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THEN and NOW Triton Celebrates 50 Years of Student Success



etter from Director of Alumni Relations

etter from Alumni Association President

Greetings Triton College Alumni,

Dear Triton College Family and Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I write to you as Triton prepares to celebrate 50 years of success as an academic institution. That success is shaped by the passion and dedication of Triton faculty, staff and leadership, both past and present, in providing a solid educational foundation for our students. Triton’s success is also shaped by a network of close to 50,000 Triton College alumni that are making an impact in their chosen fields across the globe and living the college’s mission of student success.

Let me introduce you to the ALUMNET newsletter. What better way to stay in touch with Triton College alumni than through communication from us to you? For many of us, Triton College is a place where we forged our most meaningful relationships and lifelong memories. This establishment is more than a place where you can take classes or earn a degree or certificate, but a place where you can cultivate relationships and reach your full potential.

In the first issue of ALUMNET, we reflect on Triton’s 50-year history and celebrate the milestones we’ve reached along the way. We also look to the future and explore what’s in store for Triton College, our current students and our future graduates. I invite you to share in our celebrations by reconnecting with your alma mater at this momentous time in Triton’s history. I encourage you to share your contact information with the Alumni Relations Office at so we may invite you to the exciting events we have in store throughout 2014 and 2015; so we may share your stories of success as Triton alumni; and so we may collaborate with you in supporting the success of future Triton alumni that will follow in your footsteps. I look forward to reconnecting with you and learning how your experiences at Triton College have impacted your life. Best Wishes, Lisa Scalessi Director of Alumni Relations



If you stop by campus, you’ll see that Triton has changed a lot over the years – one, being the growth of our Alumni Relations Office. We’ve made a conscious effort to reconnect with alumni through social events, self-enrichment workshops and varied outreach efforts. And with the addition of the new Alumni Association and Alumni Council, we’ll be able to bring you even more opportunities to re-engage with your alma mater. I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as your first Triton College Alumni Association president and look forward to meeting you and working with you toward our mission of contributing to the success of Triton’s students, as YOU have the ability to inspire and encourage them to achieve their goals. I encourage you to reconnect with your alma mater as Triton nears its 50th anniversary celebration. I invite you to serve as a resource to our students and to strengthen the network of Triton College alumni. With that in mind, let me be the first to welcome you back home. Best Regards, Lorenzo Webber, Class of 2010

Questions with Triton College President Patricia Granados Dr. Patricia Granados is passionate about higher education. She began her career at Triton College as an hourly employee in the Adult Basic Education Department in the mid-1980s and has never looked back. During her 30 year career with the college, she has served in a variety of capacities including director of the Nuevos Horizontes Community Center, associate vice president and vice president of Academic Affairs and Student Services before being appointed president in 2001. Dr. Granados holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish translation and business, a master's degree in education and a doctorate in adult and higher education, all from Northern Illinois University. She is an active member of a number of community and educational organizations. After serving 13 years as president of Triton College, Granados will retire from her position as of Dec. 31, 2014.

• What are the reasons why you are most proud to be the president of Triton College? I am most proud to be president and affiliated with Triton College because of the tremendous educational opportunity the institution provides to students and our district communities. I am extremely pleased to lead efforts that contribute to the lives of our students, the well-being of our communities, and ultimately, to the strength of our country.

alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 2

• What does student success mean to you? Student success is the goal of our endeavors as an institution of higher learning and it reflects the essence and substance that informs and drives programs and services as well as the development of new initiatives for the college. Student success means embracing and supporting all students in completing coursework, certificates and degrees through the achievement of their career goals. • How important do you feel the support of alumni is to the success of Triton College and its students? I think the alumni of Triton College play a critical role in supporting the college in order to fulfill our institutional mission. As students who have been beneficiaries of a quality education, the individual stories of alumni can provide encouragement to current students and the success of alumni in the workplace can foster a long lasting impression on students as well as fellow alums. The ongoing investment of alumni in the college through many different forms is significant to the viability of Triton now and into the future. • Triton is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2014-2015 academic year. What is your vision for Triton College in the next 50 years? My vision for the college revolves around student success! As a leading institution, we should ensure that every student has access to a high quality education through their program of choice at Triton and that every student experiences success along the educational journey in pursuit of their goals. • If you could choose a favorite campus event to engage with students, which would it be and why? In recent years, my office has initiated several events with a focus on student engagement. My favorite event is one that involves a diversity of students with whom I can meet and interact around their topics or areas of interest. This interaction allows me great opportunity to encourage students and support their educational success!

