Leonard Petraitis

Sharon and Len
Sharon and Leonard Petraitis

(EE ’48), Pittsboro, N.C., and his wife, Sharon, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. His brother, Albert, who is also an Illinois Tech alumnus, recently celebrated his 100th birthday and lives in San Diego.


Melvin Friedlander
(ME ’50) Menifee, Calif., has one class to complete before he receives his master’s degree in education from California State University. After spending 40 years in aerospace engineering, including working on the Apollo moon missions and the space shuttle, he plans to teach courses in rocketry or computer-aided drawing.

Gittleman Leonard

George Gallagher
(CE ’52) Baton Rouge, La., participated in the Transpac race in July aboard his son’s boat, Chim Chim. His son and grandson were both a part of the crew. In recognition of Gallagher teaching his son how to sail, his son proudly flew the Illinois Tech flag on the boat during the race.

Leonard Gittleman
(DSGN ’54) Watertown, Mass., had his artwork displayed as part of the exhibition Integrated Vision: Science, Nature, and Abstraction in the Art of Len Gittleman and György Kepes at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. The display was on view from May 9–September 6.

Edward Rosenberger
(CE ’57) Naperville, Ill., retired in 2012 as chief executive officer and chair of FGM Architects. He is enjoying his retirement by cruising; visiting Marco Island, Fla.; and spending time with his five grandchildren and his wife of 57 years, Betty.


Kenneth Mauro
(CE ’61) Centennial, Colo., has been an avid skier for 52 years and is enjoying his retirement.

Norbert “Pete” Pointner
(ARCH ’61, M.S. CRP ’62) Wheaton, Ill., served as the lead planner for a pro bono American Planning Association Community Assistance Planning Team that developed a plan for a new town center for Deerfield Beach, Fla. He has expanded his blog, Readings in Urban Planning and Design, to include six more published and four unpublished papers. His paper “Planners: Impact the Future of Your Region” will be published this year in Audubon magazine and “Don’t Waste Money on Public Environment” was published on the group’s blog this past February.

Wayne Bernath
(BE ’62, M.S. BE ’64) Halifax, Nova Scotia, spent years teaching accounting and financial management, including at Illinois Tech (1964–1970), and was a financial systems development executive for Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Bernath is a bookseller and writes short stories and memoirs about the Atlantic seaboard.

John P. Calamos Sr.
(ECON ’63, M.B.A. FIN ’70) Naperville, Ill., was honored by the American Hellenic Council with the Aristeion Award for his extraordinary accomplishments in his fields of expertise.

Francis Kulacki
(ME ’63, M.S. GE ’66) Wayzata, Minn., was awarded the 2015 ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award for fundamental contributions to the understanding of convective heat transfer in porous media, and natural convection in volumetrically heated fluids and in tube bundles.

Ronald Waller
(PS ’63) Richmond, Va., conducts tours of the Virginia State Capitol eight days each month. Built in 1788, the capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Edgar Do Valle
(ARCH ’65) Porto Alegre, Brazil, had his watercolor landscapes and marine scenes featured in the exhibit Interpretative Realms at Chelsea’s Agora Gallery in New York in August. Do Valle currently lives in his native Brazil, where he is the director of Valle Architects.

Winfried Rudloff
(Ph.D. EE ’65) Schneider, Ind., is professor emeritus of computer science, fellow of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics (IIAS), Distinguished Professor of Internet-Based Global Education for the IIAS, and doctor honoris causa at Governors State University. The author of numerous publications, Rudloff gave a keynote address at the 27th International Conference on Systems Research, Information, and Cybernetics and the 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the IIAS in Baden-Baden, Germany, in August. Rudloff is also a certified airline transportation pilot, commercial pilot, and flight instructor.

Jerry Thomas
(MATH ’65) San Diego, holds the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, three Navy Commendation Medals with Combat Distinguishing Devices, and 29 other personal and unit decorations after 28 years in the United States Navy and four tours in Vietnam. Retired in 1988, he lives with his wife, Suzan, and enjoys playing golf twice a week.

