“We are very pleased and humbled that our three
distinguished honorees have agreed to this unusual and
groundbreaking event,” Lincoln College President David Gerlach said.
“This will be an opportunity for students, guests, faculty, staff
and the public to learn from our guests. It is not often that three
such accomplished individuals are available at the same time for a
panel discussion. We consider this a part of our mission to serve
the community and want to make sure that all area residents know
they are welcome to attend.”
Participating in the leadership panel will be Zachary Fardon, the
former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Paul R.
Tetreault, director of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.; and Dara
Torres, a five-time Olympian and 12-time medalist in swimming.
The Excellence in Leadership Panel is scheduled for Friday, May 5,
beginning at 3 p.m. in the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts,
on the Lincoln College campus. Dr. Gerlach will moderate the
panel.The event is free and open to the public.
Commencement will be Saturday, May 6, at the Lincoln Center on the
Lincoln College Campus beginning at 12:30 p.m. At that event, Fardon
will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws, while Tetreault will
receive a Doctor of Fine Arts and Torres will be named a Doctor of
The student speaker will be April Wilson, a member of the Phi Theta
Kappa honor society’s All American Team. She is a Chicago native and
a 2008 graduate of Champaign Central High School. She is a single
mother and the first in her family to graduate from college.
Following graduation, she will attend Southern Illinois University
in Carbondale and hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in social work.
To be a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s All American Team,
students must “demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual
rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their
education beyond the classroom to benefit society.”
As U.S. Attorney, Fardon’s office conducted numerous significant
investigations and prosecutions involving international terrorism
and terrorism financing, public corruption, corporate fraud, violent
crime, narcotics and gangs.
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He is an outspoken campaigner against urban gun
violence and has called for federal and local authorities to “flood”
neighborhoods afflicted by rampant gang crime. Fardon has raised
concerns that social media is helping to drive “the virus of gun
play” among young people.
Tetreault is director of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., where
he has overseen efforts “to use the lens of Lincoln’s life and
legacy to spark conversations about diverse aspects of the American
experience.” Since joining Ford’s Theatre in 2004, he has focused on
enhancing the institution’s artistic programming while expanding its
mission to focus on education.
Torres is a five-time Olympian and 12-time medalist in swimming. She
is the first U.S. swimmer ever to compete in five Olympics and holds
the U.S. record in the 50-meter freestyle. She entered her first
international swimming competition at 14 and competed in her first
Olympic games in 1984.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics she became the oldest swimmer to
compete, taking home three silver medals and finishing just 1/100th
of a second behind the gold medal winner in the 50-meter freestyle.
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