Introducing Triton's first Alumni Association Council Triton College recently established its first Alumni Association in the college’s history. Despite the association being in its infancy, thousands of alumni have currently been enrolled and membership continues to grow. The association, set forth by Triton’s Alumni Relations Office led by Lisa Scalessi, is dedicated to fostering and encouraging lifelong connections between Triton and its alumni. Governed by an alumni council, the group develops programs and initiatives to serve and engage alumni in the future success of Triton College. Growing the Alumni Association is of great importance to the college, as alumni are Triton’s greatest advocates and ambassadors of the college’s mission of lifelong learning and student success. Triton alumni are encouraged to reconnect with their alma mater through social events, workshops, guest speaking opportunities, advisory committee participation and employment opportunities at the college. “With the organization now established, the Alumni Association, with support from the Alumni Relations Office, plans to increasingly engage Triton College alumni,” Scalessi said. “Triton has a network of close to 50,000 graduates that we wish to reconnect with in celebration of their academic and professional successes as well as in encouraging their support of Triton’s current students.” In 2013, the Alumni Association appointed its first Alumni Council charged with providing leadership and guidance for the activities of the association. The council ’s goals for its first year were to establish bylaws, elect officers and begin to develop scholarship opportunities for students. When Vice President of the Alumni Council Andrew Hock was asked why he serves on the council, he replied, “Serving on the new Alumni Council allows me the opportunity to give back to the institution that played such an important part in my life, my law enforcement career and the goals I achieved.” Council member Dr. Kennedi Strickland-Dixon plans to contribute to the success of the Alumni Council by “ensuring that mentorship and connecting students with resources remain a critical component of outreach efforts.” For more information about the Alumni Association and the Alumni Council, visit, email or call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3960.

Meet the members of Triton College’s Alumni Council:

Lorenzo Webber Alumni Council President Noble Network of Charter Schools

Andrew Hock Alumni Council Vice President Elmwood Park Police Department

Lisa Brennan Alumni Council Secretary Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare

William Justiz Alumni Council Treasurer Triton College

Cristian Barrero IMS Engineered Products

Zee Bhimani Zee’s Apparel, LLC

Patricia Borowiak College of DuPage

Paul Feldmann Northlake Fire Protection District

Tony Quintana OnQ Protection and Investigation Services, LLC

Dr. Timothy Ricordati Elmhurst College

Jesse Rosas Proviso Township Mental Health Commission

Dr. Kennedi Strickland-Dixon Bellwood School District 88

New Health Sciences Building Begins to Take Shape Triton College’s H Building is currently at the early stages of a transformation, as scheduled renovations take place to turn the outdated building into a stateof-the-art facility conducive to students’ education. The renovations to the H Building, which will harbor Triton’s health and sciences courses, is an appropriate beginning to Triton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration to kick off in August, as a new building hasn’t been built on Triton’s campus since 1989. In addition, it reflects Triton’s growth and dedication to providing its students with a forward-thinking learning environment that complements students’ quality Triton education.

The building will house such educational programs as nursing, surgical technology, diagnostic medical sonography, nuclear medicine and ophthalmology, as well as provide classrooms for some biology and chemistry courses. And with the health industry job market consistently booming, renovations to the H Building couldn’t have come at a better time. The building will include such features as a surgical technology and dissection lab, collaborative learning spaces and a computer commons area with Wi-Fi capability. It will also be equipped with sophisticated tools and equipment used by today’s professionals in the health industry and sciences fields. The projected opening date of the building is fall 2015. alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 3

Triton College Celebrates In 1959, Triton College was just an idea. Three visionary high school superintendents LeRoy Knoeppel of Proviso, C.C. Loew of Elmwood Park and Wade Steel of Leyden met that year to discuss the possibility of working together toward a ‘junior college’ to serve their respective districts. They saw the needs of their students being unmet since an affordable college education was not available in their communities. By 1964, that idea became a reality when a referendum created Junior College District 300. Triton held its first classes at West Leyden High School in 1965, and by 1969, courses on the River Grove campus were in full operation. By 1972, another referendum passed to expand the college’s district to create the larger Community College District 504, and by 1974, Triton’s district was fully formed. Knoeppel, Loew and Steel probably never could have imagined that their idea for a “junior college” in the community would evolve into the educational institution Triton is today. Triton currently serves 25 communities with approximately 300,000 residents and enrolls a student body of more than 12,000 students each semester. Triton’s campus covers 100 acres and houses 15 classroom buildings, more than 75 specialized labs, a comprehensive library, a gymnasium, an auditorium and the Cernan Earth and Space Center. Triton offers close to 100 degree and certificate programs and approximately 850 continuing education classes each semester. As we prepare to kick off Triton’s 50th anniversary year in August 2014, we celebrate the many achievements, past and present, that helped shape Triton College into an institution dedicated to student success in our community.