Daniel Biezad
(EE ’66) San Luis Obispo, Calif., has retired after 24 years of teaching and chairing the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly State University. Prior to that, Biezad spent 24 years in the United States Air Force as a test pilot manager in avionic systems development.

Joanne Gucwa
(CHEM ’68) Des Plaines, Ill., has published two books this year: one as a collaborator, People, Places and (Tough) Plastics, by Howard H. Irvin; another as author, Whoosh; Old Faithful Uncovers a Mystery. The latter is the first of a 12-book children’s BioFables series aimed at spurring interest in STEM subjects.

Richard Oracheff
(EE ’68) Glendale, Ariz., is a consulting engineer in the aviation market providing design and certification services to large OEM aircraft builders in the military and commercial markets. He is retired from Honeywell Worldwide after 30 years of service. Oracheff and his wife, Jean, enjoy traveling and golfing.

Robert “Bob” Craig
(Ph.D. PSYC ’69) Bolingbrook, Ill., recently published his eleventh book, State of Mind: Life and Work in a Mental Hospital. He is now retired and enjoys visiting with his three children, playing the guitar, and golfing.

Paul Gartz

Paul Gartz

(EE ’69) Seattle, is a member of the Boeing Technical Fellowship. He currently leads Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Systems Engineering University. Gartz also consults to program executives and numerous functional organizations, and has led critical program groups. He is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer and has lectured on all continents.


Leon Hoffman
(M.S. PSYC 69, Ph.D. 70), Chicago, continues to enjoy his private practice of clinical psychology. He values his involvement as a lifelong chamber music cellist and maintains an active writing schedule on disparate subjects for lay, scientific, and professional publications.

Fred Michaels
(M.S. SOC ’70) Scottsdale, Ariz., is executive consultant at Michaels & Associates, assisting companies in creating custom online training.

Larry Phelps

Larry Phelps
(ARCH ’70) Bloomington, Ind., had his home, which he designed in 1978, featured in the June 2015 issue of Bloom Magazine.

Michael LaRocco
(CE ’74) Fair Lawn, N.J., was awarded an M.S. in civil engineering concentrated in geotechnical engineering and foundation design from New Jersey Institute of Technology in May.

Upen Bharwada
(M.S. CHE ’75) Scottsdale, Ariz., was appointed a senior executive at Abtech Holdings.

Joyce Mate
(M.S. CST ’75) San Diego, along with former classmates Charles Lenzini (ME '95) and John Malo (PHYS '64), is an alumni volunteer, recruiting future Illinois Tech students at college fairs and encouraging other alumni to get involved. She also enjoys photography as a hobby.

David Siljenberg
(EE ’75) Byron, Minn., just completed his 36th year at IBM.

Paul Katz
(LAW ’76) Scottsdale, Ariz., retired from his position at the Arizona Superior Court in December 2010 and is working as an Arizona assistant attorney general in the Natural Resources Section. He has three married daughters, a son, and six grandchildren.

Douglas Beck
(MSC ’77) Palo Alto, Calif., spent eight years in the United States Navy followed by a career in commercial real estate after graduating from Illinois Tech. He also received an M.B.A. from Rice University. He currently works in Palo Alto and splits his time living there and in St. George, Utah. He and his wife of 35 years have one daughter.

Richard Bumstead
(CRP ’78) Flossmoor, Ill., is a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was invested at the ASLA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Antonio Di Venere
(PHYS ’78) Chicago, is director of the Nanotechnology Core Facility in the School of Engineering and the Research Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago after many years in the semiconductor startup industry and as principal of his own consulting group.

Ivonne LaIyre
(M.S. LING ’78) Boston, is teaching in Panama after more than 40 years of living abroad.


Thaddeus Bukowski
(ME ’81) Park Ridge, Ill., is celebrating his 10th year with Weber Stephen Products as the R&D lab manager. He is married to Judy Langston (M.S. ’82).

Timothy Grabacki
(EE ’81) Barrington, Ill., recently joined Cummins Allison, an international leader in high-speed coin and currency banking equipment, as director of product management.

