New Trier Township High School Alumni Achievement Awards and Hall of Honor
2022 Alumni Achievement Awards
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, New Trier and the New Trier Educational Foundation were forced to postpone plans to honor a new class of alumni honorees in 2021. Nominations are now closed for the 2022 Alumni Achievement Awards. Be sure we have your updated information to stay informed about the Alumni Achievement Awards.
New Trier launched the recognition program during the 2010-2011 school year and has inducted 61 honorees since (their biographies can be found below). Most of these honorees have returned to the school to share their memories in inspirational discussions with students at New Trier and at awards dinners hosted by the New Trier Educational Foundation. The 2022 event date, location, and format are still to be determined, so stay tuned!
Nominees may range from well-known alumni to unsung heroes. The selection committee can consider only alumni whose names have been submitted, so don’t assume a famous alumnus or alumna has already been nominated.
Recipients of the New Trier Township High School Alumni Achievement Awards must:
- Be graduates of New Trier who have had outstanding careers, resulting in a direct and significant impact in their fields for a minimum of five years
- Demonstrate outstanding leadership, character, and service to the community
- Have school and career records that reflect the values of the New Trier motto: “To commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity”
In addition, alumni may be nominated in the Young Alumnus Award category. Anyone nominated in this category must:
- Be younger than age 40 at the time of the nomination
- Demonstrate potential for leadership in his or her chosen career and in service to the community
- Reflect the values of the New Trier motto
The decision to award an honoree in any category, including the Young Alumnus category, is at the sole discretion of the Alumni Achievement Awards Selection Committee. The committee includes a current student, faculty members, administrators, alumni, and community members.
Recipients of the New Trier Alumni Achievement Award also are inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor, located near the second floor rotunda on the Winnetka Campus. The hall features plaques and an interactive touch screen monitor with information about the honorees.
Since New Trier’s Alumni Achievement Awards began in 2011, 52 recipients have joined the Alumni Hall of Honor for exemplifying the school’s motto: “To commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity.” The majority of honorees also have returned to New Trier to share their experiences in discussions with current students during the week of the awards dinner.
Dr. Allan H. Conney (1930-2013) was a worldrenowned pharmacologist and cancer researcher who made seminal discoveries in the molecular mechanisms of enzyme induction, drug metabolism, carcinogen activation, and cancer prevention. Conney was born in Chicago on March 23, 1930. He received his B.S. in pharmacy (1952) and his M.S. (1954) and Ph.D. (1956) in oncology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Sheila Hicks is an internationally renowned textile artist known for her innovative use of material and color. She was born in Hastings, Nebraska, and received her BFA and MFA degrees from Yale University. She received a Fulbright scholarship in 1957-58 to paint in Chile. While in South America she developed her interest in working with fibers. After founding workshops in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa and working in Morocco and India, she now divides her time between her Paris studio and New York.
Judge Roy W. McLeese III was appointed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 2012 by President Barack Obama. McLeese graduated from New Trier East High School in 1977. He was a member of the Debate Club and the Math Club, and played for one season on the JV water polo team.
Charles Harting Percy was born on September 29, 1919, in Pensacola, Florida, while his mother, a professional violinist from Chicago, was touring Southern states. He was fondly known as “Chuck” to family and friends, with the exception of his mother, Elisabeth, who insisted on calling him “Charles.”
Dr. Alan L. Robin has been a pioneer and innovator in both medicine and public health as well as a recognized humanitarian. He grew up in Glencoe, and after New Trier (1966), he graduated from Yale College (1970) and Tufts University School of Medicine (1974) and had a fellowship in glaucoma at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1979). He has faculty appointments at both the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University.
Fred Schmidt is a two-time Olympic and Pan American swimming medalist, winner of numerous NCAA titles, one-time world record holder in the 100m butterfly, and a former U.S. Navy SEAL Team Lieutenant who served as a leader of the NASA Apollo 14 and 15 recovery missions.
World renowned for his innovative architectural design involving the development and implementation of cutting-edge sustainable technology, David Sellers pioneered the “design-build” concept in architecture and is widely recognized as one of the world’s top architects.
