. The five-day camps, operating in half-day sessions, will run at various times from June 9-Aug. 8 at Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove and Plano Campus locations.

Xcelerate Camps will offer children ages 4-14 the chance to engage in a range of fun, educational and enriching activities.

Participants at this year’s camps for older children and teens will have the opportunity to ride horses, build LEGO robots, create websites and video games, form pottery, develop their writing skills, learn to play ukulele or harmonica, or investigate veterinary medicine, among others.

Preschool children, ages 4-6, can participate in camps designed especially for them, offering opportunities to use blocks and other materials to playfully learn basic principles of physics and engineering; paint, dance, sculpt and play music; learn about the science of cooking; travel in time through their imagination to create a fairytale through dramatic play, music and art; and explore nature, among other choices.

Camps range in cost from $45-$179 per session.

For more information on Xcelerate or to register, visit

© 2012 Waubonsee Community College