ICCTA Meritorious Service Award

2004 Recipients

Edward T. Duffy
Former chair
Illinois Community College Board

As chair of the Illinois Community College Board from 1999 to 2004, Ed Duffy successfully guided the system during a critical time in its history. His tenure saw the transfer of adult education governance to ICCB and the state’s commitment to replace $250 million of temporary buildings over a five-year period. As ICCB’s representative to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Duffy chaired a study that helped IBHE members understand the unique role of part-time faculty. He also worked closely with IBHE chair Philip Rock to turn back ill-advised proposals for legislative micro-management of higher education.

No stranger to the political process, Duffy previously held the posts of director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid (overseeing the nation's fifth largest public-welfare system), deputy chief of staff to former Gov. James R. Thompson, and director of the Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. He began his career in public service as a member of the Chicago Police Department and has served as an executive in the thoroughbred racing industry.

Anne Ladky
Executive director
Women Employed

In February 1973, a small group of women met to form an organization that would take action to end discrimination against women and improve working conditions in downtown Chicago. None of the founders could have envisioned the changes that would eventually be realized —nor the role Women Employed would play in bringing attention to the plight of working adults who lack access to postsecondary education in Illinois.

Under the leadership of executive director Anne Ladky, Women Employed has lobbied lawmakers and published studies on career laddering, economic self-sufficiency, and problems in Illinois’ financial aid system. In addition, as a member of Gov. Blagojevich’s executive transition team, Ladky stressed the need to help working students and those whose poverty threatens to deny them access to college. These efforts have resulted in real advances for low-income students, including the provision of financial aid for part-time and summer-school attendees. Most recently, Women Employed has worked with ICCTA to double the value of the Illinois Incentive for Access Grant, a state-funded scholarship originally born of ICCTA efforts in 1997.

Joseph J. Neely
Former vice chair
Illinois Community College Board

Joe Neely’s unwavering commitment to the Illinois community college system can been seen at both the local and state levels. As the chair of the Shawnee Community College Board of Trustees, he played a pivotal role in rejuvenating the board and the institution. His work as Shawnee’s representative to the ICCTA strengthened the state association and helped other trustees understand the special qualities of rural community colleges.

Appointed to the Illinois Community College Board in 1994, Neely was a respected and disciplined leader who served seven years as vice chair and one year as chair. His experience as a college trustee led him to take every opportunity to explain the importance of local governance and the value of trustee development programs. In addition, more than any other ICCB member, he was faithful in his attendance of ICCTA conventions. An attorney, Neely brought deliberative thinking and sound judgment to his duties as a member of two ICCB Executive Search Committees, assisting with the appointments of presidents Dr. Joseph Cipfl and Geoffrey Obrzut