Founding Board Members

Honorary Members


Dr. Philip Anderson ‘40

Dr. Anderson is Joseph Henry Professor of Physics, Emeritus at Princeton University.  He is a condensed matter theorist, a field for which he has played the role of a major agenda setter for over 40 years.  From 1949 to 1984 he was employed by Bell Labs where he worked on a wide variety of problems in condensed matter physics.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977 (with Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John van Vleck) and the National Medal for Science in 1982.  Dr. Anderson is a graduate of Harvard University where he earned his BS, MS, and PhD.


Dr. Hamilton Smith ‘43

Dr. Hamilton Smith is the Co-Chief Scientific Officer at SGI and Scientific Director of the Synthetic Biology team at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Hamilton received the 1978 Nobel Prize for his work on the discovery of restriction enzymes, which are essential tools used in the field of recombinant DNA technology. He is widely considered one of the experts in DNA library construction and DNA manipulation techniques. Hamilton was formerly the senior director of DNA Resources at Celera Genomics. Prior to joining Celera, he joined the scientific team at The Institute for Genomic Research, a position he held after leaving the Johns Hopkins University where he was professor of molecular biology and genetics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.  He received his BA in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and his MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Theodore Gray ‘82

Mr. Gray is the author of several NYT best-selling books and apps on subjects in popular science, and the author of the BAFTA award-winning Disney Animated app. He is the founder of Touchpress, a publisher of iconic iPad apps. In another life he is a co-founder of Wolfram Research, creators of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha. He is the recipient of the 2002 Ig Nobel prize in chemistry for the utterly pointless creation of a wooden periodic table table.  He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Chemistry.


Founding Members


Prue Beidler ‘63

A former Chicago public school teacher, Prudence Beidler has done service volunteer work since she was a teenager and board volunteer work for over forty years. Among the not-for-profit organizations she has served as chairman/president are Chicago Children’s Museum , Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area, Jane Addams Hull House, the YWCA of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, the Chicago Wellesley Club, Lake Forest College Women’s Board, Market Square 2000, and The Chicago Community Trust and Lake Forest Garden Club. Additionally, she has served on the boards of the Lake County Community Foundation, the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Chicago Public Media, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest Country Day School, and the Forest Park Project. Current board service includes the LGBT Foundation of the Chicago Community Trust, of which she is co-Chair, the Mies Society at Illinois Institute of Technology and the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago. In March 2014 she was elected as a Ward 1 Alderman in Lake Forest.  At the First Presbyterian Church she is a past Elder, a lay liturgist, and co-Moderator of the Stewardship Committee.



Micah Berman ‘08

Micah Berman manages more than $100M each year to seed and scale charitable technical and humanitarian innovation at After earning a BA in Psychology at Pomona College, he began his career at Google as an engineering analyst fighting web search abuse. Micah is based in San Francisco, has hiked the soles off of more than one pair of boots, and still occasionally wears his Uni High Student Council T-shirt.


Gillian Bregman ‘01

Ms. Bregman is Senior Corporate Counsel at Cushman & Wakefield.  Previously she served as Assistant Vice President - Legal at IndCor Properties and also as Counsel at McDonald’s Corporation.  She is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BA in Political Science, Economics, and Psychology.  She has her MS in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Policy.  She also received her JD from the University of Illinois College of Law.


Nicola Bunick ‘02

Nicola Bunick currently serves as Counsel to U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. Before joining the Senator’s staff, Nicola was an Associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and a member of the firm’s Antitrust practice. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in Political Science and Russian and earned her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. Nicola is married to Peter Fahrner who is also a Uni High ‘02 alum.


Isaac Chambers ‘09

Mr. Chambers is a Business Analyst with Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy & Operations practice. He has also launched two ventures: a web development business and a mobile payments app. Mr. Chambers graduated summa cum laude from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Systems & Operations Management, and Marketing.


Matt Cho ‘97

Mr. Cho is the Principal of Cake Development Group, which is a design, build, and management firm specializing in collective mixed-use development located in downtown Urbana. Prior to founding Cake, Matt served as an Associate for Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C. for 10 years and obtained Master degrees in Architecture, Urban Planning, and Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Information Systems and Bachelors in Bioengineering from the Johns Hopkins University.


