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Lewis honors four leaders at December Commencement

Lewis honors religious, educational, philanthropic and business leaders at December Commencement

Published: December 17, 2012.

Lewis University awarded four honorary degrees at the Winter Commencement Ceremonies in December, recognizing the achievements of Reverend Donald Senior, C.P., President of the Catholic Theological Union; Siham Ibrahim, D.M., Vice President and CFO, Helander Metal Spinning Corporation; Gerald W. Shea, Senior Principal of Shea, Rogal & Associates; and Donald G. Lubin, Partner, SNR Denton. Shea and Lubin were honored at the Commencement Ceremony for Graduate Students on Saturday, December 15. And, on Sunday, December 16, at the Ceremony for Undergraduates, honorary degrees were presented to Reverend Senior and Dr. Ibrahim.

Lewis University graduated 316 students during Saturday’s Graduate Degree Ceremony and 477 undergraduates during Sunday’s ceremony. The Graduate Degree Ceremony began at 10 a.m. Saturday and was followed by the President’s Reception for Graduates and Guests, hosted by Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President. Cathy Ayers, Ph.D., professor of communications, presented the Faculty Address at the Graduate Ceremony.

Sunday’s events began with the Baccalaureate Mass at 9 a.m. in the Field House, celebrated by Reverend Donald Senior, C.P., president of the Catholic Theological Union, and Reverend Daniel Torsen, CPPS, University Chaplain, and was followed by a continental breakfast for graduates and guests and finally the Undergraduate Degree Ceremony at 11:30 a.m. At the Undergraduate Ceremony, Chelsie Peters presented the Lasallian Student Address and Ashley Ellis was awarded the Father Aquinas Colgan Award.

Mr. Gerald W. Shea A well-respected civic leader, Gerald W. Shea is a successful attorney and influential public servant who served the State of Illinois as a member of the House of Representatives for five consecutive terms, beginning in 1966, including two terms as Assistant Minority Leader and one term as Majority Leader. Upon leaving the Illinois General Assembly, Shea began a governmental consulting firm. He is currently the senior principal of Shea, Rogal and Associates, located in LaGrange, Ill.

Throughout his long career in law and politics, Shea has emphasized the importance of both education and integrity in one’s personal and professional activities, values he first learned from members of his family. Born in Oak Park, Ill., Shea attended Catholic schools and earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law. He learned the value of quality education from his uncle, a priest who taught at Notre Dame, and his aunt, who was a teacher. He drew upon this knowledge when, in 1999, he was appointed to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois for two years, and as Board Chair for two years. As he states: “I again realized the value of an education and the importance of educating the people of our country. … Education at a reasonable cost is crucial for a productive society.”

Shea’s law career includes serving three years as Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, after which he practiced criminal defense law for many years. He also served as Administrative Officer for the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County; as Director of Research, Planning, and Development for the Circuit Court of Cook County, and as an Instructor for John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Noted for his effective leadership, Shea has chaired the Illinois Judicial Advisory Council as well as the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau. He also has served with distinction as a member of the Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission, the Board of the Regional Transportation Authority, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Transportation Study Commission, and as Illinois Secretary of State’s Law Advisory Committee.

Throughout his life, Shea has focused on honesty, integrity, and “the value of a person’s word,” a concept he learned from his grandfather, an “honest and straightforward” cattle buyer at the Chicago Stockyards. He and his wife, Joanne, who is recently deceased, were married for 52 years and together raised a daughter, Courtney. Shea’s commitment to public service, the law, and education reflects well the Lewis University Mission value of Knowledge, the result of a lifelong pursuit of learning, as well as the value of Justice in promoting sound government and social responsibility.

Donald G. Lubin A highly distinguished lawyer for more than half a century, Donald G. Lubin has provided and continues to offer expert legal and business counsel to guide numerous businesses and corporations as well as charitable, educational, civic and cultural institutions. Lubin is a partner in the international law firm SNR Denton and former Chair of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LLP, where he celebrated his 55th anniversary with the firm this past summer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lubin was raised there by parents who, as young children, immigrated to the United States. His parents were passionate about the importance of education because both of them sacrificed the opportunity to complete their own schooling to help support their respective families. Lubin earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Law degree from Harvard University.

Lubin’s exceptional legal and business acumen has served numerous clients, including the late Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s. In 1967, Lubin was elected to the McDonald’s Board of Directors and continued to serve the Board for 40 years. He also represented Kroc in the purchase of the San Diego Padres in 1974. Lubin later served on the baseball team’s Board of Directors and as a Vice President.

