Lewis University presented the Frank J. Lewis Philanthropists of the Year Awards at the 17th annual Presidentís Circle dinner at the Lewis main campus in Romeoville. The evening included a cocktail and hors díoeuvres reception and four-course gourmet dinner for more than 200 guests. The evening included award presentations to Philanthropist of the Year honorees Dr. Paul and Kathleen Kaiser of Joliet and Russ and Dawn Smyth of Lemont.
The President's Circle Dinner annually honors the university's top donors for their commitment to higher education and their dedication to Lewis University through financial support.
Highly dedicated to Catholic education and staunch advocates for human rights, Dr. Paul and Kathleen Kaiser have consistently demonstrated exceptional generosity in their leadership in social justice causes, benevolent support of people in need, and outstanding volunteer service in the local community and beyond.
Paul earned a bachelor of science in mathematics, a bachelorís and doctorate (Ph.D.) in mathematics, and a masterís in computer science. He began his highly distinguished teaching and administrative career at Lewis University in 1973 as an assistant professor in mathematics, and rose to the rank of tenured professor in 1982. During his 34 years at Lewis, heís held positions that include Dean of Student Services, Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Paul was chosen Teacher of the Year in 1978, received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator award in 2004, and was also the recipient of the Brother Louis Seiler Teaching Award. In recognition of his outstanding teaching career, he was shown the esteem of the Lewis educational community by being named Professor Emeritus in 2008.
Kathleen earned a bachelor of arts degree in social work and later completed a masterís degree. She has been a steadfast supporter of community organizations. Together, the proud parents of two Lewis University graduates were honored by Lewis University with the prestigious De La Salle Award in 2001. Their belief that quality, values-centered education is the key to leveling the playing field for all youth is demonstrated through their generous establishment of endowed scholarships at Lewis University in support of minorities and of women.
Extraordinary in their commitment to Catholic education, Russ and Dawn Smyth have been remarkable for their generosity and concern for those less fortunate, expressing their faith by assisting others throughout their exemplary Christian lives.
Russ very successfully completed both a bachelorís degree in accounting and a masterís degree in business administration. He began his highly accomplished career at McDonaldís Corporation in 1984, and successfully served the world-renowned fast food company in a variety of executive leadership roles for more than 20 years. He became a member of the Lewis University Board of Trustees in 2004, and has served as Chair of the Trustee Development Committee and also as a member of the Boardís Executive Committee. More recently, Russ was named the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Dawn earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing and has been a very consistent and generous volunteer at their parish, capably serving in leadership roles as President and Treasurer for the SS Cyril and Methodius Motherís Club, as well as working closely with the Ronald McDonald House charities.
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. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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