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Virgin Hotels Promotes Kendall Alum to National Post Growing company named Owen Deignan Director of Food & Beverage Operations

Owen Deignan, Kendall College at National Louis University alum and Director of Food & Beverage Operations for Virgin Hotels.

Virgin Hotels, a hotel brand owned by noted business person Sir Richard Branson, has promoted Owen Deignan,  a Kendall College at National Louis University alum, as the Director of Food & Beverage Operations for the growing company.

Deignan will be responsible for the food and beverage operations of all Virgin Hotels, including the Virgin Hotels San Francisco, opening in 2019.

Deignan earned his AAS in Culinary Arts at Kendall and has worked with a number of food and beverage visionaries. He brings more than two decades of experience to his new post.

Virgin Hotels released a statement which said Deignan will work closely with the senior leadership team to develop and execute Virgin’s strategic plan to drive growth and profitability in the culinary space, largely focusing on the evolution of the Commons Club concept and developing individual dining destinations in future Virgin Hotels.

Jay Wetzel, Vice President of Virgin Hotels Food & Beverage, remarked, “Owen was instrumental in the success of Commons Club and crafting the seasonal strategy for Cerise at Virgin Hotels Chicago, which has seen unparalleled success this year. In addition, Owen has proved that strong leadership skills, pinpoint focus and comradery are the key ingredients in building a great team.”

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Alum Lamont Robinson Jr. Elected to Illinois House He obtained his MBA from National Louis, opened a small business

Lamont Robinson Jr.

NLU alum Lamont Robinson Jr. won election to the Illinois House of Representatives, 5th District.

National Louis University alum Lamont Robinson Jr., who earned his MBA  in 2012,  won election to the Illinois House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 election. He’ll represent Illinois’ 5th District, a long, narrow swath that runs from the Near North Side south to 79th Street on the South Side, largely centered around State Street and Michigan Avenue (see map). The seat became vacant when Rep. Juliana Stratton agreed to run for lieutenant governor on gubernatorial hopeful JB Pritzker’s ticket, a gamble that paid off when they won last Tuesday. Continue reading »

Alum Receives Fulbright Award To Teach English in Algeria Kennan Daoudi, M.A.T. 2015, will be helping to build cultural connections

Kennan Daoudi

Kennan Daoudi ’15, who received his Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, received a Fulbright award to teach English in Algeria.

Congratulations to National Louis University alum Kennan Daoudi, M.A.T. ’15, whose love of teaching, foreign languages and international cultures is taking him far.

Daoudi, 27, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  He will be working with local teachers in Algiers, Algeria at its polytechnic school helping Algerian university students improve their English. His mission also includes strengthening cultural connections between the U.S. and Algerian people.   Continue reading »

NLU Alum Earns NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award Darrell Williams '16 selected by Office of the Secretary of Defense for recognition of his contribution to equal opportunity

(This story was submitted by Darrell Williams and written by Marcus Johnson, public affairs specialist at Defense Information Systems Agency)

NAACP Board Members with NLU alum

NAACP Board Members pose with NLU alum Darrell Williams as he earns NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award

Darrell Williams, chief of military personnel in the DISA Operations Center, received the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award during the 109th National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National Convention in San Antonio July 17.

The award recognizes individuals who distinguish themselves by promoting the tenets of civil and human rights, equal opportunity, human relations and public service.

Williams earned the prestigious award for promoting civil rights, and was honored alongside fellow recipients from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau.

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Applause! Writing Students’, Alums’ Plays Appear on Chicago Stages Lucy Pabst's short play will appear at Skokie Theater this weekend

Lucy Pabst, a graduate of National Louis University’s M.S. in Written Communication program, will have her short play produced at the Skokie Theater.

The curtain is going up on “Frances, My Mensch,” a short play written by recent National Louis University graduate Lucy Pabst, on Friday, Aug. 17 during a play festival at the Skokie Theater. It is one of three plays written by students or graduates of the M.S. in Written Communication program to be produced recently on Chicago-area stages. Continue reading »

Alum’s Story Goes Viral, Collects $4,000 For School Kids Kimber Bermudez '16 Keeps In Touch With NLU Prof, Relies on NLU Guidance

Donations and media mentions have continued to roll in for National Louis University alum Kimberly Bermudez ’16, who was featured in the Washington Post after she talked about the poverty of her first-grade students on a July 10 flight and fellow passengers started handing her cash.

Kimber, as she is known, has since seen her story appear on CNN, BBC, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, the New York Post, Daily Mail, Huffington Post UK, Slate.com, Upworthy and radio stations and newspapers around the nation. Those outlets are in addition to the Washington Post, USA Today and the Today Show.

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Airplane Strangers Overhear Teacher, Donate Hundreds For Her Students NLU Alum Kimberly Bermudez talked about her students' poverty

Kimberly Bermudez took this photo of the cash the strangers on the plane gave her.

When NLU alum Kimberly Bermudez ’16  sat down on a Southwest Airlines flight to Florida and a friendly seatmate asked her what she did for a living, she never could have imagined what happened next.

Bermudez, who earned her Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education, told the stranger how concerned she was about her students at Chicago’s Carlos Fuentes Elementary School, according to the Washington Post, USA Today and the Today Show. The parents had so little money that they would go without to help their children, she said, but even so, some children were homeless and others lacked necessities. She said teachers at the school dug into their own
pockets to help. Continue reading »

Doctoral Grad Was in #EdTech Before it was Trending NLU Alum spent decades transforming education with technology

John SonnenbergBefore the days of hashtags, smartphones and streaming services, John Sonnenberg ’11 was an educator with a vision for how tech can transform the classroom.

“I got into this technology stuff in the early 80s before schools even had technology directors,” he said.

Sonnenberg’s talents didn’t end at modems and floppy drives. This techie’s passion for innovation matches his experience in the classroom. “I’ve done almost everything in education,” he explained. Continue reading »