Lubin helped to establish the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a charitable institution providing resources and support to families of children needing medical care in 57 countries and regions, as well as grants to other nonprofit organizations and scholarships to college-bound students. Since this global charitable network was founded in 1984, he has provided leadership and continues to serve as Vice President and Director. For 18 years, Lubin also has served as Board Director for Molex, a multi-billion dollar global electronics company, which designs, develops and supplies more than 100,000 interconnect products for varied industries, such as automotive, alternative energy, military/aerospace, medical network, data/ communications and home appliance.

Noted for his remarkable effectiveness in leadership and service to his community, Lubin has been active in numerous civic, educational, health, and cultural organizations including serving as Chair of Metropolis Strategies, formerly Chicago Metropolis 2020, as a Trustee and former Chair of New Schools for Chicago, and served as an Overseer of the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences. Lubin served as Vice Chairman of Rush University Medical Center, and is a life trustee and former chair of Highland Park Hospital. An advocate for the arts, he is a former Chair and Life Trustee of Ravinia Festival Association and a Life Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Lubin has also served as Director of the Smithsonian Institution and National Museum of American History.

A member of the Lawyers Club, Commercial Club and the Civic Committee, Lubin has been recognized for his exceptional legal and business counsel, and is named to the Chicago Business Hall of Fame, to Crain’s Who’s Who in Chicago Business, Best Lawyers in America, Leading Illinois Attorneys, and Chambers USA and Chambers Global. He and his wife of 56 years, Amy, a clinical social worker, raised four children, and have eight grandchildren.

Lubin’s exemplary career in practicing law and very dedicated service to business, charitable, educational, civic, and cultural institutions reflects well the Lewis University Mission values that call for “liberal and professional education grounded in the interaction of knowledge and fidelity in the search for truth.”

Reverend Donald Senior, C.P. President of the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) since 1987, Reverend Donald Senior, C.P., an ordained priest of the Passionist Religious Congregation, has provided extraordinary leadership for 25 years,guiding CTU to become the largest Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the United States. Thousands of its graduates, mentored through the graduate school’s internationally acclaimed faculty, innovative curriculum, and service-oriented programming based in inter-faith dialogue and understanding, now serve more than 45 countries worldwide. Founded in 1968 to educate a diverse community of seminarians, lay men and women, religious sisters and brothers, Catholic Theological Union currently enrolls lay people and students from 25 religious orders and many countries throughout the world.

Led by Senior, the Catholic Theological Union is considered one of the country’s most highly regarded, innovative, and influential schools of theology and ministry, an accomplishment he attributes to “the efforts of so many colleagues and friends.” He is also a member of the CTU faculty as Professor of New Testament Studies, and frequently lectures throughout the country and internationally. He recently announced that he will retire as President in June 2013 and return to full-time teaching at CTU.

Born in Philadelphia, and raised in Louisville, Ky., Senior earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the Passionist Seminary College in Chicago and continued studies at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. He earned a Licentiate in Theology and a Doctorate in New Testament Studies, both from the University of Louvain, Belgium. In addition, while in graduate school, he served on weekends as chaplain to U.S. troops. He also has pursued additional graduate studies at Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and at Harvard University.

Along with his teaching and administrative responsibilities, Senior is a prolific and accomplished scholar, having written and edited numerous books, articles, and reviews that address a wide range of theological, scriptural, and contemporary human concerns, including: A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration; The Gospel of Matthew; The Passion of Jesus Christ; Jesus: A Gospel Portrait; Biblical and Theological Reflections on the Challenge to Peace; Economic Justice; and Loving and Dying. He also serves as the General Editor of The Bible Today and co-editor of the 22 volume international commentary series New Testament Message. Senior also serves as the General Editor of The Catholic Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 1990). As he writes: “My vocation as a Bible scholar has been a constant guiding light to me…finding inspiration and beauty in the Scriptures; nourishment for one’s own spiritual life and view of the world.”

Senior also serves as a member of numerous professional associations, including: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, The Society of Biblical Literature, Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, The Chicago Society of Biblical Research, The Catholic Theological Society of America, The International Association for Mission Studies, and Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace movement devoted to securing human rights, justice and peace.

