University Park,
15:06 PM

Thomas V. Fuentes, Former FBI Assistant Director, was the Keynote Speaker for GSU Alumni Reception

Ailey II, the Premier Dance Company for Emerging Talent, also Set to Perform at Oct. 15 event



University Park, Ill. – President Cheryl Green celebrated Governors State University’s (GSU) distinguished alumni at a reception on Oct. 15, to honor those who have made major contributions to their fields and communities. 

The keynote address was delivered by Thomas V. Fuentes, former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director, and CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst. The Distinguished Alumni Reception was followed by a performance by the universally  renowned Ailey II Dance Company at GSU’s Center for Performing Arts.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Fuentes started his educational journey with GSU in the early days of the university, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Business Administration, and Public Service Administration in 1978. Fuentes held numerous impressive roles throughout his 29-year career with the FBI, ultimately advancing to Assistant Director. In recent years, Fuentes partnered with CNN as a Senior Law Enforcement Analyst. He now sits at the helm of his own company, Fuentes International, LLC. 

On Saturday, Fuentes discussed how GSU figured prominently in the attainment of his childhood dream to become an FBI special agent and how his experiences at GSU impacted his life. He was joined at the event by his 92-year-old father, Maurice Fuentes (BA '75), who is also a GSU alum.

Will Davis, GSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Marketing and CEO of the GSU Foundation said the annual alumni event was one of many engagements planned to help the university reconnect with its 54,000 alumni across the country.

 “We were excited to welcome our distinguished alumni – Thomas V. Fuentes – back to campus to kick off a series of events to celebrate alumni accomplishments as leaders. Fuentes and thousands of others serve as inspiration for our students, tomorrow’s leaders and trailblazers,’’ he said. “We are always overjoyed when they come back home to GSU.” 

Another highlight of the evening was a salute to six distinguished alumni, one from each of GSU’s four colleges, an Emeritus Faculty/Retiree Award and one Rising Star Award, chosen from more than 220 nominations.

Each college selected a Distinguished Alumni who graduated between 1972 and 2015, and one Rising Star who graduated between 2016 and 2021. The Distinguished Emeritus Faculty/Retiree Award recognized one GSU emeritus/retiree who continues their extraordinary commitment to their community and the university demonstrated through service and distinction.

The Distinguished Alumni award winners are:

  • The Honorable Debbie Halvorson (’01, ’03), the 1st Woman Illinois Senate Majority Leader in the Illinois State Legislature where she served for 12 years.  Halvorson earned her BOG from GSU in 2001 and her Master in Communications and Training in 2003, representing the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Dr. Patricia Robey (’94, ’97, ’03), starting as an adjunct at GSU in 2003, Dr. Robey went on to hold positions including University Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator, Associate Professor and Full Professor.  She is past Division Chair for the Division of Psychology and Counseling. Dr. Robey represents the College of Education.
  • Donnica Austin-Cathey (’98) is the first African American woman to be named President of Holy Cross Hospital, which is a part of Sinai Chicago. She began leading the hospital in 2020 at the beginning of a global pandemic. She has been named by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Executive of Color in Health Care, representing the College of Health and Human Services.
  • Phillip M. Kambic (’92), President and CEO, Riverside Healthcare. Phil began serving as Riverside Healthcare’s President and CEO in January 2006. He has held various executive and leadership roles at Riverside since 1985, including Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Phil received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Governors State University. He represents the College of Business.
  • Laurie Crosby (‘20), Executive Director, Franciscan Health Foundation, is the Rising Star Winner representing graduates who completed a degree in 2016 or later. Upon her graduation from GSU, Franciscan Health promoted her to Executive Director of their Foundation, located at the Olympia Fields Hospital.
  • Dr. Addison Woodward is Professor Emeritus of Psychology from Governors State University. His academic career spanned 34 years. He retired from GSU after 30 years, the last 23 years while the Chairperson of the Division of Psychology and Counseling. He then served 10 years on the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He received the Emeriti/Retiree Award.