Bill Eisenstein '90

Dr. Eisenstein is the Executive Director of the Center for Resource Efficient Communities at UC-Berkeley, an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on the role of the built environment in efforts to mitigate climate change and to use water and energy more efficiently.  Prior to that, he was a staff consultant to the State of California's Delta Vision process, which contributed directly to State's landmark Delta Reform Act of 2010 that changed governance structures and planning strategies for California's most important water resource, the imperiled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  He has a doctorate in Environmental Planning and a master's in City Planning, both from UC-Berkeley.


William Fernandez ‘11

Mr. Fernandez is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, receiving Honors in History with a focus on American Law and Legislation. He is currently serving a two-year volunteer commission with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica as a Youth Development Coordinator and plans to continue his career in public service following his post. Previously, Mr. Fernandez has held positions with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, the Latino Donor Collaborative, the Chicago-based consulting firm 270 Strategies, and the White House National Economic Council.


Blaine Garst ‘74

Mr. Garst is a “Wizard at Large.”  Previously, he was Wizard of Runtimes at Apple, Inc. from 1997-2011.  Before that, he worked as Software Engineer Architect at NeXT Computer Inc.  He also served in various managerial positions at AT&T/Bell Labs.  Mr. Garst is also the founder of the The Planet Earth Society.  He graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in Economics.  He completed the requirements for an MS at UCLA while at Bell Labs.


Matt Harrington ‘00

Matt Harrington is a Development Research Specialist with the University of Illinois Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, he worked as Research Librarian for Tate & Lyle, PLC, a multinational food science company. Matt earned a BA in History from Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL, and an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Jane Hays ‘72

Ms. Hays is a life and disability insurance agent and attorney.  She is a Managing Director of The Downey Group, Inc. in Chicago and Champaign.  Her practice focuses on retirement, benefit, succession, estate and philanthropic planning. Ms. Hays is a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and of the Executive Committees of Delta Dental of Illinois and Illinois Humanities.  Ms. Hays graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature, and a JD, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Illinois.


Jeffrey Helfrich ‘99

Mr. Helfrich is a Portfolio Manager at Penn Davis McFarland, Inc.  He joined the firm from Perot Investments, the family office of the Perot family in Dallas. Mr. Helfrich began his investment career as an analyst at Janus Capital Group.  He sits on the advisory board of Hampton Preparatory, a high-performing charter school in Southwest Dallas.  Mr. Helfrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a BA in Economics and is a CFA charterholder.


Jeremy Hobson ‘99

Mr. Hobson is co-host of the nationally syndicated public radio show Here & Now on WBUR.  Before joining Here & Now, he hosted the Marketplace Morning Report, a daily business news program with an audience of more than six million.  Prior to taking the anchor chair, he served as a reporter for Marketplace Morning Report and various other public radio programs.  He also spent years as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered, Day to Day and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!  He has a BS in Journalism from Boston University.


Jim Hurst ‘96

Mr. Hurst is a Champaign lifer who graduated summa cum laude from Illinois in 2000 with his BA in Economics.  He is currently the Director of Engineering IT Shared Services, heading up an organization of 75 IT professionals serving the diverse technology needs of one of the top Engineering schools in the world, right here at the University of Illinois.  He has practiced IT for nearly 20 years, including brief stints in social service and for-profit industry before returning to the University in 2003.  Perks of his current job include a view of Uni High directly across the street from his office in the Siebel Center for Computer Science.


Asad Husain ‘97

Mr. Husain is an Executive Director of Global Acquisitions and Corporate Development at The Interpublic Group (IPG). He executes global acquisitions, restructurings and deal integrations for media agencies across the marketing services spectrum. He is also actively involved in the company's corporate venture capital investments. Mr. Husain serves as a mentor to entrepreneurs selected into the various global R/GA Accelerator programs. Prior to IPG, Mr. Husain was vice president in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, where he executed M&A, debt and equity transactions in the global media and communications sectors. He has lived and worked in the US, India and Malaysia. Mr. Husain graduated from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.


Tony Khan ‘01

Mr. Kahn currently serves as Senior Vice President, Football Technology & Analytics for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He also created and oversees the statistical research department for the Fulham Football Club.  Mr. Kahn is also the owner and Chairman of TruMedia Networks, a Boston-based engineering firm specializing in sports analytics solutions for leagues, franchises, and media partners across the sports industry.  He graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS in Finance.


