COD Honors 2017 Class of Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni 2017

By Brian Kleemann

The College of DuPage Foundation recently honored seven alumni for their outstanding achievements during the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception.

Honored for their accomplishments were Roy Beaumont, Peach Carr, Patrick C. Cullinan, Dilyss Gallyot, Tom Krieglstein and Christopher Kriz. Marsela Jorgolli was honored as the Outstanding Recent Alumna, an honor given to an individual who attended the College within the last 15 years. Click here for photos from the reception.

As part of the award, each honoree meets with and nurtures the educational growth of students. For more information about the awards or to nominate someone for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, visit

Roy Beaumont, Hotel and Lodging Management, 1991
Roy Beaumont attributes many of his accomplishments and career success to College of DuPage, which has been a big part of the Beaumont family. Both of his brothers, Michael and Andrew, graduated from the College. His mother, Carolyn, worked in the campus bookstore, while his father, Ron, also a hotelier, served on the College’s hospitality advisory committee for nearly 30 years. After receiving his associate degree in science, Beaumont earned an MBA at Purdue University and worked in several capacities in the hospitality industry (Oak Brook Hills Hotel and Resort, Switzerland’s Grand Hotel Resort and Munich’s Hotel Bayerischer Hof). Joining Marriott International in 1997, he now serves as vice president of Marriott’s select brands, directing strategic planning responsibilities for more than 3,000 hotels and 10 lodging brands, including Courtyard, Residence Inn and Aloft. Beaumont serves on the Marriott advisory boards for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Wounded Warriors Family Support, as well as the Strategic Advisory Council of Purdue University’s Hotel Tourism Management School. If Beaumont’s home were 650 miles closer, he’s confident that his wife SueAnne and three young boys Braydon, Beckham and Bennett would also be involved at the College in some capacity.

“When I thought about what community colleges are, it really crystalized for me during the last 24 hours: dollar for dollar, community colleges are the best investment there is,” he said. “Community colleges are a doorway to opportunities, and College of DuPage has everything for everyone. It’s also an amazing magnet for teachers.”

Peach Carr, Radiology, 1980
One of Peach Carr’s favorite speaking topics is second chances – something the Chicago fashion designer and mentor knows a lot about. Best known for her appearances on the hit series “Project Runway” (Season 8 and All-Stars), Carr began her fashion career at age 50 with no formal training beyond the sewing skills she learned as a child in 4-H. She started her own company, Peach Carr Designs, producing clothing and handbags made in Chicago and employing women who are sole earners for their families. Carr worked for 15 years as a radiology technician after earning her associate degree from COD. While a technician, she continued to follow her passion and made clothes in her free time. After “Project Runway,” Carr focused full time on designing clothes. Carr turned her attention to charity fundraising, supporting a variety of great causes. An advisory board member for COD’s Fashion Studies Program, Carr returned to the classroom this past year to share advice, tips and encouragement with students hoping to spin their own fashion careers.

“Back then, College of DuPage was a big brown box. I told myself to just go in and see what happens,” she said. “I was scared and feared failure, but the RadTech program was fun and challenging. When I opened up the world inside that brown box, it was like a giant hug. I wasn’t just a number at COD, and it became family to me.”

Patrick C. Cullinan, D.O., Science, 1993
Patrick Cullinan lives by the creed if something is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of your ability. For starters, Cullinan took classes at COD for a year and in that time completed two years’ worth of credits. The former Marine went on to finish two bachelor’s degrees with cum laude honors at the University of Illinois and a doctorate of osteopathy at Midwestern University, graduating fourth in his class. He specialized in not one but three medical areas and was inducted as a Fellow of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine and the American College of Internists. Cullinan serves as medical director for Centene, a Fortune 500 company that provides services to government-sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. He is also a lecturer, researcher, clinical professor, mentor and father to three young children. Cullinan was part of a medical assistance team that helped more than 2,000 individuals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“COD’s values and what it stands for in the community turns out to parallel my own,” he said. “Thank you, College of DuPage. I can say nothing but great things about my experience here.”

