York Distinguished Alumni Program Names 8 “Dukes of Distinction”
In the fall of 2012, District 205 launched a York Distinguished Alumni Program (YDAP) in collaboration with York Community High School and the District 205 Foundation. This program is designed to recognize and honor those alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant and/or extraordinary accomplishments, service and/or an outstanding contribution to society.
YDAP has recently announced the selection of its inaugural class of “Dukes of Distinction” who will be honored on Thursday, November 7, 2013, in the York Community High School Commons.
That evening, eight alumni spanning four decades will be recognized at a celebratory reception beginning at 6 PM, followed by a recognition program during which they will speak. The event is free and open to the public (no ticket necessary). The following day, November 8, seven of the honorees will present to and interact with York students in large and small group settings.
Honored as Dukes of Distinction for 2013 are:
Dr. John Baumrucker, Class of 1962 – a medical doctor who, along with his wife Joanna, volunteered in Montero, Bolivia for 15 years (providing for the donation of over $1 million in medical equipment and supplies), working in the prisons, building schools, clinics and homes there, including a foster home for 21 orphaned or abandoned boys, who are taught parenting, farming and carpentry skills. He was also involved in the “Living Water” project, working with medical students from three leading U.S. universities, to provide them with hands-on experience and ensure clean drinking water for this third world country.
Ron Guenther, Class of 1963 – an All-Big Ten academic and athletic football star for the University of Illinois (Illini MVP in 1966), he served as the Athletic Director for U of I for 19 years and also served as Director of Major Gifts for the U of I Foundation, helping increase endowments from $2 million to $40 million, also raising another $300 million for capital improvements at U of I, including a $121 million stadium renovation. In addition, Coach Guenther built a model program for producing outstanding student athletes. Recently retired, he serves as special consultant to the Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference.
John Hagstrom, Class of 1983 – a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he has been extremely involved and supportive of music performance in Elmhurst. John makes regular trips to Elmhurst to work with York musicians and perform solos with high school musical groups in concerts. His professional path includes five years of study at the Eastman School of Music, followed by six years in "The President's Own" United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C., where he spent three of those years as principal trumpet. He also helped to initiate Dream Out Loud, a music education advocacy partnership, begun in 2007.
Dr. Peter Holbrook, Class of 1962 – a pediatric critical care physician who developed procedures to treat critically ill older children, which proved so successful that there are now 1,800 Critical Care pediatricians (known as Intensivists). This has become the fourth largest pediatric sub-category. He also established the Division of Critical Care Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., recently retiring as Chief Medical Officer following 37 years of pioneering work and outstanding national leadership in the field. He is the editor and co-author of four editions of the Textbook of Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Claudia Lucchinetti, Class of 1982 – a full time clinician, researcher and professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, she is recognized as an international leader in the field of central nervous system demyelinating disease research, with expertise in immunopathology, experimental neuropathology, neuroimmunology and clinical neurology. Dr. Lucchinetti is the current Chair of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors Study Section, the first woman and medical doctor to chair this particular study section in the history of the NIH.
Ken Paulson, Class of 1972 – an editor, lawyer and educator who has spent much of his career as a newspaper editor and an advocate for First Amendment freedoms. Paulson is the president of the First Amendment Center and dean and professor at the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. He was one of the founding editors of USA Today in 1982 and returned to serve as editor in chief of the newspaper 22 years later. His career began as the editor of the York Hi student newspaper at York High School. Paulson is a past president of the American Society of News Editors.
Dr. Charles Tilly (1929-2008), Class of 1946 – a comparative and historical sociologist, analyst of social movements, a social theorist, political sociologist and methodological innovator, Dr. Tilly authored 51 books and over 600 articles, as well as directing over 200 doctoral dissertations. Called “an intellectual global powerhouse” he was a member of numerous scientific academies and a lecturer at universities worldwide whose contributions led to the development of seven subfields in sociology. Family and friends remember him as a great story-teller, a fanatical volleyball player, an avid world traveler and a poet.
Dr. Sidney Carne Wolff, Class of 1958 – an astronomer who has served as Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (which has three national centers), author of two astronomy textbooks, founding editor of the Astronomy Educational Review and an authority on A-type stars. Dr. Wolff was fundamental to establishment of large optical telescopes in the Andes to allow observation and mapping of the Southern Hemisphere sky. She led the development of six major telescope construction projects including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will survey the entire sky over a 10-year period.