Mary Elizabeth Spies Droste (ARCH ’42)

Mary Elizabeth Spies Droste—the first woman to graduate from Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture and a former member of the college’s Board of Advisors—passed away on February 14, 2021. She was 100 years old.

Droste came to the College of Architecture to study under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe after graduating from the University of Arkansas at age 17. In addition to serving on the College of Architecture’s board, she was a significant financial supporter of the College of Architecture, which included contributing to the renovation of S. R. Crown Hall. In 2014 she was the honorary chair for the first Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, along with former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Marsha Spak (LAW ’79)

Marsha Spak, who for years served as president of Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Law School Association and dedicated much of her time to helping law school graduates pass the bar exam, passed away in February at the age of 78.

In 1992 Spak received the law school’s Distinguished Service Award. When Conviser Law Center opened, the Spakateria (a cafeteria) was named in honor of Marsha and Mike Spak in recognition of their generosity to the school. 

“Marsha was a mentor to hundreds of students. A caring and devoted mother. Generous with both time and financial support of many organizations including Chicago-Kent—a place that she loved. She will be missed,” says Peter J. Birnbaum, a member of Chicago-Kent’s Board of Advisors and a friend of the family.

John Guzzardo (LAW ’04)

John Guzzardo, an alumnus and mentor within the bankruptcy program at Chicago-Kent College of Law, passed away in June at the age of 49.

A partner at HMB and chair of the firm’s Litigation Group, Guzzardo assisted Professor of Law Adrian Walters, who also serves at the director of the program in business law at Chicago-Kent, in advising students who aimed to pursue careers in bankruptcy and restructuring law.

“He frequently met with students at my request and spoke on careers panels,” Walters says of Guzzardo. “He was one of my best alumni and market contacts—always willing to help out, always cheerful, and we miss him greatly.”