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Oakton Board Member Wins Prestigious Award from Illinois Community College Trustees Association

Des Plaines, IL (June 12, 2014) – The Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA), an organization that provides legislative advocacy and educational opportunities for college boards, named Oakton Community College Trustee Jody Wadhwa as a recipient of the 2014 Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award at its annual banquet on June 6 in Springfield. The College of Lake County’s Richard Anderson also was recognized.

The Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award, established in 1992, recognizes extraordinary board service and leadership by an Illinois community college trustee. Ray Hartstein was the founding chair of Oakton Community College and a two-term ICCTA president.

“We’re thrilled that Jody’s work as a trustee has been recognized on a state-wide level, but not surprised,” noted Oakton President Margaret Lee, Ph.D. “His many years of commitment and dedication to the College have contributed enormously to its success. A college is only as strong as its leaders, and an award of this caliber is gratifying, as it highlights the good work Oakton is doing to provide quality education and promote student success.”

A resident of Northbrook, Wadhwa has been on Oakton’s Board of Trustees of Oakton Community College since 1987 serving as chairman, vice chairman, and secretary. A native of India, Wadhwa came to the United States in 1956 after graduating from Punjab University. After spending 20 years working for the Chicago-based company EZ Foil as general manager and later as chief operating officer, he began devoting his life to public service.

Active at the College for more than 25 years, in 1989 he established the Wadhwa Endowed Scholarship, which awards financial assistance to engineering students, and in 2010 created the Gandhi-King Peace Essay Endowment, which recognizes students who exemplify the beliefs and practices of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. This year, Wadhwa instituted the Gandhi-King State of Illinois Peace Essay Endowment.

“Jody’s life experience as an immigrant from war-torn India has greatly shaped his belief in quality higher education,” said ICCTA President Bob Johnson. “He has been a long-time advocate of global education and efforts to bring about a more peaceful world. Under his leadership, Oakton has created a program in peace studies and conducted international faculty exchange programs. Jody is truly an inspiring and inclusive leader who encourages us to work cooperatively and become better board members.”

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Cari Paterno helps students cultivate a desire to learn and challenges them to aim high in life.