Nine Additional Alumni Earn a place in The Hall of Honor

At the 2022 Alumni Achievement Gala on Friday, Mar. 11, 9 distinguished New Trier Alumni augmented the 61 members of New Trier’s Hall of Honor


This year’s new inductees to the Alumni Hall of Honor

Whether you saunter around the halls to fill a water bottle or scramble during the busy passing period, you have most likely taken a notice to the New Trier Hall of Honor located on the second floor.

Consisting of 61 current members, the diverse group of alumni are all from one of the 120 New Trier graduating classes.

Nine additional distinguished alumni are decorating the wall, joining the 61 notable alumni of New Trier – selected from education and work experiences that make significant contributions to society

Beginning in 2011 and continuing every other year, The New Trier Educational Foundation solicits nominations for the Hall of Honor via alumni, staff, and parent emails on their website and social media. With over 130 nominations this year, the committee narrowed down the candidates through board meetings and research, explained the New Trier Director of Communications Nicole Dizon. 

For so many of [the alumni], the relationships they built at New Trier had a profound impact on their lives. We want our students to hear these different stories and imagine how their New Trier experience may help shape their future as well”

— Nicole Dizon

The qualifications to earn a place on the Hall of Honor consist of being a graduate with an outstanding career with direct and significant impacts on their field for 5 years minimum; demonstrating outstanding leadership, character, and service to the community; and school and career records that reflect the values of the New Trier motto: “to commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity,” according Dizon. 

The gala was highly anticipated, as the event was previously canceled last year due to COVID. 

“We are excited to partner with the New Trier Educational Foundation to welcome back many of our alumni honorees this year after having to postpone the event last year due to COVID. The gala honoring our honorees is one of the biggest fundraising events for the Foundation,” said Dizon.

According to the New Trier Educational Foundation, the new inductees include: alumni like John Donahoe (‘78), who served 6 years on the Nike Board of Directors before he became CEO of Nike in January 2020. Before his involvement with Nike, he was president and CEO of ServiceNow and eBay. Donahoe received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award, which recognizes excellence in management leadership. 

Film and Television actor Bruce Dern (‘54), with a career spanning from the 1960s to present, carries over 180 credited roles as a film and television actor. He was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for Coming Home in 1979 and Best Actor for Nebraska in 2014. He was also nominated for an Emmy for Big Love in 2011 and a Golden Globe for Coming Home. He continues to work into his 80s, with ten projects completed or in the works just in the past three years, like his critically acclaimed role in The Artist’s Wife in 2020. 

Justin Niebank (‘74), has been the producer or engineer on some of the biggest selling records of all time. He won two Grammys in 2009 for his work on Taylor Swift’s album Fearless, and in 2007 for Bon Jovi’s album These Days. With albums like Fearless, Defying Gravity by Keith Urban, Unstoppable by Rascal Flatts, American Saturday Night by Brad Paisley, and Kenny Chesney’s Greatest Hits in the Top 40 at the same time; Niebank is one of the most sought after engineers in the industry.

Others include top-tier bowler Fran (Feuer) Deken (‘61), Stanford professor and ethics director Deborah Rhode (‘70), CEO of WETA Sharon (Percy) Rockefeller (‘62), women’s trailblazer and one of the first women hired by an all-male Wall Street firm Nancy (Lynch) Scott (‘60), former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Richard E. Wiley (‘51), and professional musician and CEO of Guitars Over Guns Chad Bernstein (‘02). More information on these alumni’s careers and achievement can be found at the New Trier Educational Foundation website. 

The Hall of Honor is intended to be an inspiring influence on current students with the notable accomplishments of distinguished alumni. 

An interesting aspect about alumni experiences at New Trier is that they vary depending on the person, says Dizon. 

“Their experiences at New Trier are vastly different. Many candidates have acknowledged that they were not the best students or athletes, but that their New Trier education and the opportunities at the school prepared them well for the future. Also for so many of them, the relationships they built at New Trier had a profound impact on their lives. We want our students to hear these different stories and imagine how their New Trier experience may help shape their future as well.”