Shagg Makino ‘83

Mr. Makino is retired and currently serves on the Board of Oxfam America and on the Advisory Board of Apptopia.  He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois with a BS in Computer Science and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.  Mr. Makino served as an equity analyst, Director of Research, and portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in Boston, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and London.  He later served as Head of Global Equities, managing global equity portfolios for Putnam Investments in Boston.  Mr. Makino has also taught equity investment analysis at the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University as a Senior Visiting Lecturer.


Chris Payne ‘71

Ms. Payne has remained actively connected with Uni since graduation. She has organized/hosted reunions every 5 years and has stayed connected with many alums from the 50s through the 80s worldwide.  She has served on Uni's Advancement Committee for over 8 years.. As part of this participation, she chaired or co-chaired the Uni Gala twice. As part of the Advancement Committee's work, she is currently chair of the Annual Fund. She volunteers her time to benefit the Advancement Department by developing the Guidelines for Class Agents, by helping with reunion and event planning and updating the Alumni Class List.


Tom Pickett ‘86

Mr. Pickett is Senior Counsel at McDonald’s Corporation.  Prior to McDonald’s he served in various corporate counsel roles for various Hyatt Corporation entities.  He graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Political Science and received his JD from the University of Illinois College of Law.   


Lis Pollock ‘99

Ms. Pollock is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Central District of Illinois, based in Urbana.  She graduated with honors from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 2003, and with honors from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2006.  In addition to her work as an attorney, Ms. Pollock is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the U of I and coaches the Trial Team.  She also served as Uni’s head volleyball coach from 2009 through 2014.


Dan Slichter ‘00

Dr. Slichter is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.  His research is focused on developing quantum computing and quantum simulation technologies using trapped ions and superconducting electronics.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with an AB in physics, and received his MA and PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.


Irene Ang Strohbeen ‘74

Irene Strohbeen is an independent consultant in product development, helping companies with their new product pipeline, and mentoring inventors to determine how to monetize their inventions. She had previously been Director of Product and Technology Development at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Neenah, WI. Irene graduated magna cum laude from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI with a BA in chemistry and mathematics, and received her MS in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Irene is based in the Appleton, WI area.


Robin Sugiura ‘97

Robin Sugiura, class of ‘96 and ‘97, serves as Director of Programs in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Stanford University. Her focus is enhancing the educational, professional, and personal development of postdocs and promoting diversity, as well as managing a $5 million NIH fellowship for postdoctoral career development. She has graduate degrees from Stanford and Waseda University in Tokyo and a BA in Japanese from the University of California, Berkeley. She has split her years since Uni between Japan and the SF Bay Area.


Adele Suslick (Retired Teacher)

Ms. Suslick taught English at Uni for 35 years.  Her senior debates were a rite of passage for many Uni graduates.  Suslick won the Ella Leppert Award for an Outstanding Teacher twice, in 1982 and 1993, as well as the alumni-bestowed Four Square Award for Innovative Teaching and the Makino Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.  She received her MA in English Literature and Pedagogy from Stanford University.  She graduated from UCLA with a BA in English Literature.  She also graduated from Pasadena City College as Valedictorian with an AA in English Literature.


Samantha Sutton ‘96

Samantha is the founder of Samantha Sutton, Ph.D. Life Engineering, a firm that leverages engineering processes to help clients engineer their careers, relationships, time, and other areas of her life. Samantha received her BS in Electrical Engineering from UIUC, and a PhD in Biological Engineering from MIT. She currently lives in San Francisco.


Matthew Thomas ‘97

Matthew M. Thomas is a Senior Consultant with Design Group International, helping organizations and their leaders transform to meet new challenges with innovative excellence, focusing on financial health and strategic development. After ten years in Ohio, Matt recently relocated back to Champaign-Urbana with his wife and son. Matt holds a BA in History and Classics from the University of Illinois (2001) and a Master's of Divinity from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (2004).


Adam Tiouririne ‘09

Adam Tiouririne advises organizations on crisis management and strategic communication; coaches business leaders for high-stakes public engagements; and researches language, leadership, and the media at Logos Consulting Group. He earned a BS in Economics summa cum laude from the New York University Stern School of Business, and is based in Chicago.


David Yang ‘00

David Yang is the co-founder of Fullstack Academy based in New York City.  Fullstack Academy is a rapid learning environment that trains motivated students into excellent programmers with a modern CS curriculum.  Fullstack is an alumnus of the Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley and has graduated several hundred students since its founding in 2013.  David previously worked at Gilt Groupe, RecycleBank, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM.  David earned his BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.