Scott Clybourn Smith, born 1950 in Evanston, IL, attended Wilmette public schools and New Trier East, graduating in 1968. At New Trier, he was an all-league defenseman on the Suburban League champion soccer team. He was active in Student Council, Tri-Ship, and Teens for Percy in the senator’s first successful campaign. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and master’s from Northwestern University.
Clemantine Wamariya is an internationally renowned speaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and an accomplished human rights advocate. Her memoir, The Girl Who Smiled Beads, written with Elizabeth Weil, debuted with Crown Publishers in April 2018 and has now been released in five languages and dozens of countries. In vivid prose, the book describes Wamariya’s journey from her idyllic childhood in Kigali, Rwanda, up until 1994 to seeking refuge in eight different countries throughout Africa, to finally receiving refugee status in the USA in 2000.
Hall "Cap" Adams Jr. is the former Chairman of the Board and Cheif Executive Officer of the Leo Burnett Company, Inc.
Adams has been a Director of Moody's Corporation, McDonald's Corporation, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. He is also a trustee of Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center.
Ann Compton has been a pioneer. As the first woman assigned to cover the White House for network television and with 41 years on the air for ABC News, her longevity and impact are unparalleled. After retiring in 2014, Compton accepted a fall 2016 fellowship at Harvard's Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, focusing on media coverage of the 2016 campaign.
Peter McNitt is Vice Chair of BMO Harris Bank. As part of the bank's executive leadership team, he has a wide range of responsibilities focusing the organization on delivering the full breadth of wealth, commercial and investment banking capabilities to the bank's customers. He has direct responsibility for strategic initiatives that both strengthen BMO harris' capabilities around customer focus and development and expand the bank's market visibility and presence.
Mark Olsky was born on a train en route to a concentration camp during World War II. His story was published on his 70th birthday in "Born Survivors," which describes the dire circumstances of his birth in Nazi captivity and the bravery of his mother and two others.
Liz Phair's deeply clever and often brutally candid songs have been commanding ears and raising eyebrow ever since she started writing them. Her 1993 debut studio album “Exile in Guyville” has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and is considered one of the most accomplished debut albums for any artist in any genre.
Cliff Sloan is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flam LLP. Cliffs practice focuses on a wide range of litigation and appeals. He has litigated cases at all levels of federal and state courts, including seven U.S. Supreme Court arguments, numerous arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and matters in trial and district courts across the country. He also serves on numerous boards, including as chair of the board of the American Constitution Society.
Shawn Anthony Robinson Ph.D. is a dyslexia consultant whose research focuses on the intersection of race, giftedness and dyslexia. He brings a wealth of academic and personal experience, training and knowledge about the development of dyslexia. Robinson is recognized as an emerging scholar who addresses inequalities in the fields of language and literacy, and special education, and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles.
JAMES F. ( JIM) COLLINS, is a recognized authority on the former Soviet Union, including Russia and its successor states, and on the Middle East. Collins had a distinguished diplomatic career spanning more than three decades. He was centrally involved in American diplomacy and policy toward the former Soviet region and Europe from 1969 through the end of the Cold War and throughout the 1990s. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia (1997-2001), as Ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states (1993-1997) and as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Moscow (1990-1993). He also held positions at the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan and the consulate general in Izmir, Turkey as well as the White House.
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE has captivated audiences throughout her performing career, from the Broadway stage to television series and specials, films, concert appearances, and recordings. Ebersole received virtually every Off-Broadway award and her second Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical in Grey Gardens. Other memorable New York stage performances include her Tony Award-winning performance as Dorothy Brock in the smash hit revival 42nd Street, Steel Magnolias, On the Twentieth Century, Camelot, Oklahoma, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), The Best Man, and Blithe Spirit.
