Class Notes


Theodore Brown
(CHEM ’50), Bonita Springs, Fla., is the founding director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation presented the institute with a $5 million gift to establish the Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Annual Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science.

Gilbert Jensen
(ME ’51), Athens, Ga., has been traveling and enjoying life.

Edward Mochel
(CHE ’51, M.S. EG ’57), Charlottesville, Va., retired in 1993 as associate professor emeritus of mechanical engineering after 36 years of teaching at the University of Virginia and four previous years of teaching at Illinois Tech.

Bennett Whiteson
(MET ’51), Chesterfield, Mo., retired as director of McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) Phantom Works in 1997. He joined Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. to provide engineering customer support services. Whiteson is now mostly retired and enjoying life with his wife, Jill.

Roy Grundy
(IE ’52), Seattle, and his wife are experiencing a new way of life in retirement at University House. They live close to their son Bill Noble, a faculty member in genome science at the University of Washington. This November Grundy will be presenting an Outstanding Alumni Award to a student in his first class (1970) at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill.


Michael Wayte
(ME ’61), Seattle, completed his eighth Seattle to Portland bicycle ride, finishing the 207-mile trip in two days while promoting his alma mater with an Illinois Tech Cycling jersey. He retired 12 years ago after a career with Boeing that covered technology, systems engineering, and project management. He spent many years involved in competitive swimming with two of his four children, one of whom earned two gold, one silver, and one bronze Olympic medals. He and his wife, Jackie, have six grandchildren.

Robert Gordon
(ARCH ’63, M.S. CRP ’67), Chicago, recently had his third book published (Fairchild Books/Bloomsbury): Integrated Drawing Techniques. His previous two books also were published by Fairchild: Perspective Drawing and Residential Design Studio.

Kenneth Lundgren
(EE ’63), Bloomingdale, Ill., is retired. 

Richard Erth
(ME ’64), Palm City, Fla., retired in 2006 and was recently elected commodore of the Harbour Ridge Yacht Club for its 30th anniversary season. Erth is active in the community through the Rivers Coalition, the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs, and AARP, which he serves as a volunteer tax preparer. He has three grandchildren.  

Michael Jackowski
(EE ’65, M.B.A. ’70), Vienna, Va., is chief executive officer of Power Associates.

Munin Choudrey
(M.S. ARCH ’66), New Orleans, of Munin Design Inc., is working on a mixed-use building in Richmond, Virginia, and developing his book, The Life and Times of Architect Munin. The book will include his memories of mentor George Danforth and internship with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Choudrey notes that he became the first non-white designer at the former C. F. Murphy Associates in 1966. He worked on several international and domestic projects for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP from 1975–1986 and Urban Design Group from 1986–2005 before opening his own firm.        

Robert Holmes

Robert Holmes
(M.S. BE ’66), Ann Arbor, Mich., traveled to India with a Rotary International team and helped with the administration of the polio vaccine and the construction of a dam in Rajasthan. He also traveled to sites in northern India where his mother and other relatives were born and lived for many years before coming to the United States.

S. Frank Kiss
(EE ’66), Saratoga, Calif., began his career in computers in 1971 in Silicon Valley with Ampex Data Systems Corporation. Kiss’s last position was in field service and test lab management with Tandem Computers before he retired in 2000. He has four grandsons.

Carl Herakovich
(Ph.D. MECH ’68), Charlottesville, Va., recently had his book Mechanics IUTAM USNC/TAM: A History of People, Events, and Communities (Springer) published.

Leon Hoffman
(M.S. PSYC ’69, Ph.D. ’70), Chicago, continues to enjoy his private practice of clinical psychology, counseling individuals, groups, and couples as well as providing consulting and coaching services. He frequently contributes letters and commentaries to various lay and professional publications.

Richard Laurent
(DSGN ’69), Chicago, co-produced the human rights art exhibition The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions. It opened in September at the Kean University Human Rights Institute Gallery, the sixth venue for this artwork. In February 2017 Laurent and others will be presenting a panel at the College Art Association Annual Conference in New York City. This follows a presentation they gave earlier this year to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on the subject of art for social justice.  


John Ronge
(MET ’70), Los Angeles, is an attorney and certified public accountant who specializes in probate, estate planning, and income tax preparation. He enjoys running and has completed more than 35 marathons. This year Ronge completed the Boston Marathon and plans to run the New York Marathon in November and the Honolulu Marathon in December.

Manu Vora
(M.S. CHE ’70, Ph.D. ’75), Naperville, Ill., was honored with the Simon Collier Quality Award at a ceremony in September. The award, from the Los Angeles Section of the American Society for Quality, is given to a person or group representing outstanding achievement in the field of quality.     