Highly sought for his knowledge and insights, Senior also has served numerous religious and educational organizations, including: as an official representative to the Southern Baptist/ Roman Catholic Scholars Dialogue, sponsored jointly by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention; the Board of Advisors of the Auburn Center for Theological Education; The Center for the Study of Religious Life; the Board of Advisors of the International Human Rights Law Institute; and as past President of both the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada, and of the Catholic Biblical Association of America

Recognized for his extensive contributions to scholarship and education, Senior received the Jerome Award by the Catholic Library Association of America in 1994 for outstanding scholarship; and in 1996, the Bishop Loras Lane Award by the National Catholic Education Association, for his outstanding contribution to theological education. In 2001, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and reappointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Through his lifelong devotion to generously and skillfully directing, teaching and serving people in scholarship, institutions and communities, and for his exceptional stewardship of Chicago Theological Union, “educating and preparing men and women to serve God’s people throughout the world,” Senior reflects well the Lewis University Lasallian Mission values of Knowledge, Association, Fidelity, and Justice.

Dr. Siham Ibrahim A Lewis alumna, Dr. Siham Ibrahim is an accomplished business leader, an ardent advocate of higher education, and a humanitarian committed to paying it forward by reaching out to others, especially to young people in need of both care and education. Born in Lebanon, she enjoyed a Christian upbringing by parents who emphasized the values of education and self-reliance. Ibrahim immigrated to the United States in 1967, where she and her husband, Samuel, became the co-owners and operators of Helander Metal Spinning Company, a custom metal forming and fabricating service company located in Lombard, Ill. Their son, Sam, Jr., is currently President of the company. Ibrahim has served for more than 30 years as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of her family’s business, which supplies state-of-the-art metal forming and fabricating services to major Fortune 500 corporations and small businesses.

Despite the challenges of establishing a successful family-owned business while raising three children, all whom earned advanced degrees in medicine and business, Ibrahim pursued her own higher education, earning both a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration at Lewis University. She later received a Doctorate in Management in Organizational Leadership. Motivated to share the wisdom of her life experiences in business and education, Ibrahim became Owner and President of SI Business Consulting, a consulting firm designed to support both family-owned businesses, especially in terms of succession planning, and businesses owned by women. She has also authored two publications: a how-to-manual for family-owned business owners entitled Keep It in the Family: A Guide to Longevity for Your Family Business, and a booklet for high school graduates, The Dos and Don’ts of Personal Money Management. In addition, Ibrahim teaches as an Adjunct Professor for Lewis University’s College of Business and for the University of Phoenix. Ibrahim continues to pay it forward through her extensive charitable initiatives and service, primarily by “helping the needy, especially children, and helping young adults achieve their goals.” She was instrumental in building a surgical ward in Beit Shabab Hospital in Lebanon to treat victims of the civil war, while also helping to provide access to artificial limbs, food, clothing, shelter, and other supportive equipment for those in need.

Ibrahim has been especially openhearted to youth in need. As the Founder and President of the American Lebanese Christian Women Society, established in 1982, she enacted a sponsoring program to support thousands of children orphaned by Lebanon’s civil war. She also worked to secure free medical treatment for a young boy from Syria who was losing his sight. In 1994, the society was renamed as America’s Children’s Village, with a mission of helping orphaned siblings in this country to live together with family members in one place. In 1998, the agency merged with Our Children’s Homestead, a foster care and adoption agency providing integrative support services to some of the neediest children in Illinois. Many of the siblings are now able to live together in agency homes located in Crest Hill, Ill., thanks in part to Ibrahim’s purchase and donation of the land and the first of eight houses that are now serving this humanitarian project.

Inspired by the significance her parents placed on higher education as well as the important role her friends and family played in their support of her advanced education, Ibrahim has also established a scholarship for members of her church’s youth group, which provides for financial support for students’ first year of college.

Ibrahim currently serves as an Executive Advisory Board Member for Lewis University’s College of Business, and a Board Member of Holy Spirit University of Lebanon. She also was a Board Member for Montini Catholic High School for 20 years. A member of the National Association of Professional Women, she is active in Our Lady of Lebanon Church and has been a valued member of Lewis University’s President’s Advisory Council and Our Children’s Homestead of Naperville.

Ibrahim has received numerous awards, including the De La Salle Christian Brothers Lasallian Award; the Lewis University De La Salle Award; and the Montini Board of Directors Award; along with awards from the American Lebanese Christian Women Society; Our Children’s Homestead; the Phoenician Club of Chicago; the American Lebanese League; and Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church.

An exceptionally effective, dynamic and generous business leader and humanitarian committed to supporting the care, education, and aspirations of young people, Ibrahim reflects well the Lewis University Mission values of Knowledge, Association, and Wisdom.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates.

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