Meet Our Distinguished Alumni
2014 Honoree – Tim Panfil ’88 and ‘89
Derailed by outside influences, social distractions, and a lack of interest in his major contributed to Tim Panfil – a high honors student at Maine East High School – dropping out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, he was able to turn himself around and enrolled at Oakton where he completed associate degrees in pre-engineering and electronics and computer technology in 1988 and 1989 respectively. He continued his education at the University of Illinois in Chicago, earning a bachelor of science in marketing in 1991, followed by an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management in 1997.
Since 1993, Tim has been part of the higher education landscape, working in admissions and enrollment management and marketing for a number of private, non-profit, and for-profit colleges and universities in Illinois. Currently the Director of Enrollment Management for the School of Professional Studies at Elmhurst College, he shares his love of learning with non-traditional students, including those with special needs.
In his spare time, Tim is a member of Resources for the Education of Adults in the Chicago Area (REACh), the Illinois Council for Continuing Higher Education (ICCHE), and the Big Waters Federation’s Indian Princess/Guides Program. This past year, he joined the newly launched Oakton Community College Alumni Council and is taking an active role to reconnect with Oakton alumni.
Tim consistently credits Oakton with helping him regain confidence in his academic abilities. As he noted in a recent interview, “Oakton Community College indeed was a defining moment in my life.”
2013 Honoree – Cheryl-Lynn May '06
From the moment she entered Oakton, Cheryl-Lynn May’s tireless commitment to educational excellence touched the lives of many who have had the privilege of teaching and working with her. Earning an associate’s degree and a certificate in museum studies in 2006, she stood out as a top-notch student who graduated with high honors. She also engaged in a wide variety of service activities, serving as a student mentor for TRiO and an exemplary volunteer in the English as a Second Language program.
After graduating, she received two Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships that enabled her to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lake Forest College and the University of Delaware respectively. While in Delaware, she was named a Lois F. McNeil Fellow and the 2008 winner of the Montgomery Connoisseurship Competition.
Now working at The Ohio State University as curatorial assistant in the exhibitions department of the Wexner Center for the Arts, she brings nationally and internationally recognized art and artists to central Ohio. A devoted Oakton advocate, she serves as an alumni mentor to students and continues to model the power of community college education.
“My life is not simply different or better because of Oakton Community College – my life is because of my community college,” she says.