Kenneth Biagi
(BE ’71), Homewood, Ill., retired in January after 40+ years in the insurance industry. He and his wife, Joanne, celebrated by taking a Route 66 road trip from Illinois to California.  

Russell Martin
(CHE ’71), Worth, Ill., retired in 2011 after 40 years with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He began his career as a field engineer then moved into the area of construction grants, providing funds for many Illinois projects, including the Chicago Tunnel and Reservoir Plan project. Martin then became a deputy branch chief for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. He now designs web-based training programs and assists the Water Environment Federation.     

Martin Sadd
(Ph.D. MECH ’71), Narragansett, R.I., retired in 2014 from the University of Rhode Island, where he served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for nine years. For the past 43 years he taught mechanical engineering at two different universities and at five corporations and military bases. Sadd has conducted research in the modeling of static and dynamic behavior for a broad class of materials, and continues to teach part-time. He is also writing a graduate mechanics book. He and his wife, Eve, have four children and eight grandchildren.

Ross Vondrak
(DSGN ’72, M.B.A. ’93), Countryside, Ill., retired from AT&T and now co-owns Triune Clinical Center with his wife, Roberta; he works as a licensed clinical massage therapist and she as a licensed clinical counselor. The couple recently celebrated their 40th anniversary and are proud grandparents of two new grandchildren this year (now five grandchildren in all).

Robert Waninski
(MAE ’73), Carol Stream, Ill., retired after 35 years in the nuclear power industry. He was part of the team that brought the LaSalle County Generating Station online, and worked in the nuclear quality and engineering groups at both the site and corporate levels at Exelon Corporation. Waninski also served on the team that replaced pressurized water reactor steam generators at the Byron, Braidwood, Donald C. Cook, Calvert Cliffs, Callaway, Prairie Island, and Salem nuclear power stations.

William Wilson
(FPSE ’73), Gallatin, Tenn., received the 2016 Jeff Yates Lifetime Achievement Award from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc., the highest honor the association bestows on a non-agent, for a lifetime of work in the independent agency system.

Richard Lindsey
(CHE ’76), Boston, joined Windham Capital as co-head of the Windham Liquid Alternative Strategies, an investment management firm specializing in risk-based solutions. Prior to joining Windham he served as chief investment strategist of Liquid Alternatives for Janus Capital.

James Berke
(EE ’79), Grand Rapids, Mich., received an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and retired from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1998. He served as director of program management for Lockheed Martin Space Company and retired from that role in 2011. Berke was also appointed as programs excellence director for the Navigation and Guidance Product Area of General Electric Aviation Systems.

Charles Porter
(ARCH ’79), Chicago, co-founded Development Management Associates, LLC in 2007. Prior to forming DMA he worked at Urban Retail Properties for 27 years.

Charles Young
(ARCH ’79), Oak Park, Ill., and Robert Larsen (ARCH ’81), Park Ridge, Ill., are partners at Interactive Design Architects, which was awarded the position of associate architect in conjunction with Tod Williams and Billy Tsien Architects, for the Obama Presidential Center.


Robert Schillerstrom
(LAW ’80), Naperville, Ill., is chair of the Illinois State Tollway Highway Authority.  

Mathai Varghese
(MATH ’81), Adelaide, Australia, delivered the 2016 Herbert Howe Lecture Series at the University of Denver in May.

John Birazzi
(ARCH ’82), Burr Ridge, Ill., is an owner of Klein and Hoffman in Chicago and a director in the Architectural Engineering Group. Birazzi and his wife of 30 years are empty nesters. Their daughter, Olivia, is planning a February 2017 wedding.

Dorotha Biernesser (née Edgeworth)
(EE ’83), Alexandria, Va., became a GS-15 employee with the U.S. Department of Defense in Florida. She has been married for 29 years and has two sons.

Jayanth Chintamani
(M.S. MET ’83, Ph.D. ’88), Munster, Ind., is director of auto product research at ArcelorMittal Global R&D.

Deborah G. Cole
(LAW ’83), Chicago, founder and principal of DGCole Law, was named to the International Association of Defense Counsel board of directors.

Kathleen Herrmann
(LAW ’83), Chicago, joined WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff as a team member working on the Illinois High-Speed Rail project. She left the public sector after 24 years as an attorney with the Chicago Transit Authority.

Deborah Thorne
(LAW ’83), Evanston, Ill., was appointed to a 14-year term as a United States bankruptcy judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. A former partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Thorne is also vice president for communications and information technology for the American Bankruptcy Institute and serves on its Executive Committee.

Anne Alonzo
(LAW ’84), Washington, D.C., joined the American Egg Board as president and chief executive officer.

Kurt Hoigard
(CE ’84, M.S. ’85), La Grange, Ill., is president of Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc., a national engineering, architecture, and forensics consulting firm, which opened its Chicago office in April.