Dilyss Gallyot, Science, 1989
As a critical care nurse, Dilyss Gallyot considered it an honor to help patients navigate life’s greatest challenges. As an educator, the COD nursing professor inspires, mentors and encourages her students to learn, grow and truly embrace the art of nursing. Gallyot began her own nursing journey at COD, where she received an associate degree in applied science, earning her nursing and advanced practice nursing degrees as well as two master’s degrees in nursing and business administration from Northern Illinois University. Gallyot joined the COD nursing faculty in 2003, helping to redesign the program curriculum, serving as nursing coordinator and developing the Medic to Licensed Practical Nursing Program for military medics transitioning to civilian careers. Twice nominated for the Adade Wheeler Woman of the Year Award, Gallyot was named COD’s 2010 Outstanding Advisor and 2014-15 Outstanding Faculty for health sciences. She volunteers at the Boys Scouts first aid camp and tutors at-risk students preparing to take state boards for nursing. Gallyot is currently in the doctoral program at Benedictine University, which focuses on leadership and values, and spent this summer on sabbatical in Kasuba, Zambia, teaching community health workers assessment skills to promote health in their community.

“I am so grateful, so humbled and so blessed,” she said. “The most influential people in my life are like angels – they are my teachers. They see more, they care more and they love more, and my sincere hope is that I lead by their example.”

Tom Krieglstein, General Studies, 2001
Tom Krieglstein came to COD last fall to be a keynote speaker and business plan judge, and to compete as the world’s fastest hugger. With help from 110 students, faculty and staff, Krieglstein attempted to break the Guinness World Record for most number of hugs by one person in one minute. The entrepreneur and internationally known keynote speaker and facilitator feels at home at COD, where his parents were both professors and where Krieglstein was honored as a Phi Theta Kappa All-USA First Team Member, an Illinois Centennial Scholar, and an Outstanding Graduate. He was also valedictorian at Aurora University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management. In his first business venture as a college student, Krieglstein sold old edition textbooks online, netting $1.5 million in sales annually by the time he graduated. Through his current company Swift Kick, Krieglstein trains college and corporate leaders to build a Culture of Connection within their organization and team. He is the co-author of the award-winning book “First Year Student to First Year Success.” He also created the Student Affairs Collective website and podcast which he sold to NASPA (National Association of Student Affairs Professionals) in 2017.

“The reason I am standing here today is because of the people around me, the people who got me from where I was to where I am,” he said. “My success is a product of the co-curricular opportunities at COD.”

Christopher Kriz, Theater and Music, 1992
Award-winning composer and theatrical sound designer Christopher Kriz hasn’t missed designing a COD production of “A Christmas Carol” since he first designed the show as a student. He returns to the College as often as possible – to design for Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and College Theater productions, to compose for the Chamber Singers or lecture to students – because he wants to give back. Working with student artists is a passion for Kriz, who designs student productions at Chicago area universities, including University of Chicago, Northwestern, Loyola, Roosevelt and many others, whenever his busy schedule allows. Winner of three Joseph Jefferson Awards for sound design and music with a total of 13 nominations, Kriz has been designing professionally for 25 years with nearly 400 productions to his credit for companies that include Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and dozens of others. Kriz attributes his success to the education and experience he received at COD, working with and learning from the many extraordinary professional ensembles and directors in residence at the McAninch Arts Center.

“Professor Lee Kesselman referred to me as a sponge when I was a student here, and that is accurate – there is so much at COD to absorb,” he said. “What made COD so wonderful were the many opportunities to engage with performers and work with the professional ensembles. It afforded me the luxury of experience I couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Marsela Jorgolli, General Studies, 2005
Amgen scientist Marsala Jorgolli uses her vast skills to develop new therapies to help people with serious illnesses. Jorgolli earned her doctorate in physics from Harvard University in 2015, one of many academic achievements for the Albanian native. Ten years earlier, while completing her associate degree at COD and preparing to transfer to the University of Chicago to pursue a bachelor’s degree, Jorgolli became the first and only COD student to receive the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship and only the second COD student to be chosen for the USA Today All-USA Academic First Team. She holds six U.S. patents and has authored many publications, including seven in selective peer-reviewed journals. Jorgolli participated in the 2014 GapSummit in Cambridge, England, the flagship event of the Global Biotech Revolution, a not-for-profit that connects biotech think tanks, industrial leaders and research pioneers with young bio-leaders of tomorrow. Jorgolli returned to COD earlier this year to participate in COD’s Women in STEM event, inspiring high school girls to aim high and make their own marks in science, technology, engineering and math.

“The biggest lesson I learned came from COD: that everything is possible,” she said. “When I first came here, I was disappointed about being at a community college. Then I met people who became my mentors and discovered the supportive community that is College of DuPage.”

Pictured: (Front, from left) Dilyss Gallyot, Marsela Jorgolli, Peach Carr; (Back, from left) Tom Krieglstein, Roy Beaumont, Christopher Kriz, Patrick Cullinan

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  2019 College of DuPage