Five alumni of Evanston Township High School (ETHS) received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award at an induction ceremony on Dec. 2, 2013.
Dr. Iva Carruthers (Class of 1963), the Honorable John Ferren (Class of 1955), Jeremy Piven (Class of 1983), Joseph Saunders (Class of 1963) and Dr. Eric “Astro” Teller (Class of 1988) were honored during the recognition program sponsored by the ETHS District 202 Board of Education and the ETHS Alumni Association. In addition, a new award established this year, the Superintendent’s Award, was presented to John M. Donohue (Class of 1954).
The Distinguished Alumni Award Selection Committee evaluates the nominations each year and selects the recipients. The committee is made up of students, current and former ETHS faculty and staff members, community members and alumni.
The ETHS Distinguished Alumni Award program was established to recognize and honor the outstanding accomplishments of ETHS graduates and, by celebrating these role models, to inspire today’s students to follow their own pursuits of excellence. This year’s honorees shared advice and answered questions from the senior Class of 2013 before visiting ETHS classrooms throughout the day.
About the 2013 winners:
John M. Donohue (Class of 1954) – As the first recipient of the ETHS Alumni Association’s Superintendent’s Award, Mr. Donahue was recognized for his exceptional service to ETHS.
An attorney in Evanston, Mr. Donohue was founding president of the ETHS Alumni Association and served as the only chairperson of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 13 years before stepping down from that position this year.
He is a past member of the ETHS District 202 Board of Education and served as Board president and Chairman of the ETHS Centenary Committee (1984).
Mr. Donohue’s innovations included the ETHS Authors’ Bookshelf in the high school’s Michael Library, where alumni who have published have their works displayed for student use.
He has also been very active at the McGaw YMCA and other community organizations including the sailing program at Camp Echo. In addition, he has volunteered many hours as a mentor in the Senior Studies program, and has been a “long-time friend” to ETHS.
The Superintendent’s Award was established in 2013 to recognize long and meritorious service to ETHS.
Dr. Iva Carruthers (Class of 1963) – Dr. Carruthers is General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a national interdenominational organization of African American Faith Traditions focused on social justice issues.
A noted author and educator, she is also professor emeritus and former chairperson of sociology department at Northeastern Illinois University and was founding president of Nexus Unlimited, an information and educational technology firm. She has served as a member of the White House Advisory Council on Internet “National Information Infrastructure” and received many awards.
Honorable John Ferren (Class of 1955) – Senior Judge on the District Court of Columbia Court of Appeals, Judge Ferren has a long and honored service to the legal profession and to his community. He established programs in neighborhood law offices to serve low-income communities and to provide clinical training for law students. He also served as Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia. A noted author of hundreds of articles, Judge Ferren has received national awards and recognition for his work and his ongoing commitment to civil rights.
Jeremy Piven (Class of 1983) – An award-winning actor, Mr. Piven has had major roles in television shows, including “Entourage” on HBO and “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS’s Masterpiece Classic. He won a Golden Globe Award and three consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards (“Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series”) for his portrayal of Ari Gold in “Entourage.” He has also been a lead supporter of the Piven Theatre in Evanston and has been active in many charities in Evanston, Los Angeles and around the world.
Joseph Saunders (Class of 1963) – Mr. Saunders is currently the chair of Teach for All, one of the global partner organizations of Teach for America, which works to expand educational opportunities worldwide by enlisting future leaders into education. He is the retired executive chairman of VISA, Inc. A graduate of University of Denver’s undergraduate and MBA programs, Mr. Saunders has been a major supporter of their graduate business school.
Dr. Eric “Astro” Teller (Class of 1988) – Known as “captain of moonshots” at Google, Dr. Teller runs the Google X facility where projects include a self-driving car and Google Glass (wearable computer). His work is focused on bringing science and technology into reality, including “moon shots,” which are big ideas that are developed for years. He founded Bodymedia, Inc., a wearable body-monitoring systems company, and Cerebellum Capital Inc., a hedge-fund management firm. Dr. Teller has taught at Stanford University where he graduated with a degree in computer science. He also has a masters in symbolic and heuristic computation and a dortorate. in artificial intelligence. He is the grandson of physicist Edward Teller, a key developer of the hydrogen bomb, and Gerard Debreu, a Nobel-winning economist.