Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award 

Giving the Achievement Award at the Annual Alumni Brunch 

This is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of Joliet Junior College by Alumni Relations on behalf of Joliet Junior College. It is presented to those alumni who have demonstrated outstanding success in their chosen field, and who have provided humanitarian service to society. Deadline for submitting nominations is March 1, 2014.

Selection Criteria

  • Nomination is required. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination. 
  • Must hold an earned degree from Joliet Junior College.
  • Must be an individual who has demonstrated outstanding success and distinction in their field.
  • Must be an individual who has provided humanitarian service to society.
  • Must be an individual who has demonstrated an interest in support of higher education, especially Joliet Junior College.

How to Nominate

To nominate an individual for the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, please fill out the recipient's nomination form online. Deadline for submitting nominations for 2014 is March 1, 2014.

2013 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award Recipient


Ronald M. Whitaker ('69) after graduating from JJC served as secretary to the Board of Trustees from 1967 through 1970. He recalls his education experience at JJC as being unique, because he was on the Board while also a student. A lifelong resident of New Lenox, Whitaker says his JJC education helped him in his business, as owner and operator of Ronald M. Whitaker and Company, an independent insurance agency.

Whitaker served as president of the Joliet Junior College Alumni Association in 1973 and 1974. He served as president on the New Lenox chamber of commerce in 1961; president of the Independent Insurance Agents Association in 1989; and chairman of the New Lenox Board of Fire and Police Commissioners from 1981 through 2002. He is currently president of the New Lenox Area Historical Society.

Whitaker credits his wife Mary, with being his biggest supporter. The two have enjoyed seeing the world together, including two photo safaris in Africa. They have two sons, R. David and Andrew.


Previous Recipients

Year Recipient
2013 Ronald M. Whitaker ('69)

Beulah Hoffer ('32)         Former Chair of Women's Physical Education at JJC

Philip Nelson ('76) President of Illinois Farm Bureau


Dr. Daniel Gutierrez ('58) Internal Medicine Physician; Medical Director

Robert Baca ('78) Professor or Music


Dr. Charles O. Warthen ('58) Former Dept. Chair of Technology at JJC

Charles Morgan ('91)      JJC Music Professor, Director of JJC Band

2009 Richard Brandolino ('59)  Retired, JJC Administrator


Larry Walsh ('68)          Will County Executive, Former Illinois Senator

2007 Rose Mancuso  Pharmacist, Owner REMCO Medical

Katherine Dunham ('28), award presented posthumous
Revolutionized the world of dance, Dunham's intellectual, artistic and humanitarian contributions were extraordinary.

Edmund C. Puddicombe ('34)
Returned to JJC in 1938 as a teacher of biological sciences. Sponsored the Students of Medical Sciences for 25 years.

2005 Dr. Thomas Streitz ('52)
Practicing Dentist, instrumental in Founding the JJC Alumni Association in 1970 and was the Association's first president.
2004 Vera Smith '24
Retired JJC English Instructor
JJC's first Director of Admissions and Records
2003 Anthony Gutierrez '48
Retired Assistant Principal of Joliet Central
2002 John H. Weitendorf, Sr. '42 (deceased)
Owner of Town & Country Realtors
2001 James Stephenson, Jr. '56
Founder of Kinetic Systems Corp., Lockport, IL
2000 Dr. Curtis J. Crawford '71
President and CEO of ZiLOG, Inc.
1999 Dr. Richard Tarizzo '51
Retired Vascular Surgeon, Joliet, IL

Richard L. Joutras '47
(deceased) Chairman, Bradley Printing & FNW Bank

Bernard J. Kestel '57
Engineering Specialist, Argonne Nat'l. Laboratory

1996 Major General Daniel J. Manning '31 (deceased)
Eng. Executive and WWII Veteran
1995 Dr. Earle Stellwagen '53

Hon. Julian E. Hughes '42
(deceased) Judge

Dr. Stanley G. Rousonelos M.D. '47 (deceased)


Dr. Joseph McFadden '52
St. Thomas University, First Lay President, Houston, TX

Dr. Thomas Peyla M.D. '54
Physician Pediatrician

Russell E. Wunderlich '31 (deceased)


James Agazzi '60
Art Director and Emmy Award Winner

Hon. William Caisley '60
Retired Circuit Court Judge


Franklin Brewster, Sr. '36 (deceased) Int'l. Tech. Adviser for Motorola

John Barnes '41
Retired Vice President Eastman Kodak Company

Dr. John Radke '56
Clinical Professor of Medicine


Dr. Barbara Smith '60
Assistant Professor, Food Science and Nutrition Department

Dr. Edward Schweizer '53
Research Physiologist

1989 Raymond M. Standahar '41
(deceased) Government Exec. Dept. of Defense

Dr. David Imig '59
College Administrator

Herbert Trackman '31 (deceased)


Dr. William Shannon '32 (deceased)

Dr. Wayne Watson '66
President, Kennedy-King College

Hon. Susan Pierson-Sonderby '67
Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Dr. Donald Holt '52


Oscar Kreimeier '27
(deceased) Research Chemist

Alan Kehlet '49

George Sangmeister '51 (deceased)
Retired Illinois Congressman

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor '53
Author and 1992 Newbery Medal Winner

B. Leighten Wellman '28 (deceased)
University Instructor

Edward C. Zajac '36
Retired Computer Administrator

Dr. John C. Houbolt '38
Chief Aeronautical Scientist, LaRC, NASA, (retired). Best known as developer of the LOR concept for putting men on the moon and returning them safely to Earth.


Dr. Arthur Toy '37 (deceased)
Chemist, holding more than 80 patents


© 2012 Joliet Junior College

Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone: (815) 729-9020