William Byrne
(M.S. PSYC ’85, Ph.D. ’90), Chicago, is vice president of Inbound Sales at Hertz Global Holdings, Inc.

Michael Millette
(CE ’86), Elburn, Ill., is a trustee for the Village of Campton Hills. An alternate member of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, he is past president of the Chicago Metro Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

David Edwards
(Ph.D. CHE ’87), Boston, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, delivered the lecture “Sensory Delivery for Better Health” at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering’s Ashland Lecture Series. Edwards is a scientist, inventor, and innovator working at the intersection of art, science, and design. As founder of Le Laboratoire, a cultural center in Paris, and now Cambridge, Massachusetts, Edwards has pioneered new food and sensorial innovations, such as edible packaging, breathable food, and digital scent.  


Stephen Lesavich
(Ph.D. CS ’91), Kenosha, Wis., founder of Lesavich High-Tech Law Group, S.C., has joined The Expert Network, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. He was chosen as a Distinguished Lawyer based on peer reviews and ratings, dozens of recognitions, and accomplishments achieved throughout his career.

Brent Lipschultz
(LAW ’91), Rye Brook, N.Y., joined PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a partner in its private company/Personal Financial Services practice group. He was also elected to his third term on the executive board of the New York branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

James Egerton
(M.B.A. ’92), Glen Ellyn, Ill., chief executive officer and founder of Business on the Board, wrote the book Business on the Board: How the World’s Greatest Game Can Build Better Leaders, which was published in September. The book centers on business strategies and tactics derived from chess.

Odin Jurkowski
(STH ’92, M.S. TCID ’97), Warrensburg, Mo., is associate dean for graduate education in the College of Education at the University of Central Missouri.  

John Sennett
(M.S. CS ’92), Schaumburg, Ill., co-authored the murder mystery The 5th Evangelist, which will be published this fall.

Nader Enayati
(M.S. CHE ’93, Ph.D. ’00), Chicago, co-authored the book Energy: Sources, Utilization, Legislation, Sustainability, Illinois as Model State. The 800-page work presents a number of topics, including various kinds of energy sources, ways to convert energy for end use, and better use of energy toward conservation.

Tor Hoerman
(LAW ’95), Edwardsville, Ill., the court appointed co-lead on two multidistrict litigations, recently negotiated the settlement of two major product-liability cases: a $2.4 billion settlement with Takeda, the manufacturer of the diabetes drug Actos, and a $650 million settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of the blood thinner Pradaxa.

Nathan Ballou

Nathan Ballou
(ME ’96), Virginia Beach, Va., was relieved as commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 83 in February during an airborne change of command ceremony while deployed on the USS Harry S. Truman. In recognition of the squadron’s success with Ballou at the helm, the Rampagers were honored with the Blue “M” Award for medical readiness, the Retention Excellence Award, the Maintenance Excellence Award (“Golden Wrench”), and the Battle Effectiveness Award. Under his leadership the squadron extended its safety record to 22 years and 88,000 flight hours with zero Class A mishaps.

John P. Heil
(LAW ’96), Peoria, Ill., a partner in Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C., was appointed to a one-year term on the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel board of directors.

Craig Preuss
(M.S. EE ’96), Leawood, Kansas, is secretary of a new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power and Energy Society committee focused on communications and cybersecurity. He has been highly involved in IEEE activities since 2004, most recently as a subcommittee chair responsible for numerous smart grid standards to more effectively advance the utility automation industry. Preuss has extensive experience in substation integration and automation, including system planning and design, communications, networking, cybersecurity, programming, testing, and installation.

Francisco Villalta
(LAW ’96), Woodside, Calif., joined Clarizen as general counsel and head of corporate development.

Vanita Misquita

Vanita Misquita
(Ph.D. PSYC ’98), Paris, France, director of overseas programs for Illinois Tech, recently co-hosted a dinner reunion for the nearly 60 graduate students newly enrolled in one of the program’s partner schools, Universidad Poitecnica de Madrid. Also in attendance were 24 UPM alumni in the Chicago area, Illinois Tech’s School of Applied Technology Dean C. Robert Carlson, and UPM U.S. delegate Jose Paez.

Holly Gordon
(LAW ’99), San Francisco, joined Bay Area Rapid Transit as sustainability group manager.  


Thomas Field
(LAW ’01, M.B.A. ’02), Chicago, is a partner at Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP, where he heads the family law practice group.

Victor Perez
(LAW ’01), Tiffin, Ohio, a child protection attorney for the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services, was appointed as District 5 representative on the Ohio State Bar Association board of governors.

Neel Patel
(M.S. EE ’03), Glenview, Ill., celebrated 10 years with his employer, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. He and his wife, Daxa, welcomed son Deven into the world in June.

