Veterans Day Recognition 2021

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Join the University of Chicago in celebrating our nation’s veterans during our annual Veterans Day Recognition on November 11, 2021, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. The program will feature remarks by President Paul Alivisatos, Provost Ka Yee C. Lee, and student veterans. We are honored to host the Honorable Timothy Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County; Juan Salgado, Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago; and Rick Ament, Medical Center Director of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. 

Convenings are open to all invitees who are compliant with UChicago vaccination requirements and, because of ongoing health risks, particularly to the unvaccinated, participants are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures (masking and social distancing, etc.) appropriate to their vaccination status as advised by public health officials or to their individual vulnerabilities as advised by a medical professional. Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures. We are complying with all University guidelines on the Go Forward website and, at this time, masks are required to be worn by unvaccinated and vaccinated attendees inside International House.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance should contact International House in advance of the program at 773.753.2274 or e-mail

In-person attendance is by invite only.

Honorable Timothy Evans

Chief Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County

Timothy C. Evans serves as the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the largest of the 24 judicial circuits in Illinois and also one of the largest unified court systems in the world. More than 1 million cases are annually filed in the court, which serves Cook County’s 5.2 million residents. 

Chief Judge Evans oversees about 400 judges whom he assigns throughout the court’s 10 divisions and six geographic districts. He also oversees an annual budget of $277 million and about 2,600 employees who work in 15 non-judicial offices providing court-related services such as probation, courtroom interpreters and the supervision of children in the courthouse.

Chief Judge Evans was first elected Chief Judge in September 2001 by unanimous vote of the circuit judges. He was subsequently re-elected in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019.  In recent years, Chief Judge Evans has implemented a series of groundbreaking initiatives, including signing an order to assign public and private defense attorneys to represent arrestees while they are still in custody at the police station. He also changed the cash-bail process to state that monetary bail should be set in an amount that a defendant can afford. 

As Chief Judge, Evans has brought sweeping reforms to the court that are both innovative and compassionate. His efforts include improving pretrial services operations, opening a courthouse solely dedicated to domestic violence matters and expanding the use of courts that address mental health treatment, veterans support, drug rehabilitation and support to defendants charged with prostitution. He also opened the state’s first Restorative Justice Community Court in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, and has since opened these courts in other Chicago neighborhoods. To serve the members of the public who have court business, Chief Judge Evans has expanded child-care centers throughout the system to ensure that all court facilities have Children’s Rooms.

Throughout his career, Chief Judge Evans has advocated for equal opportunities for all, including women, minorities and the LGBTQ community. Women and minorities comprise a majority of the presiding judges who manage the court’s divisions and districts.

Various organizations have honored Chief Judge Evans with dozens of awards for judicial excellence, distinguished service and humanitarian causes. Academic scholarships have been established in his name. In 2009, he became the first judge from Illinois to receive the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts. The award is one of the most prestigious judicial honors in the country and has been presented annually since 1996 by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 2017, Chicago Lawyer magazine named Chief Judge Evans the Person of the Year.

Chief Judge Evans is a 1965 graduate of the University of Illinois. He received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1969.

Upon graduation from John Marshall, Chief Judge Evans embarked on a lifelong pursuit of public service. He entered city government in 1969 when he joined the City of Chicago’s Law Department as an assistant corporation counsel. He later joined the City of Chicago’s Department of Investigations, rising to deputy commissioner. In 1973, voters elected him to represent the 4th Ward of the City Council, a position he held for 18 years while maintaining a private law practice.

With the election of Harold Washington as mayor in 1983, Chief Judge Evans assumed the coveted post of floor leader of the City Council. He also chaired several committees, such as the Finance, Budget and Health committees.

In 1992, he ascended to the Cook County judiciary as a circuit judge. Three years later, he was appointed the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division. In 2000, he was appointed presiding judge of the Law Division, where he served until his election as Chief Judge.

Honorable William (Bill) Hooks

Presiding Judge, Veterans Treatment Court and Criminal Division Felony Court Judge, and Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Judge William H. Hooks, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel with experience that spans more than a quarter century and includes work as an intelligence officer, law school adjunct professor, prosecutor, judge advocate, civil litigator, Cook County Special State’s Attorney, and Criminal Defense Counsel, has a reputation as one of Chicago’s toughest lawyers. Hooks has defended persons and/or companies facing grand jury investigations, felonies and misdemeanors in the state and federal courts involving a myriad of charges ranging from street crimes, to a full array of white collar, blue collar and no collar matters.

Hooks Law Offices successfully advocated on behalf of lawyers, investment professionals, judges, athletes, civil rights activists, business owners, corporations, medical professionals, and others. An overwhelming number of Hooks’ clients were referred to him from other lawyers and judges. His former courtroom adversaries often recommended Hooks for their relatives, friends and even retained Hooks for themselves when trouble knocked.

Chicago Magazine featured him as one of Chicago’s “30 Tough Lawyers.” N’DIGO Magazine branded Hooks in its annual Dr. King issue, in the article, “Attorney Bill Hooks: A Lawyer’s Lawyer with a Few Things to Say.” One of his winning closing arguments is featured in ten sections of the esteemed Steins Closing Arguments.

Hooks was the first African-American president of Chicago’s Federal Bar Association, and is a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, the oldest African American Bar Association in America. He is frequently a legal commentator for radio, television, bar groups, community, and other audiences.

Judge Hooks has received a number of awards and recognitions as both a lawyer and as a judge.  As a judge some of his most recent honors have included the Law Day USA, Liberty Bell Award (2011); the Phi Alpha Delta Honorable Justice Mary McMorrow Distinguished Service to the Profession Award (2012); and the United States Marine Corps, Recruiting Command Birthday Ball Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker Award (2012).