Demitris Kouris
(M.S. CE ’84) Fort Worth, Texas, is provost and vice president for academic affairs at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He is the former dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Texas Christian University.

Phillip Singleton
(EE ’84) Raleigh, N.C., enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary after more than 25 years in IT networking and security. He plans to pursue a Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling.

William Konefes
(ME ’86) Fort Gibson, Okla., is president and chair of the board of the PRB Coal Users Group.

Arthur Liberty
(LAW ’87) North Ridgeville, Ohio, completed his doctorate in civil security leadership, management, and policy this past spring. He teaches graduate homeland security and emergency management courses for the University of Maryland University College as an adjunct professor, and was recently hired to teach as an adjunct in the Healthcare Emergency Management master’s degree program for Boston University School of Medicine. Liberty also hears and decides Medicare provider appeals as a supervisory judge in the DHHS Cleveland Field Office.


Tony Marchese
(CS ’87, M.S. CS ’90) Orland Park, Ill., has been working for Morse Data Corporation since applying for a part-time position via the Illinois Tech Career Services bulletin board 30 years ago. He enjoys his two grandchildren, Hailey (4) and Tony IV (2).

Kristina O’Brien
(BA ’90) Honolulu, recently moved from Germany to Hawaii to serve as the chief of logistics readiness, Logistics Directorate, Headquarters Pacific Command.

Stephen Lesavich
(Ph.D. CS ’91) Kenosha, Wis., was interviewed for the cover story of the March 2015 issue of #WORLDCLASS magazine.

Mark Brown
(LAW ’93) Highland Park, Ill., represents plaintiffs in personal injury and medical malpractice matters as a partner in the Chicago firm of Lane & Lane, LLC. He has represented victims of child sexual abuse against such groups as the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Boy Scouts of America, and is currently representing the family of a 14-year-old who was shot and killed by the police.

John Fialko
(ARCH ’94) San Diego, recently completed the conversion of St. Roch’s Church in La Salle, Ill., into a home. The Slovenian Catholic church was built in 1917 and is now a three-bedroom, three-bath home with 37-foot ceilings. He is now redeveloping other buildings and properties in the same town.

Nathan Ballou
(ME ’96) Virginia Beach, Va., was commissioned from the NROTC unit at Illinois Tech. He took command of the VFA-83 RAMPAGERS, a United States Navy F/A-18C squadron, in September 2014. His team is expected to deploy later this year.

William Bauer
(BIOL ’96) Raleigh, N.C., completed a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a faculty member at North Carolina State University and teaches an introductory course in philosophy, logic, and biomedical ethics.

Robert Besecker
(BA ’96) Tinley Park, Ill., has worked in health care for more than a decade, mostly with Advocate Health Care, and completed an M.B.A. from Purdue University. He has suffered from chronic and progressive heart ailments and muscular dystrophy for many years; in spite of his health challenges, Besecker is an adventurist and has visited all seven continents. His biggest adventure was a hiking expedition to the base camp of Mt. Everest, Nepal, where he survived an earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people. Besecker has been working on For Ever Strong, an inspirational memoir, and looks forward to its publication in December.

Julie Deisinger
(Ph.D. PSYC ’96) Orland Park, Ill., is a tenured full professor at Saint Xavier University, where she has been a faculty member since 1998. She also maintains a part-time private practice. Her book The Broad Autism Phenotype was published in March. In May the Midwestern Psychological Association named her a fellow.

Pablo Almaguer
(LAW ’97) McAllen, Texas, was reappointed by the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas to serve a three-year term on the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He also serves as vice chair of the commission.

Coffey Matthew

Matthew Coffey

(CE ’98) Roselle, Ill., and his wife, Ivy, welcomed their second son, Nevin, who was born in Delhi, India, in October 2014. The Coffeys are both employed as full-time staff in the Southeast Asia office of Engineering Ministries International.


Tonya Parravano
(LAW ’00) Wheaton, Ill., joined fellow alumni, Lyle B. Haskin (LAW ’72) and Bruno W. Tabis Jr. (LAW ’73), in the firm Haskin, Corrigan, Tabis & Parravano P.C. in March and focuses her practice on representing financial institutions and private business entities. She is also co-owner of the florist and event floral design firm Andrew’s Garden in downtown Wheaton.

