Reprinted from the State of the Union magazine
CHICAGO ENGINEERS’ FOUNDATION HOLDS ANNUAL AWARDS RECEPTION FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS
By William J. Nissen
On June 14, 2011, The Chicago Engineers’ Foundation (CEF) of the Union League Club held its Annual Awards Reception for 82 select engineering students and their parents and teachers. The purpose of these incentive awards is to encourage graduates of Chicago high schools to study engineering by providing them with financial assistance and recognition. In order to be selected for an award, a high school senior must be accepted to a college-level engineering program, and must also have a qualifying score on the ACT test. Those who are granted awards as high school seniors may continue to receive an award during each year of their college studies and upon graduation if they remain in good standing in their engineering programs and achieve specified grade point averages. Award winners are chosen by the CEF Awards Committee, which meets each spring to review the applications and recommend its selections for approval by the CEF board.
A highlight of the evening was a presentation by guest speaker Jeff Jozwiak, an engineer who is principal of Norcon, Inc., a Chicago construction firm that practices “green” building techniques. Norcon was the featured builder in an episode of the television show “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition,” in which the firm coordinated the rehabilitation of a home for a needy family in Chicago in five days of around the clock work involving 75 workers on the home at a time. Mr. Jozwiak showed pictures of how the show was made and how the makeover of the home was accomplished in five days. His presentation gave the students insight into the exciting possibilities of an engineering career.
Following Mr. Jozwiak’s presentation, each award winner was recognized as Awards Chairman Sid Bennett announced the name of each together with the student’s school. Each student was then presented with a check by CEF Treasurer Nancy Ross and went through a receiving line for congratulations from CEF award sponsors and board members.
The CEF’s incentive awards are made possible by the generous contributions of ULC members who contribute regularly through their Club statements. In addition, the CEF has received valuable financial support from other groups within the Club who have held events to raise funds for the CEF. The Brass Ensemble, led by John Alberts, held a Holiday Benefit Concert for the CEF last December. On June 9, 2011, the Women’s Roundtable held “Experience the Speakeasy,” a social event for all ULC members as well as for their non-member friends coordinated by Emily Moreno; the event included a silent auction for the benefit of the CEF. These events have also increased the visibility of the CEF within the ULC and beyond.
Particular thanks are due to those members of the ULC who sponsored individual awards for the students. Mr. and Mrs. Martin D. and Pat Jahn sponsored the awards for the incoming juniors and seniors as well as the college graduate award. Tom Collins sponsored two awards: the Collins Engineering Award for a freshman in civil engineering and the Collins Engineering Award for a sophomore in civil engineering. Curtis Linder and members of his family sponsored the Linder Award for mechanical engineering in honor of his late father, engineer William D. Linder. Tom Riley sponsored the Riley Award for Purdue engineering. Additional awards were sponsored by Phil Dodson, Nancy Ross and AMVET Post #66.
The incentive awards this year totaled $71,200 and were granted to 82 students. They ranged in amount from $800 for high school seniors beginning their engineering studies to the $1,500 graduating senior award. Many Chicago high schools were represented and the college engineering programs in which the students are enrolled are located throughout the United States, from Stanford in California to many at the University of Illinois and other Midwestern schools, to MIT in Massachusetts.
At the Awards Reception, CEF board members had the opportunity to spend some time speaking with the students and their parents and teachers who expressed their gratitude for the awards. One student captured the purposed of the incentive awards in a written note of thanks to the CEF: “Your support has increased my motivation to succeed in college as an acknowledgement of my hard work and future potential. Meeting the cost of my college education will be challenging for me and my family… Fortunately your moral and financial support has lessened our concern of meeting the cost of tuition for my first semester… Thank you again for believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dream.”
The ULC staff made the students and their guests welcome and treated them to a buffet dinner prepared by the Club’s culinary staff and served by the wait staff. Thanks are due to the staff members and to the CEF staff coordinator, Joe Garbin, who helped immensely with the logistics of the award selection and presentation.
William J. Nissen is President, Chicago Engineer’s Foundation
of the Union League Club