Judge Hooks is also a statutory member of the Cook County Board’s Justice Advisory Council.  In that appointment Hooks recently organized and chaired the Steering Committee tasked with the renaming of the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in honor of Judge George N. Leighton.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Hooks to two other positions to assist the Court. He now serves on the Illinois Courts Commission, where he hears matters as a member of the court of  last resort after actions against judges and justices have been heard by the Illinois Judicial Board. He also sits as a member of the Courts' Illinois Judicial Conference on its Criminal Law and Probation Committee.

With Hooks' advocate role on a hanger and with his black judicial robe fully activated, he remains a friend of social justice and equal protection under the law.  He also remains an enemy of injustice, bias and prejudice in our civil and criminal justice systems. Judge Hooks is now assigned to the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County where he presides over felony matters. 

Juan Salgado

Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago

Chancellor Juan Salgado has focused his career on improving education and economic opportunities for residents in low-income communities.

From 2001 to 2017, he served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, where he worked to empower residents of Chicago's Southwest Side through education, citizenship, and skill-building programs that led to sustainable employment and economic stability.

As Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, he oversees Chicago's community college system, serving nearly 70,000 students across seven colleges, 75 percent of whom are Black and Latinx students.

Under his leadership, City Colleges of Chicago has seen an increase in student graduation rates to the highest level on record, an unprecedented systems-level partnership with the Chicago Public Schools, the launch of Fresh Start, a first-ever debt forgiveness program, the completion of new two major state of the art facilities, a re-energizing of fundraising for student supports, and campus specific plans focused on equity in student outcomes, among other efforts.

Chancellor Salgado is a community college graduate himself, earning an associate degree from Moraine Valley Community College, prior to earning a Bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chancellor Salgado has been nationally recognized for his work, including as a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. Among his civic commitments, he serves as a board member of the Obama Foundation.

Rick Ament

Medical Center Director, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and U.S. Air Force Veteran

Mr. Rick A. Ament was appointed Medical Center Director at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in March 2020. Prior to Jesse Brown, he served as the Director for Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita, KS. Mr. Ament is responsible for strategic leadership and operations of a complex level 1B hospital facility with approximately 3,000 employees who provide care to over 45,000 Veterans and family members. He is a Board-Certified Healthcare Executive with over 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors. Mr. Ament’s experiences include numerous CEO roles, organizational turnarounds, strategic consultations and multi-facility operations. As a consultant and operations improvement executive, he has positively impacted more than 30 hospitals. He has been the president of a tertiary hospital and the COO of a large healthcare system in Wisconsin where he led a team of six Hospital Presidents. As the Regional Vice President and Market Manager for Quorum Health Resources, he had operational responsibility for 11 hospitals. He was CEO of Bay Area Medical Center where, in 1987 he and his team were recognized nationally as Hospital Magazine’s “Turnaround Hospital of the Year”. Mr. Ament has been the recipient of the Wisconsin Regent’s Award as the ACHE Young Healthcare Executive of the Year. A proud, second generation, Air Force Veteran, Mr. Ament served six years active duty, including two years as a Medical Service Corps officer. A graduate of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Mr. Ament was commissioned a second lieutenant and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He later received his Master of Science in Hospital Administration from Central Michigan University.

Stanley (Stan) McCracken Ph.D., LCSW

Retired Lecturer and U.S. Army Veteran

Dr. McCracken is retired faculty in the University of Chicago, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.  He has forty years’ experience as a clinician, educator, and consultant.  He has written about psychiatric rehabilitation, addiction, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, aging, motivational interviewing, evidence-based practice, and staff training.  His practice interests include mental health, drug, and medical problems; aging; addressing cross-cultural/spirituality in direct practice; and veterans’ issues.  He served in the US Army from 1969-1974, as a Vietnamese linguist.  He has worked with a number of veterans’ programs including the VA, Vets Centers, Rush University Road Home Program, Urban Warriors, and Lake County Veterans and Families Service Foundation.  He is a lay service leader for the Unitarian Universalist Military Ministry at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Megan Everett

Director of Veterans Programs, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and U.S. Navy Veteran

Megan Everett, Director of the Veterans Program for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is a former Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. As Director of the Veterans Program, Megan manages a grant portfolio focused on veteran employment to include education and entrepreneurship, behavior health and wellness, and systems navigation. Megan joined the Foundation in August 2014.

Megan served on the USS JARRETT (FFG-33) as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and on the USS DENVER (LPD-9) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her last tour in the Navy was on a Personal Exchange Program to the Canadian Fleet Atlantic in Halifax, NS. Following her service in the Navy, Megan worked at a small nonprofit with adults with disabilities doing job placement and supported employment in Athens, OH. She was then the Service Learning Coordinator at Chapel Hill High School working with local and national nonprofits and community organizations in the Research Triangle area. She moved to Chicago in 2010 to work at Northwestern University at the Center for Civic Engagement and Center for Leadership. Prior to joining the McCormick Foundation, Megan was the Assistant Director at Northwestern’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the McCormick School of Engineering.

Megan serves as a Community Member on the Board of Governors for Rickover Naval Academy in Chicago Public Schools. She is an advisory board member for the Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs for the city of Chicago and on the Illinois Veterans Advisory Council. Megan is a board member for the Veterans Leadership Council in Chicago and a Political Partner for the Truman National Security Project. Megan is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the American Red Cross of Chicago. Megan received a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University receiving her commission through Naval ROTC. She has a MBA from Penn State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.