Joliet Junior College celebrated alumni, retirees, faculty, staff and friends at the 33rdannual Alumni Brunch on Sunday, June 1.
“The Alumni Brunch is a wonderful event that brings together alumni, retirees, staff and community members to remember JJC’s past and bring it alive again,” said Amanda Quinn, alumni relations and annual fund manager.
Among the celebrated were four award recipients: the Honorable Raymond Bolden, a retired circuit judge, and Bob Zak, radio personality, who both accepted the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; Patrick W. Asher, a retired English and World Languages professor, and Dr. Cecil Ingmire, DVM, retired veterinarian, who were named Susan H. Wood Hall of Fame Award winners.
The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is presented to those alumni who have demonstrated outstanding success in their chosen field and who have provided humanitarian service to society. This award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon alumni.
The Susan H. Wood award recognizes former faculty members, administrators or friends who have served JJC in an exceptional way.
The following are bios of the 2014 award recipients:
The Honorable Raymond Bolden, ’53, Retired Circuit Judge: Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Will County Judge Raymond A. Bolden graduated with honors from Joliet Township High School in 1951. He credits Joliet Junior College with providing him the opportunity to pursue his goal of attending college and continuing on to law school.
After graduating from JJC, Bolden served four years in the United States Air Force, and earned his law degree from University of Illinois. After practicing law for several years, he was appointed a Will County Associate Judge, a post he held with distinction for 14 years. Following his retirement from the bench, he returned to law practice, and eventually was reappointed as a Circuit Court Judge for a one-year term.
He served as president of the Joliet branch of the NAACP during the Civil Rights Movement. He and his late wife, Kathleen, worked tirelessly to combat discrimination in housing, education and employment. In 2007, he was awarded the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bolden is co-founder and Vice President of the Warren-Sharpe Community Center, which provides services to low-income youth and families on Joliet’s south side. He co-founded the Black Bar Association of Will County, and continues to mentor young black lawyers who follow in his footsteps. Bolden and his wife, Deborah, currently reside in Joliet, and have five children, 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Bob Zak, ’81, Radio Personality: Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
After receiving his associate degree in 1981 from JJC, Bob Zak continued his education at the University of St. Francis, receiving his B.A. in Communications in 1983. Zak, currently a host on the classic rock station 95.9 The River, says attending JJC was a life-changing experience.
His career spans many radio outlets, including WJOL, WCFL and WYSY in Crest Hill and WCKG, as well as marketing executive positions for Sun Publications and the Radiological Society of North America, among others. He taught broadcasting at the University of St. Francis and later served as general manager for the university’s radio station.
Zak has been honored by the City of Joliet, Big Brothers, United Way, the American Legion, University of St. Francis and the National Association of Broadcasters. Zak has lived in the area for 53 years, and currently resides in Plainfield with his wife, Christine.
Patrick W. Asher, Professor Emeritus, English and World Languages: Susan H. Wood Hall of Fame Award
Patrick Asher, a professor of English and Philosophy, began his JJC career in 1967, teaching rhetoric and philosophy.
While at JJC, he expanded the philosophy course offerings from a one-semester course in the history of philosophy to a two-semester course, a course in ethics, and a course in the perennial issues in philosophy.
He also advised the Veterans Club from 1967 through 1979, was named JJC Teacher of the year in 1988, co-advised Phi Theta Kappa from 1991 through 2000, and served as chairman of the English and World Languages Department from 1993 through 2001. He continues to teach as an adjunct professor in the English and World Languages Department.
Asher has been an active resident of the area for 47 years, as a past chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of Joliet and as a Commissioner of the Housing Authority of Joliet from 2001 to 2014. He is also a past president of JJC Council 525, American Federation of Teachers, and past vice-president of the Will County Federation of Teachers, Local 604. He and his wife Sharon currently reside in Joliet, and have two children, Jessica and Aaron.
Dr. Cecil Ingmire, DVM, Retired Veterinarian: Susan H. Wood Hall of Fame Award
Dr. Cecil Ingmire’s association with JJC began in the late 1940s, when JJC classes were still being held at the Joliet Township High School. He worked with the Students of Medical Science Club, mentoring students who were interested in veterinary medicine. Countless numbers of students observed his veterinary practice, and Ingmire also enjoyed having students ride along with him when he made calls to farms and stables, treating animals in Will and the surrounding counties.
In 1967, Ingmire was elected to the Board of Trustees of the new Joliet Junior College District 525. As a trustee, Ingmire was influential in the decision to acquire the land on which JJC’s Main Campus now sits. Ingmire also played a role in establishing the Veterinary Medical Technology Program at JJC.
Ingmire devoted almost 50 years to practicing veterinary medicine in the Joliet area, with the primary focus on food, animals and horses. From 1971 to 1988, he served as the chief veterinarian for the Chicago-Joliet Livestock marketing Center. Early in his career he served as a captain within the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.
Dr. Ingmire and his wife Mary have been married for more than 67 years and they currently reside in Orland Park. They have one son, Wayne, and three daughters, Linda Graham, Celia Fitzgerald and Jann Ingmire. They also have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
To see past winners of the Distinguished Alumni Award, visit http://www.jjc.edu/about/alumni/Pages/achievement-award.aspx.
To see past winners of the Susan H. Wood Hall of Fame Award, visit http://www.jjc.edu/about/alumni/Pages/susan-wood-award.aspx.
For more information about the JJC Alumni Relations office, visit www.jjc.edu/about/alumni.