PETER BLAIR HENRY is Dean of New York University’s Stern School of Business and author of TURNAROUND: Third World Lessons for First World Growth (Basic Books, 2013). Named Dean two days before his 40th birthday, Henry came to Stern from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Economics. In 2008, Henry led the Presidential Transition Team’s review of the IMF and World Bank. In June 2009, President Obama appointed Henry to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
WILL KELLOGG graduated from New Trier in 1948. During the summers as a teenager, he worked at Chicago’s Field Museum cleaning and preparing specimens; in 1947, he was a porter on a 1,000-mile canoe trip across Manitoba, Canada, where he collected plant specimens for the University of Minnesota. In 1952, Kellogg graduated from Michigan State, where he was president of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. He served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea during the Korean War. In 1952, he married Jacqueline Evers. He has two sons and three grandchildren.
MICHAEL PYLE grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, where he attended Skokie School and New Trier. While at New Trier, he was a member of the Boys’ Honor Society and participated on student council and student government committees. During his senior year, he was All-State in football, All-State in wrestling and All-State in track. He held the state title in heavyweight wrestling, discus, and shot put events, and he set a state record in shot put at the State Championship.
MARY LU RUBNITZ ROFFE, class of 1972, is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer. She grew up in Winnetka, graduating from Skokie Jr. High, New Trier West, and Drake University, with a B.A. in Journalism. Roffe has raised three sons in Winnetka and has been very active in every aspect of their lives. Her three brothers, husband and their boys are all New Trier alums. Her charitable involvement has included the Chicago History Museum, Hearing and Speech Board, Winnetka Public School Nursery, and a director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago since 1992.
SARAH RUHL is an award-winning playwright whose plays include In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; The Clean House; Passion Play, a cycle; Dead Man’s Cell Phone; Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Late: a cowboy song; Dear Elizabeth; and most recently, Stage Kiss and The Oldest Boy. She has been a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, offBroadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and the Lincoln Center Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country as well as internationally
MICHAEL SHAMBERG is a movie, television, and digital video producer. He was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award for producing Erin Brockovich and The Big Chill. He was the Executive Producer of two other movies which were nominated for Best Picture – Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. Shamberg’s other film credits include Contagion, Wish I Was Here, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Gattaca, Reality Bites, World Trade Center, Garden State, Along Came Polly, The Skeleton Key, How High, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and A Fish Called Wanda.
Bruce Alberts, a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education, serves as Editorin-Chief of Science and served as one of President Barack Obama’s first three Science Envoys. Alberts is also Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Bobbi Brown is the Founder and CCO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Brown first arrived on the beauty scene in 1991 with the launch of Bobbi Brown Essentials, a handful of 10 brown-based lipstick shades created to fill a void in the market of simple, flattering and wearable makeup. Brown’s philosophy was simple: “Women want to look and feel like themselves, only prettier and more confident.” Her unique approach to cosmetics was a longawaited gift for women who wanted a more natural look, and therefore caught the attention of cosmetics empire Estée Lauder Companies, which acquired Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in 1995.
Steve Fickinger is a Theatrical Producer, Senior Creative Consultant, and 20-year veteran of The Walt Disney Studios. Under his stewardship as VicePresident of Creative Development for the Disney Theatrical Group, Fickinger developed and creatively produced the current two-time Tony Award winning Broadway hit “Newsies,” as well as the upcoming Broadway adaptation of “Aladdin,” set to open in 2014.
Susan Grant is executive vice president of CNN News Services, a division of CNN Worldwide, which encompasses the company’s digital and affiliate businesses. During Grant’s tenure, CNN Digital has become the Internet’s leading news destination globally across various online and mobile platforms. Also included in her portfolio of businesses are CNNMoney. com, a partnership with Time Inc.’s Fortune & Money Group, CNN Mobile, CNN iReport, CNN Newsource Sales, CNN Radio and CNN ImageSource. Under Grant’s leadership, CNN’s affiliate businesses have built exceptional, sustainable collaborations with their broadcast, radio and licensing partners.
Mary-Claire King, PhD, is American Cancer Society Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She was the first to prove that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. In addition to the inherited breast and ovarian cancer, her research interests include the genetic bases of schizophrenia, the genetic causes of Mendelian disorders, and human genetic diversity and evolution. She pioneered the use of DNA sequencing for human rights investigations, developing the approach of sequencing mitochondrial DNA preserved in human remains, then applying this method to the identification of kidnapped children in Argentina and subsequently to cases of human rights violations on six continents.