Jessica Horning
(METM ’02) Chicago, is enrolled in the master’s program in bicultural bilingual education at DePaul University.

Melissa Zabel
(M.S. TCID ’04) Indianapolis, was promoted to vice president of operations at xiik Strategic Marketing Agency in December 2014 and gave birth to her second son this past January.

Virgil Abloh
(ARCH ’06) Rockford, Ill., former creative director for Kanye West, was the only American finalist for the 2015 LVMH Prize. The annual prize recognizes one fashion designer under the age of 40 with a year of mentorship and €300,000.

Amanda Kastern
(PA ’06) Hillsborough, N.J., earned an Ed.D. in higher education administration from George Washington University this past January. Kastern works at Princeton University and lives with her husband, Steve Beitzel (CS ’01, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’06) and their two children, Abigail (4) and Nathaniel (2).

Alexandra Molesky
(LAW ’07) Chicago, is employed at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and is assigned as a third chair in a felony trial courtroom in the Sixth Municipal District.

Katharine Netherton
(PSYC ’07, M.S. REHB ’09) Tinley Park, Ill., works at the Sertoma Centre as a linkage and outreach case manager in mental health services.

Pattie Piotrowski
(BA ’07) Lockport, Ill., was elected vice president/president-elect of the Illinois Library Association for 2015–2017.

Scott Justus
(BCHM ’09) Astoria, N.Y., graduated from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in May with a Ph.D. in biomedical science.

Roy Avelo

Avelo Roy
(CPE ’09) Chicago, co-founded a student startup, eMotion Group Inc., with the help of the Illinois Tech IPRO Program, and grew it to a million-dollar valuation after graduation. He is patenting his technology in the United States and the United Kingdom, and in Japan. He has hired many Illinois Tech students and also has a mentorship program to help college students learn entrepreneurship and how to balance the deeper needs of life through meditation and spirituality.


Manuel Lopez Morales
(AE ’10) Palo Alto, Calif., is graduating from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics and will begin his career at Northrup Grumman Corporation.

Corson Elizabeth

Elizabeth Corson
(CHE ’11) Palo Alto, Calif., is enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, doctoral program in chemical engineering and received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Mark Silverman
(LAW ’11) Northbrook, Ill., is an associate at Lowis & Gellen LLP as part of the firm’s Corporate and Litigation practice.

Stephanie Marx
(PSYC ’12) Chicago, recently completed Dev Bootcamp, a 19-week intensive program for Web developers, and is now employed as a software application developer at UL LLC.

Fan Wu
(M.S. EE ’12) San Diego, is a senior software test engineer at Microsoft.

Adriana Tudela
(ME, AE ’13) Columbus, Ind., is enrolled in the London School of Economics and Political Science graduate program.

Joseph Wright
(LAW ’13) Chicago, was appointed in June by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner as director of the state’s medical marijuana program. Wright assisted general counsel in the governor’s office and has been a law clerk for Holland & Knight, the Illinois attorney general, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

Guang Yang
(BME ’13) San Diego, is in the master’s program in bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Shuo Yang
(M.S. BIOL ’13, BME Ph.D. candidate) Quingdao, China, was one of five young investigators invited to present at the 22nd Annual Congress of the International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps. His presentation merited him the Helmut Reul Young Investigator Award of a $1,000 check and a plaque.

Utsav Gandhi
(EMGT ’14) Chicago, is employed at Tusk Strategies. He previously worked as a program intern for ISTC, a nonprofit organization created by the State of Illinois to set up public-private partnerships for technology-based economic development.

Afrin Subair
(CS ’14) Trivandrum, India, has been traveling and taking road trips across the United States since graduating from Illinois Tech.

Conrad Merced
(BA ’15) Chicago, is media manager at the Chicago headquarters of Performics.

Cynthia Wojdyla
(M.S. MAC ’15) Crystal Lake, Ill., is a user insight analyst at UBM.