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Northwestern College Announces 2015 Commencement Speaker: IL State Representative John Anthony

Northwestern College President Lawrence Schumacher announced that the 2015 Commencement Speaker for Northwestern College’s June 19th Ceremony will be Illinois State Representative John Anthony of the 75th Legislative District. A Police Officer/Sheriff’s Deputy by trade, Rep. Anthony served and protected the public for 7 years before stepping up to seek an appointment to fill a vacancy when his state representative resigned. Since August of 2013 when he was first appointed, he has demonstrated his passion for serving the public in yet another way – by making laws rather than enforcing them as he did as a police officer. Rep. Anthony’s personal story – growing up in the streets of Chicago without parents, and at times without a home – is sure to provide an inspirational message to the College’s 2015 graduates about positive thinking, role models, determination, and faith. No goal is beyond anyone’s reach, despite mounting odds!

This year’s Northwestern College Commencement Ceremony will take place on Friday, June 19th at The Arie Crown Theater in Chicago at McCormick Place, located at 2301 South Lake Shore Drive. The Ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m. and include approximately 300 graduates. In the past, commencement ceremonies have yielded nearly 4,000 attendees in support of the graduation class.

Rep. Anthony, 39, currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois and represents the far southwest suburbs, including communities such as Plano, Morris, Coal City, Minooka, Oswego, Marseilles, Braidwood, and Channahon. Ironically, although he now represents several rural communities, Rep. Anthony was born in Chicago where he remained through the age of 23. His mom was a drug addict and is now an ordained minister; his father he never knew. He grew up in and around Cabrini Green, a public housing project that was plagued with gang violence and neglect, a housing project that became a symbol across America of the problems with public housing. Without a real “home” or traditional American “family,” it was Rep. Anthony’s drive and determination that led to his graduation from Chicago Vocational High School. He overcame tremendous obstacles and learned later in his teens that “You Matter;” those two words had been told to him when he was 17 years old, but took a while for him to believe or accept.

Rep. Anthony graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Christian Bible College & Seminary out of Missouri, although he first started his degree at a Bible Institute located in Chicago. He is married to his wife Deborah, and they have four children, ages 12, 11, 8 and 2.

While Rep. Anthony is currently a full-time Legislator, he is a law enforcement officer by trade. In 2005 he joined the Champaign Police Department as a law enforcement officer, and in 2008 he joined the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department where he served as a Deputy Sheriff. He was awarded the Ervin H. Warren “Cop of the Future” award given to police officers who show strong leadership under duress and maintain integrity and character.

Continuing his desire to serve the local community, John and his wife Deborah co-founded a non-for-profit charity organization called YARN Foundation, Inc.. YARN, which stands for Young And Restoring Nations, seeks to strengthen families and help children by providing educational programs and scholarships. It is a multicultural community development based organization which was established to help, guide and care for youth and families of today by offering constructive, structured and rewarding programs and activities for children of all ages. Its mission is to Re-Store the fiber of the community, Re-Educate the family, and Re-Empower the youth of today by revolutionizing their mindsets and atmospheres to create stronger unity in their community. YARN seeks to help children to identify who they are, and to realize that their lives matter!

Rep. Anthony will give the keynote address at Northwestern College’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony on June 19. The College has well over a century of history in the Chicagoland area, having been established in 1902. It was purchased by the Schumacher Family in 1958 and has grown from one campus in Chicago serving a handful of students in accounting and stenography, to two campuses (Oak Lawn and Chicago-Jefferson Park) in addition to NC Online, serving approximately 1,500 students and maintaining several dozen areas of study. In 2010 Northwestern College opened its Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing, named for President Lawrence Schumacher’s mother who purchased the College in 1958.

“We are excited that State Representative Anthony has agreed to provide the Commencement Address for our Class of 2015!” commented President Schumacher. “His story is an amazing one. Growing up in Chicago where he was dealt a hand of cards that could have resulted in him becoming a “statistic,” he instead rose up and overcame enormous challenges. He graduated from both high school and college, and commenced a law enforcement career which eventually matured into a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives! Representative Anthony is sure to inspire all of our graduates!”

Northwestern College's 2015 Commencement Speaker, Illinois State Representative John Anthony - 75th District.

Northwestern College’s 2015 Commencement Speaker, Illinois State Representative John Anthony – 75th District.