Tom Miller was born in Chicago in 1938, grew up in Winnetka and Northfield and went to the Farm School, Skokie School and New Trier. He graduated from Yale in 1960, taught in Ghana for two years and graduated from Stanford Law School in 1965, where he founded the International Law Society.
Scott Turow is a writer and attorney. He is the author of nine best-selling works of fiction, including his first novel, Presumed Innocent (1987) and the sequel, Innocent, published by Grand Central Publishing in May, 2010. His newest novel will be published by Grand Central Publishing in October 2013. His works of non-fiction include One L (1977) about his experience as a law student, and Ultimate Punishment (2003), a reflection on the death penalty.
Michael Alter is president of The Alter Group, a national corporate real estate development firm, and oversees all planning and operations for the firm. Currently, The Alter Group has 4,000,000 SF of space, worth $600 million, under development across the nation. Affiliates include EnTrust Realty Advisors, which facilitates the disposition of national portfolio properties to well-capitalized third-party private and institutional investors; Alter+Care, a healthcare real estate development firm; Alter Construction Management, which provides construction services; Alter Asset Management, a property-management firm; Alter 360°, the only turnkey real estate brokerage company for small to medium business tenants and private building investor/owners; and Alter Asset Recovery, a partner-level team of special-asset veterans who deliver expedited asset recovery solutions for distressed commercial real estate.
Ann-Margret, a consummate entertainer, has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, won five Golden Globe Awards, won an Emmy, and received five other Emmy nominations. She is a three-time winner of the “Female Star of the Year” award and has been twice honored as “Outstanding Box Office Star of the Year” by the Theatre Owners of America. Ann-Margret was also nominated for a Grammy for her CD, “God is Love: The Gospel Sessions,” and has just released her second gospel album
Dr. Alan M. Krensky is a leading pediatric nephrologist and cancer researcher who served as Associate Dean for Children’s Health at Stanford University, founding the Children’s Health Initiative, and was Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health, serving as the first Director of the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives. He currently is a Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute.
Tom Miller is currently the President/CEO of International Executive Service Corps, a non-profit that furnishes expertise to the developing world to train in best business practices. In addition, in 2011, Miller was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the Chair of the Board of the International Commission on Missing Persons, an internationally acclaimed organization that identifies missing persons in many countries by using DNA-matching and other techniques. In 2009, Miller was President and CEO of the United Nations Association of the U.S. From 2005-08, he served as CEO of Plan International, a large nongovernmental organization that works in 66 countries to improve the lives of children in developing countries.
Martha Minow is the Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor at Harvard Law School where she has taught since 1981. An expert in human rights with a focus on members of racial and religious minorities and women, children, and persons with disabilities, her scholarship also has addressed private military contractors, management of mass torts, transitional justice, and law, culture, and social change. She has published over 150 articles and her books include In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark (2010); Partners, Not Rivals, Privatization and the Public Good (2002); and BetweenVengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998). She served as policy director for a federal Department of Education initiative to ensure access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities and on the International Independent Commission on Kosovo. She devised the “Imagine Co-Existence” initiative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers has served his country in uniform for over thirty years and is currently the Navy’s senior operational authority in the areas of cyber, networks, cryptology and signals intelligence,electronic warfare, space, and information operations as Commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander U.S. TENTH Fleet.
James H.M S. Sprayregen is a Restructuring partner in the Chicago and New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Sprayregen is recognized as one of the country’s outstanding restructuring lawyers and has extensive experience representing major U.S. and international companies in and out of court as well as buyers and sellers of assets in distressed situations. He has handled matters for clients in industries as varied as manufacturing, technology, transportation, energy, media, and real estate. In March 2010, Sprayregen was selected by The National Law Journal as one of "The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers.” The 2011 edition of Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognized Sprayregen as a key individual, noting that sources refer to him as “a restructuring genius and one of the best strategists in the country.”
