ICCTA Distinguished Alumnus Award
Government programs senior professional
College of DuPage (1997)
Marija Zivanovic-Smith is a real-life example of the American dream.
When she left her native land of Serbia, little did she know that she would find the key to success at
her local community college.
Though she spoke four languages, she was not fluent in English. Nor was she or her mother able to afford
"I was 19 years old at the time," Marija says, "and it felt like I was starting all over again."
Marija Zivanovic-Smith accepts her 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award, accompanied by College of DuPage president Sunil Chand.
But thanks to the College of DuPage, she did start anew, changing her major
from molecular biology to political science, and becoming its outstanding female graduate in 1997.
Since that time, in little under 10 years, she has graduated from one of the most prestigious universities in
the county; served a congressional internship with fellow Serbian-American (and current Illinois Governor)
Rod Blagojevich; and now holds a senior policy position with the legendary "Big Blue", IBM Corporation.
Marija says that "It took a lot of hard work, constant proving of my skills and abilities, and constant work
on my English communication skills to get where I am today. But I am grateful for every minute and every experience."
For additional information on ICCTA's Distinguished
Alumnus Award, please contact
Kim Villanueva at 217-528-2858, ext. 1.
Illinois Community College Trustees Association|
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
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