Timeline 1964: Referendum creates Junior College District 300 including Proviso Township, Elmwood Park and Leyden Township. Triton College’s first board of trustees are elected including Elmore Boeger, Robert Collins, Joseph Farmar, Ralph Serpico, Wade Steel, Roy Jones and Fred Knol. Dr. Herbert Zeitlin is selected as Triton’s first president. The River Grove site selected for Triton’s future campus. 1965: First classes are held at West Leyden High School with 114 instructors and 1,200 students. Triton is chosen as the college’s name. The name is an abbreviated version of tri-town which represents the three high school districts the college initially served. 1966: Students organize a student government body, known today as the Triton College Student Association. 1969: All classes move to the facilities on the River Grove campus. The wrestling team wins the college its first trophy. 1970: Triton holds its first football game and beats Wheaton with a score of 36-15. 1971: The Triton Troupers Circus is formed. 1972: Community College District 504 is formed with the addition of Oak Park-River Forest, Riverside-Brookfield and Ridgewood high school districts. 1974: Rosemont and Pennoyer school districts are annexed to expand District 504. The Cernan Earth and Space Center is dedicated. 1975: The 100,000th student is registered. WRRG, Triton’s radio station goes on air.

alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 4

50 Years of Student Success Get Involved with Triton’s Golden Anniversary It’s coming … and before you know it, Triton College’s 50th Anniversary Celebration will be here! Join in the planning, share your Triton stories and/or donate Triton memorabilia to help prepare for the 2014 festivities. Check out Triton College’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Web page for details!

A History of Success, a Mission for the Future

of Milestones 1977: Triton’s wrestlers win first national championship. 1980: The Triton College Foundation is established. 1984: Triton celebrates its 20th anniversary. The wrestling team wins back-to-back national titles (1983 and 1984). 1987: Triton alumni face each other in the World Series (Lance Johnson of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kirby Puckett of the Minnesota Twins). 1988: Soccer team ranks fourth in the nation. 1990: Triton launches its Scholars Program. 1994: Triton celebrates its 30th anniversary. 1996: First Lady Hillary Clinton visits Triton College. 2004: Triton celebrates its 40th anniversary. 2007: Triton’s University Center opens on campus. 2009: The men’s basketball team finishes second in the nation. 2011: Triton is named a Hispanic serving institution. Students hold first Commit to Complete rally. 2013: The campus’ TEAM mentoring program (Triton Employees As Mentors) is launched. Triton named fourth safest school in the nation. First Alumni Association Council appointed. 2014: Triton celebrates its 50th anniversary.

alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 5

Where are They Now? Spotlighting Decades of Alumni Success Throughout Triton’s 50-year history, close to 50,000 graduates have earned certificates and degrees and have continued to pursue academic and career success. The achievements of Triton alumni are living proof that the college fulfills its mission of student success on a daily basis. Here we share the success stories of alumni from each decade of Triton’s history and recognize the value of a Triton College education for our students past and present. –––———– 1964-1970: Joseph Kozenczak campus events, participating in social and reunion opportunities sponsored by the Joseph R. Kozenczak has committed his life to the pursuit of justice and serving others in need. He decided to further his career in law enforcement at Triton College in 1967. Kozenczak supplemented his experience in law enforcement by earning an A.S. in police science administration, which he completed at Triton in fall 1970. He later went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from DePaul University and a master of public administration degree from Roosevelt University. He is also a proud graduate of the Reid College of Detection of Deception and the FBI Academy-126th Session. Following his education, Kozenczak went on to serve the city of Des Plaines, Ill., as a police officer and detective for close to three decades and was appointed chief of police in 1985. The highlight of his career came in 1978 when he led the 10-day investigation and arrest of John Wayne Gacy. Kozenczak currently serves as director of Northstar Investigations, a private investigation firm. He credits his Triton education as a catalyst and gateway to furthering his police career and reputation in the world of criminal justice.

Alumni Relations Office, and donating to the school. David encourages students and alumni “to stay connected to the college and utilize the network of Triton alumni that can help you pursue your future endeavors.”

––––––––––––––– 1990-2000: Linal Harris Triton College alumnus Linal Harris makes success look easy. The Bellwood native kicked off his professional career as a supervisor, which catapulted him up the corporate ladder to his current position, vice president and chief diversity officer of U.S. Cellular, after spending eight years with the company. Harris holds an Associate in Science degree from Triton College and volunteers his time at high schools encouraging students to further their education. Harris credits Triton for opening doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been available before he completed his degree. Harris also recognizes that Triton College will always be a critical component of who he is and what he is able to achieve.

