Fall Commencement Speakers
Undergraduate Commencement: Cathy Adduci
Currently the President of the Village of River Forest, Cathy Adduci has a long résumé of local political involvement and international business experience. She served as a Village Trustee from 2009-2013, was the chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, and a member of the Economic Development and Legislative Affairs committee. She previously served as River Forest Village Clerk from 2007-2009. Adduci, a longtime resident of River Forest, is a retired vice president and senior executive for Unisys Corporation, an international technology firm.
She serves on several professional, community and civic boards, including the Board of Directors for the Belmont Bank and Trust Company. She is a member on the Board of Directors for the Civic Federation, a non-profit organization working with government officials to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Northern Illinois University Business School. In addition, Adduci is on the Board of Trustees for the Erikson Institute, a graduate school focusing on early childhood development. She supports efforts of many local charitable organizations including Sarah’s Inn, the OPRF’s Community of Congregations Holiday Food and Gift Basket, After School Matters and Amity.
Graduate Commencement: Dr. Robert K. Wilhite
A member of Concordia-Chicago’s faculty since 2007, Dr. Robert K. Wilhite teaches classes on instructional leadership, supervision, school improvement, school change processes and ethics and legal issues for school districts. He conducts research on school improvement projects, leadership methods and styles, literacy and reading and curriculum and instruction. He has facilitated training programs for the Midwest Principal Center and consulted with school districts across northern Illinois.
Wilhite has made extensive presentations at conferences across the country in the areas of intervention programs for homeless students, adaptive leadership styles for the 21st century and technology integration and curriculum development. Wilhite is chair of CUC’s Department of Educational Leadership and serves on several faculty committees in the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs. Wilhite is a member of the Illinois Licensure Board review committee for principal preparation programs, of the Confederation of School Administrators (COSA) in Oregon, and most recently is an advisor to the Concordia University Chicago Presidential Search Committee.
Doctor of Laws Recipient: James M. Kilts, MBA
James M. Kilts is a founding partner of Centerview Capital, a private equity firm which opened in 2006. Previously, Kilts had served as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Gillette Company from 2001 until it merged with Procter & Gamble in October 2005; at that time he became Vice Chairman of the Board of The Procter & Gamble Company. In January 1998, Kilts joined the Nabisco Company and served as President and Chief Executive Officer until its acquisition by the Philip Morris Companies (now Altria) in December 2000. Before joining Nabisco, he had headed the $27 billion Worldwide Food group of Philip Morris, where he was an Executive Vice President from 1994 to 1997. In that role, he was responsible for integrating Kraft and General Foods worldwide and for shaping the group’s domestic and international strategy and plans.
Kilts previously had served as President of Kraft USA and Oscar Mayer. He also had been Senior Vice President of strategy and development; President of Kraft Limited in Canada; and Senior Vice President of Kraft International. He began his career with General Foods Corporation in 1970. A graduate of Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, Kilts earned a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago. Kilts is a member of the Board of Directors of MetLife, MeadWestvaco, and Pfizer, as well as Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Nielsen Holdings N.V., Chairman of The Nielsen Company B.V. Supervisory Board and Del Monte Corporation. He also is a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College. He is a Life Trustee of Knox College, serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Chicagoand is also a member of the Advisory Council of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is a past Chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Kilts is also the author of the 2007 book, Doing What Matters, which reflects on his business experiences.
Alumna of the Year Recipient: Carol Fredericks Ebeling ’63, MSEd, EdS
Carol Fredericks Ebeling, Concordia Teacher’s College-River Forest Class of 1963, is an author and educator with two books that remain in print: The Odyssey of a Pain-filled Life, 2000, and What to Say: 52 Positive Ways to Show Christian Sympathy to Those Who Grieve, 2002. The former book describes her health challenges with myasthenia gravis andarachnoiditis (chronic pain). Ebeling was chosen as the first Executive Director of Hospice of Bloomington, IN. In ten years (1986-1996) she guided its growth from a one-person staff (herself) to a nationally accredited department in a large regional hospital with a paid staff of 23, over 150 volunteers and cared for hundreds of hospice-eligible patients in six counties.
Her background in hospice work and passion for children and families is so highly respected that she receives urgent calls from pastors and Lutheran school principals to help navigate issues in a group facing a death, a tragic event or a terminal illness. Ebeling also was elected to the LCMS’s Indiana District Board of Youth Ministry from 1975-1984, and served as its chair. She is a member of the Indiana District Critical Incidence Response Team and makes presentations across synod on topics related to grief and chronic pain.
In addition, Ebeling was elected to three consecutive three-year terms on Synod’s Board for Parish Services (1986-1995), her last six years serving as chair. She completed her undergraduate studies in three years and immediately began her first call as a teacher at Zion Lutheran in Decatur, IN. In 1969, the family moved to Bloomington, IN, where she supervised student teachers while earning an MSEd in 1980 and an EdS in counseling in 1984 from Indiana University. Carol, with her family, has been a member of Faith Lutheran Church, Bloomington, IN, since 1969. She has been a Sunday school teacher for 44 years, including teaching a class for two-year-olds and parents for the past 17 years. Carol and Dave are parents of two children. Their two oldest granddaughters, Hannah and Rachel Schaefer, are currently both Lutheran education majors at CUC.