Lt. Col. James Collins Warren grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and graduated from New Trier High School in 1942. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in November 1942 and entered active duty in March 1943. He participated in aviation cadet training atTuskegee Army Air Field and served as a member of the 477th Bombardment Group.
Born in Winnetka, Edward Zwick began directing and acting in high school and trained as an apprentice at the Academy Festival in Lake Forest. While studying literature at Harvard, he continued writing and directing for the theatre. Upon graduation, he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study in Europe with some of the major innovative theatre companies.
Dr. Todd Golub is a leading cancer researcher and founding member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a unique partnership of Harvard, MIT, and the Harvard teaching hospitals that uses crossdisciplinary collaboration to meet the most critical challenges in biology and medicine. Golub also serves as the Charles Dana Investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Anna Halprin is a pioneer in the field of postmodern dance known for her groundbreaking work in the expressive arts healing movement. Her love of dance began in her childhood in Winnetka, where she took interpretive dance lessons. After graduating from New Trier, she studied dance at the University of Wisconsin and became the mentee of the renowned dance educator Margaret H’Doubler. Halprin founded the San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955 and theTamalpa Institute in 1978 with her daughter, Daria Halprin.
Samuel Harris, a founder of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, was four years old in Deblin, Poland, when he and his family were rounded up for deportation. Harris survived 3 1/2 years in the Deblin and Czestochowa concentration camps. After the war he lived in orphanages and a foster home until in 1948 he was adopted by a Northbrook couple, Dr. Ellis and Harriet Harris.
Christie Hefner, the longest-serving female CEO of a public company, is a passionate advocate for freedom of expression, equal rights and opportunities for women, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. A year after graduating summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from Brandeis University, Hefner began working at the company her father founded, Playboy Enterprises. When the company got into financial difficulties in 1982, she became president, beginning her long run as the head of the company.
Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. applied the talents that made him a leader in the world of business to benefit his community and country. Under Nielsen’s guidance, the company his father founded, the A.C. Nielsen Company, grew from a small enterprise to world leadership in five businesses, with 22,000 employees and operations in 25 countries. Nielsen’s acumen was recognized by other business leaders, who invited him to serve on the Board of Directors of over twenty major corporations, including Walgreens, Motorola and the Harris Bank.
Donald Rumsfeld served as the United States’ 13th and 21st Secretary of Defense and is the only person to hold that Cabinet position for non-consecutive terms. His long record of service to his country began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1954, where he served as a naval aviator and flight instructor and retired as a captain in the Naval Reserve. Rumsfeld won his first term representing Illinois’ 13th Congressional District in 1962 at the age of 30. He resigned from Congress in 1969 to join President Nixon’s Cabinet, where he served successively as the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Economic Stabilization Program, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO.
Jack Steinberger is a renowned physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 for his co-discovery of the muon neutrino. Steinberger grew up in Germany but was forced to flee with his brother to the United States during the rise of the Nazis in 1934. Barnett Faroll, a successful grain broker, took Steinberger in, oversaw his education at New Trier, and helped bring his parents and younger brother to the area in 1938.
Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, a Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Division of International Ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah, has spent his career working to prevent cataract blindness in developing nations. Tabin, an avid mountain climber who has reached the tallest peak on each of the seven continents, first developed an interest in helping those at risk of treatable blindness after climbing Mt. Everest and, during that trip, encountering a team performing surgery on a woman who had been needlessly blind for three years
Richard Williamson, a former Ambassador to the United Nations and Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan, has turned his long career serving the U.S. government into a mission to educate others about what can be done to address genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Williamson served three years in President Ronald Reagan’s White House as Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs before beginning his work in multilateral diplomacy.
Rainn Wilson is an Emmy-nominated actor best known for his roles as Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office” and Arthur Martin on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” He also has had significant roles in several feature films, including “Juno” and “The Rocker.” Wilson transferred to New Trier after his family moved to Wilmette to serve at the Bahá’í National Center. His deep involvement in that faith led to his work with several charities, including serving as a spokesman and activist for the Bahá’í-inspired The Mona Foundation, which supports worldwide projects under three guiding principles: universal education, the equality of men and women, and community building.