1970-1980: Shawn Tyrrell —––——–——

2000-2010: Kim Leali –––––——————

Triton College inspired education as a continuing path for Shawn Tyrrell. Following receiving her associate’s degree in nursing at Triton in 1975, Tyrrell went onto Lewis University in Romeoville for her bachelor’s in nursing, and then to Loyola University in Chicago to pursue her master of Science in Nursing. And three years ago, Tyrrell received her Master of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree. “I credit Triton,” she says, “because I was able to pay my own tuition and become a nurse. … Triton was the best value for me and set me on a path to career success and growth.” Tyrrell currently serves as chief nursing officer at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. In addition to Triton affording Tyrrell the great opportunity to have a wonderful secure career, Triton influenced her learning as being a lifelong and never-ending experience. Also, Triton focused on both the art and science of nursing, which Tyrrell appreciates even today.

Kim Leali, a resident of Chicago, graduated from Triton College in 2006, with a certificate in culinary arts. Leali has recently taken on a new position as the executive sous chef assisting the chef de cuisine at Nico Osteria restaurant in Chicago. Her current role includes developing menu options, staff training and providing support to other sous chefs to do whatever is needed to ensure a successful start-up and everyday satisfaction for customers. Prior to Nico Osteria, Leali was a sous chef at The Publican Restaurant in Chicago. Leali has received the Travel+Leisure Top Ten Brunch in the Country 2011-2012 award and was recognized for Best Brunch in Chicago by “New City Magazine” (Chicago) in 2012. Leali credits Triton College for giving her the flexibility to work full-time and change her career. She also appreciated Triton’s affordable tuition which kept her academic and career goals within reach.

––––––––––––––––– 1980-1990: David King David King is president of David King & Associates, Inc., a commercial real estate firm serving metropolitan Chicago. Current clients include: Rush University Medical Center, H & R Block, Edward Jones, Weight Watchers, and many more. David attended Triton College earning his associate’s degree and completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois. He maintains that the contacts and experiences he made at Triton provided him with the foundation to pursue his interest in the commercial real estate field. David has served on the Triton College Foundation Board since 2000. From 2000 to 2012 he served as President, during which time the Foundation raised over $3.5 million dollars and awarded over 1,200 scholarships. David believes alumni are an important partner in the Foundation’s ongoing success because they have experienced Triton College firsthand and understand the value of having a degree from Triton. He asks that alumni support their alma mater by attending

––––––––––––– 2010-2014: Mario Lamar Mario Lamar is carving out his own slice of success. A Maywood resident and the ninth child out of 14 siblings, Lamar has found his path to success with the guidance of Triton College, and he is excited about what the future holds for him, as a full-time student at the historically black institution of Morehouse College in Atlanta. Growing up in Maywood, Lamar was homeschooled by his mother from kindergarten to 12th grade. With aspirations to go to college, he decided to get his GED from Malcolm X College before enrolling at Triton to pursue his associate’s degree in general studies which he completed in December 2013. Lamar is currently pursuing his bachelor’s in international studies and Spanish at Morehouse, as he gains realworld experience through an internship with Experian. Mario credits Triton for giving him ‘wings like a morning dove.’ He credits student support services at Triton as being instrumental in his transition from the community college atmosphere to the university setting.

For more information about the alumni featured here or to view other alumni success stories, visit alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 6

Presenting the Alumni Ambassador Program Did you have a rewarding Triton experience as a student? Would you like to share your experiences with prospective Triton students and community members? Interested in opportunities to support your alma mater? Join the Triton College Alumni Ambassadors!

The Admissions Office and Alumni Relations Office have partnered to develop a program to connect alumni with prospective Triton students and the community. Alumni Ambassadors are a group of alumni volunteers that assist the college and its Admissions staff with recruiting students and representing the college in the community-at-large. Alumni Ambassadors lend a unique and personal perspective to prospective students and community members with questions and inquiries that are best addressed through personal experiences and testimonies. Alumni Ambassadors are asked to make a one-year commitment during which they serve the college on three separate occasions.



Ambassadors are offered a menu of volunteer opportunities to engage including sharing testimonials in Triton videos and publications, participating in local high school visits and college fairs, serving as guest speakers and panelists at events on campus, representing Triton at community parades and events and much more. Alumni that are interested in participating in the program are encouraged to visit the Alumni Ambassador Web page at and complete the online application. For more information, call the Alumni Relations Office at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3331.