Melissa Ventrone
(LAW ’03), Chicago, joined Thompson Coburn LLP as partner and chair of the privacy/data use and security practice group.

Charles Fortin
(ARCH ’04), New South Wales, Australia, is managing director at Collard Maxwell Architects.

Carson Block
(LAW ’05), San Francisco, founder of the equity research firm Muddy Waters Research, began Muddy Waters Capital LLC, a hedge fund with $110.8 million under management, and serves as the managing member.

Yesenia Villasenor-Rodriguez
(LAW ’05, M.S. EM ’06), Chicago, joined Exelon Corporation as assistant general counsel in its environmental health and safety practice group. She was selected as a 2016 “Top Lawyers Under 40” by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Robin Chaurasiya
(PPPS ’06, PSYC ’06), Mumbai, India, was a top 10 finalist for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, sponsored by the Varkey Foundation. She co-founded Kranti, a non-governmental organization that empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas to become agents of social change.

Sandra McCurdy (née Dase)
(M.A.S. BIOL ’06), Decatur, Ill., microbiology lab manager at Tate & Lyle, became certified as a Registered Microbiologist in Food Safety and Quality Microbiology in June, and is a part of the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.

Colleen Platt
(LAW ’06, M.A.S. BIOL ’06), Reno, Nev., opened her own law practice after a career with the Office of the Nevada Attorney. She specializes in administrative law and sits as general counsel to select Nevada licensing boards and state agencies. Platt has four children.

Andrew Baker
(LAW ’07), Oak Park, Ill., joined Janders Dean as the legal transformation practice group leader. He provides advisory services to private practice law firms and corporate legal departments centered on enhancing the delivery, receipt, and management of legal services.

Naomi Calmatuianu (née Heler)
(CE ’08), Chicago, was voted onto the 2016–17 board of directors for the Association of Subcontractors and Affiliates Chicago, a nonprofit trade association representing the subcontracting industry in the Chicago area.

Charles J. Carter
(Ph.D. ’09), Downers Grove, Ill., has been named president of the American Institute of Steel Construction.


Omer Onar
(Ph.D. EE ’10), Knoxville, Tenn., is an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow and member of the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He works on wireless power transfer systems and received the 2016 Distinguished Achievement Team Award from the Vehicle Technologies Office. Onar is also general chair of the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo, which will be held in June 2017 in Chicago.

Rebecca Vieyra

Rebecca Vieyra
(M.A.S. SED ’10), Washington, D.C., completed a year at NASA as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, and now works at the American Association of Physics Teachers as the organization’s first K–12 program manager. She and her husband co-founded Vieyra Software, a smart-phone sensor app company.

Kathryn Weissman
(CE ’10), Chicago, is a project manager for the U.S. General Services Administration. She is also a member of Illinois Tech’s Young Alumni Council.

Teresa Clark
(LAW ’11, M.P.A. ’13), Baltimore, joined the U.S. Social Security Administration as an attorney advisor at its headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland.

Pawel Drapala
(Ph.D. CHE ’11), Providence, R.I., develops and manufactures immuno-oncology therapeutics for improving the lives of patients with cancer.

Joseph Morris
(LAW ’12), Louisville, Ky., is a registered patent attorney in the Intellectual Property & Technology Service Group of Stites & Harbison, PLLC.

Rami Asfahani
(M.A.S. STE ’13), Chicago, has been working as a structural engineer for the past three years and developed the app Bridge Info. Found in the Apple Store, it provides information for any bridge in the United States and integrates with Google Maps and Apple Maps. The app can also prompt news related to the bridge engineering industry and is updated automatically.

Misty I. Gamino
(LAW ’13), Chicago, family law litigator with The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, received the 2016 Attorney of the Year award as voted by peers in the legal community.

Kunoor Ojha
(PS, PSYC ’13), Wheeling, Ill., served as national campus and student organizing director for the Hillary for America campaign. Previously she was national student organizing director for the Bernie 2016 campaign.

Utsav Gandhi
(EMGT ’14), Chicago, is program manager for the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.  

Andrea Occhipinti
(ME ’14), Lake in the Hills, Ill., recently graduated from flight school at Whiting Field Naval Air Station along with his twin, Matteo. Both are U.S. Marine Corps lieutenants.

Scott Slone
(MSE ’14), Champaign, Ill., is enrolled in the materials science and engineering Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Andrew Cohen
(M.A.S. MCHM ’16), Neshanic Station, N.J., is employed in new product and process development at Roche Diagnostics. He worked on the first Zika Investigation Use Assay blood test screening for blood donations. For use with Roche’s cobas 6800/8800 Systems, the test is a qualitative in vitro nucleic acid screening test for the direct detection of Zika virus RNA in plasma specimens from individual human blood donors.