ICCTA Honorary Membership

2004 Recipient

Mary Karasek
Morton College

Many people donate time and money to special causes, but few choose community service as their life's work. Mary Karasek attributes her activism to Morton College, where she gained leadership skills and the self-confidence that she could make a difference.

Morton College also offered her the opportunity to develop and promote her interest in women's causes. As sophomore class president during World War II, she delivered a commencement address entitled "Hats Off to the American Woman."

Mary Karasek
Later, as a member of the local PTA and the Morton High School Board, she successfully championed a budget to establish a women's athletics program.

Karasek's election as a Morton College trustee in 1976 marked the first time that voters had chosen a woman – and a Morton graduate – for the board. During her 25 years as a trustee, she set the standard for effective leadership as chair of ICCTA's West Suburban Region, as Morton's delegate to the ICCTA Board of Representatives, and as a member of the association's Awards, Nominating, and Government Relations committees. In addition, she holds the distinction of being the first and only woman to earn three ICCTA Trustee Education Awards for participation in professional development activities.

Although now retired from the Morton board, Karasek continues her civic commitment as the elected city treasurer of Berwyn, a post she has held since 1985. In a fitting tribute, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution in 1981 commending her for her volunteerism on behalf of education and her community. In 1991, the Trustees Association followed suit by naming her the recipient of its 1991 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Morton board chair Marcelo Rios notes that "No one can question Mary's dedication to her community. Because of her outstanding service to ICCTA over the years and her example of strong and committed service to her community, Mary has earned recognition by ICCTA."