Ways Triton Alumni Can Stay Connected

1. Complete our contact form so we may stay in touch with you and celebrate your successes! The form can be found at 2. “Like” Triton College Alumni on Facebook and join the Triton College Alumni group on LinkedIn. 3. Join us for alumni events. Upcoming events are listed on the back cover of ALUMNET or at 4. Volunteer your time as an Alumni Ambassador by representing the college at community and campus events. More information can be found at

5. Support the Alumni Legacy Scholarship fund through the Triton College Foundation. Visit for more information.

For your high school junior or senior Get a jump on college. Triton College is the smart option for your high school junior or senior to get a head start on their college education this summer! At Triton, students are: • acclimated to the college atmosphere, while still having the comfort of being close to home. • taught time management and effective study skills in a college introductory course to put them on the right track. • encouraged to talk to our counselors and financial aid advisors dedicated to assisting with their educational goals. Plus, should your child choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, their credit hours are easily transferable to a four-year institution! For more information, please call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3130 or visit us at

alumnet Newsletter • Spring 2014 • Page 7

2000 Fifth Ave. River Grove, IL 60171 (708) 456-0300



ALUMNET is a publication produced for alumni of Triton College. The purpose of this publication is to keep alumni informed, involved and invested in the success of their alma mater, its students and fellow alumni. ALUMNET is produced by the Strategic Marketing and Public Relations Department and Alumni Relations Office at Triton College. Please direct all comments and questions to

TRITON COLLEGE ALUMNI OFFICE 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, IL 60171 A Building, Room A-250 (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3960


UPCOMING EVENTS Alumni Family Picnic

Alumni Athletics Day

Saturday, June 14, 2014, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Triton College Botanical Gardens (East campus)

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 Triton College campus

Join us for a family fun event of food, music, games, face painting and a chance to reconnect with fellow Triton alumni and friends. Admission is free.

Please join us as we look to bring together alumni and students in a day of fun and a little competition. Basketball and softball games will be held throughout the day. In addition, there will be activities to include the entire family. This event will feature giveaways for participants and spectators, and concessions will be available. All former coaches are also invited and encouraged to attend.

For more information or to RSVP, call the Alumni Relations Office at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3960, or email

Triton College Foundation 17th Annual Golf Outing Wednesday, June 18, 2014 White Pines Golf Club, Bensenville, Ill

For more information, call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3201.

Golden Anniversary Alumni Celebration

Golfers/Sponsors – Make your reservations now for the 17th Annual Triton College Foundation Golf Outing! The Triton College Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, will host its 17th annual golf outing on Wednesday, June 18 with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. Golfers may register as individuals for $135 per person or as a foursome for $540. A unique range of sponsorships are available including hole sponsorships ($200) and par sponsorships ($740 – includes a foursome, hole signage, recognition on promotional material and the Foundation's website) to higher-level opportunities priced from $1,000 to $10,000. All sponsorships are tax deductible. Proceeds from the annual golf outing will benefit Triton College Foundation student scholarships. To reserve a sponsorship or to register golfers, please contact the Triton College Foundation at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3758, or send an email to

50th Anniversary Kickoff Cake Cutting Ceremony Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, Noon and 6 p.m. Triton College campus Join us to kick off our year-long 50th Anniversary celebration with a cake cutting ceremony. A special cake prepared by our culinary students will be served and information, materials, and pictures will be on display to capture the progression of Triton as an instrumental organization in our community. Each ceremony will also feature the dedication of a sundial on our campus that will mark our 50 years and take us into the future. Admission is free.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 Triton College campus A semi-formal cocktail reception will be held to recognize and honor Triton College alumni. Included in the event will be the unveiling of the Triton College Alumni Wall of Fame, featuring select Triton College graduates. Hors d’oeuvres and entertainment will be provided, with a cash bar available. A special video presentation will feature the rich history of the college. For more information, call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3201.

50th Anniversary Black Tie Gala Saturday, April 25, 2015, 6 p.m. Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill Triton College is pleased to host a special, Black Tie Gala to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The gala will serve as the culmination of a year-long celebration recognizing the history and accomplishments of Triton College. Attendees will be provided a wonderful experience including a cocktail hour, delicious dinner, live music, and dancing. Whether you have been part of Triton College for many years, a newer employee, Triton College alumni, or community member, you will not want to miss the chance to celebrate with us as we close out 50 years of Triton history. Event tickets are $100 per person. Event sponsorship packages will also be available. For more information, call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3201.

For more information, call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3201.

Triton College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution.

Triton College Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2014  
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