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Waubonsee Names Ochsenschlager Distinguished Contributor

headshot of Michael Ochsenschlager
Michael Ochsenschlager, of Sugar Grove, has been named Waubonsee Community College’s Distinguished Contributor for 2012. He has been a member of the Waubonsee Foundation Board of Directors for almost 20 years and has served as the group’s secretary/treasurer since 2003.

When Michael Ochsenschlager, of Sugar Grove, volunteers for an organization, he takes the commitment seriously. Not only does he put in time and effort on par with people getting paid to do it, he averages a longer term than most employees. For his outstanding commitment to community involvement in general and to the Waubonsee Community College Foundation in particular, Waubonsee is proud to name Ochsenschlager the college’s Distinguished Contributor for 2012.

Ochsenschlager, who grew up in Aurora, spent more than 45 years in the insurance industry, starting with the McWethy Brothers Insurance Agency in 1965. As many local businessmen do, Oschsenschlager joined the Aurora Kiwanis Club around that same time. Unlike a majority of Kiwanis members, however, he was also willing to chair the group’s signature event — Kiwanis Pancake Day — for 15 years, from 1971 to 1986.

Running such a well-known event takes a lot of time and energy, and this was not lost on one of Oschsenschlager’s three sons. When asked what his father did for a living in 1976, the then eight-year-old boy replied, “He’s president of Pancake Day!”

As he was nearing the end of his Pancake Day run, Oschsenschlager became involved with what was then Copley Memorial Hospital, joining their Board of Governors in 1983. Today, almost 30 years later, it’s a position he still holds, serving as a member of Rush-Copley Medical Center’s professional affairs committee.

Only in comparison to his Copley Hospital service does Ochsenschlager’s almost 20 years of service to the Waubonsee Foundation seem short. But, in reality, it’s been long in both time, and more importantly, impact.

Armed with his business experience, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and several industry credentials, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Ochsenschlager has been invaluable to the Foundation Board since Waubonsee President Emeritus Dr. John Swalec recruited him in 1993. He has served as the board’s secretary/treasurer since 2003.

“I have a background in accounting and financial planning, so I’m pretty comfortable with that stuff,” Ochsenschlager said. “Serving on the executive board seemed to be a good way to increase my involvement.”

Ochsenschlager chaired the investment committee’s asset manager review/search subcommittee five years ago, and he feels that effort was crucial to the Foundation’s continuing success.

“We went with Northern Trust, and they’ve done an excellent job,” he said. “They are so well-respected, and that has helped us retain donations. There is just such a comfort level with them.”

Several Foundation Board members, including President Penny Cameron, feel more comfortable just knowing Ochsenschlager was involved in the decision.

“[Mike’s] opinion is truly respected, and his wisdom is valued by his fellow board members,” Cameron said.

Ochsenslager has not only helped guide the investment of dollars, he has also helped raise them. Through the solicitation of donors and the generosity of his company, Wine Sergi Insurance, which has underwritten several Scholarship Fests and sponsored holes during the Foundation’s annual golf outing, Ochsenschlager is responsible for generating nearly $10,000 in scholarship contributions.

Ochsenschlager enjoys seeing his hard work pay off.

“It’s amazing how much good these scholarships do,” he said. “They make the difference between someone continuing their education or not. They represent true value.”

With his nearly 65 years of combined service to three different community organizations, the value Ochsenschlager puts on volunteerism cannot be questioned by anyone — except maybe himself. 

“As I look back, if I have any regrets, it’s that I wasn’t more involved,” Ochsenslager said. “I would have pushed myself more.”