The College of Business honored the first inductees into its Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002. Each year the College will name a small number of alumni to the Hall of Fame from nominations submitted by alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. Alumni are recognized for significant career accomplishment and outstanding service to others. A committee of faculty and staff assembled by the dean chooses the honorees from those nominated. The inductees are honored on a permanent plaque in the College of Business.
Shari Buckellew of Normal, earned an M.B.A. in 2001, founded the Children's Discovery Museum, and has been executive director and board president since 1996. The museum is moving this year from its Bloomington location to a new building in downtown Normal. Buckellew earned a bachelor's degree in accounting, summa cum laude, from Eastern Illinois University , and she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Her leadership has been acknowledged by awards including Outstanding M.B.A. Student, Women of Distinction Award in creative arts and entertainment, Leadership Illinois, and nomination for an Athena Award. She has served on boards and committees including Illinois Association of Museums, Voices for Illinois Children, McLean County Chamber of Commerce, McLean County Community Compact, and St. John's Lutheran Church. Not only did she found the Children's Discovery Museum , but she spearheaded the planning, development, and fund-raising necessary to build its new state-of-the-art home.
Michael D. Richard of Downers Grove, Illinois, earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1975, and has been a member of top management for McDonald's Corporation since he was named senior vice president and treasurer five years ago. He earned his CPA designation in 1976 and was honored as a CPA exam Sells Award Winner. He also is treasurer of Ronald McDonald House Charities and McDonald's Political Action Committee.
Before joining McDonald's in 1987, Richard held the position of audit principal at Arthur Young & Co. His other professional activities include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, CPA's for the Public Interest, the National Association of Corporate Treasurers, and the Financial Executives Institute. He served on the Accounting Principles Committee for the Illinois CPA Society. He serves on the College of Business Advisory Council.
John Rigas of River Forest, Illinois, earned a bachelor's degree with accounting and business administration majors and a minor in economics in 1981, and is president and 50 percent owner of Microsystems. Microsystems delivers products that help companies create and manage documents, and its clients include more than half of the top 100 law firms in the United States. Rigas earned his CPA designation in 1981, and earned a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1984. He became a licensed attorney in Illinois that same year.
Since working at Price Waterhouse from 1984-88, his career has focused on technology as he has headed diverse organizations that he developed and made profitable. His SysDraw Software Company, which he purchased in 1992, was sold in 1997 to Visio, now a division of Microsoft. Rigas has demonstrated his commitment to Illinois State University as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors and co-chair of the Redefining “normal ” comprehensive campaign. He has contributed to his community as a trustee to the Village Board of River Forest and chairman of the Finance Committee, member of the River Forest Service Club, member of the West Suburban Hospital Foundation, and member of the Board of Education of Oak Park and River Forest High School. He is a former member of the Accounting Department Professional Advisory Council.
Jerry Wirth, earned a bachelor's degree in 1988 with a major in finance and a minor in international business, and is owner of R.B. Management, Ltd. After graduation he joined Caterpillar's corporate treasury department, and in 1992 he joined the Peace Corps as part of the historic first group to serve in the former Soviet Union. He was sent to Estonia, not speaking a word of Estonian, to put his financial background to use. He learned to speak Estonian fluently and helped Estonians develop various enterprises.
In 1992, Pepsico recruited Wirth to go to neighboring Latvia, where he turned around their struggling business. Since then, he has started businesses related to real estate, manufacturing, shopping centers, a hotel, and conversion of factories to lofts. His management business provides financial and management services to his companies and outside clients. He is vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia and he supports the Salvation Army and other charities.
Kenneth J. Zika of Dunlap, Illinois, earned a bachelor's in accounting in 1969 and an M.S. in accounting in 1970, and retired in 2002 as corporate controller for Caterpillar, Inc. In that position, he was responsible for the corporation's financial control, processes, expertise, and reports and analyses, including internal, shareholder, and Securities and Exchange Commission reporting. In addition, he was responsible for corporate methodologies, processes, and expertise for decision support in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, product profitability, enterprise sourcing, market access, and make/buy decisions. Zika joined Caterpillar in 1979 after positions at Price Waterhouse and on the Illinois State University accounting faculty.
Other education included the Stanford Executive Program and the Financial Management Program, both at Stanford University. Zika is trustee emeritus of the Preferred Group of Mutual Funds. He serves on the boards of Midstate College and St. Joseph 's Home of Peoria. He is treasurer for the Cursillo/TEC Steering Committee, and on the Finance Committee of the American Red Cross, Central Illinois Chapter. In addition, he is a part-time instructor in the M.B.A. program and in finance at Bradley University. He is a former member of the College of Business Advisory Council.