The Moraine Valley Community College board said goodbye to two board members last Wednesday night.
Orland Park’s Tom Cunningham and Patrick Kennedy atteneded their final board meeting as trustees. Orland Hills’ Kim Hastings and Evergreen Park’s Michael Murphy won six-year seats on the board and will be sworn in at the May 13 meeting.
Also Student Trustee, Eamon Almiladi finished his one-year term and will be replaced by 19-year-old, Karim Awwad, who moved from Jordan to the United States in 2014.
“Coming to Moraine Valley has been a series of challenges and opportunities for the two years I have spent here so far,” Awwad said, “This is just the beginning of my journey. Moraine has changed my perspective of community colleges in general. It is a playground of opportunities.”
Cunningham finished third in the April 7 election for two seats that were claimed by Hastings and Murphy.
“Working on the board was a way I could give back and serve the taxpayers and the community,” Cunningham said upon the completion of his two-year term, “At Moraine Valley, we are always striving to be the best.”
Kennedy, who did not run after spending 12 years on the board, admits leaving is bittersweet.
“This is truly a wonderful college and a wonderful group of people to work with. In fact one of my closest friends in life, Joseph Murphy, sits here with me on the board,” he said.
Vice Chair Murphy nominated Kennedy for a trustee position in 2003 and said his decision was one well made.
“Twelve years ago, I did approach this gentleman because I have the utmost respect for him with his intelligence, his patience and his way of communicating,” Murphy said, “I was very happy 12 years ago when he accepted the position.”
Since taking on a trustee role in 2003, Kennedy also served secretary of the board from 2007-2011 and as vice chair from 2011-2015.
Kennedy was known for always working and providing really good strong advice to the board, according to the Board Chair, Sandra Wagner.
On the student trustee front, Almiladi provided advice to the board from a students’ perspective.
“He has done absolutely outstanding work here and we all really appreciate everything he has done,” Wagner said.
Wagner was not the only board member who will miss Almiladi after his one-year term as student trustee.
“Eamon is the third student trustee that I have had the opportunity to work with during my time on the board,” MVCC President Sylvia Jenkins said, “He has always done an outstanding job voicing the opinions of the students when necessary during meetings. We really appreciate the dedication he has provided.”
Almiladi thanked board members for the opportunity.
“This has been an extraordinary opportunity and it has been very humbling as well,” he said, “We have great students here at Moraine and everyone has been wonderful to work with.”
Almiladi will be heading to the University of Illinois to pursue a degree in business finance. He will be replaced by Awwad. After being named a finalist following a board review, Awwad won a student election and was sworn into office on Wednesday night by secretary, Susan Murphy.
Awwad was born in Jordan and raised in the Middle East prior to moving to the United States in 2014. The youngest of three children and a former student council member at Mashrek International School in Jordan, the new student trustee said he has a passion for politics.
Awwad is a member of Model Illinois Government and the Fast-Walk Group, a healthy living organization based on keeping fit and active that he took part in at the age of 12.
“Trustee comes from the word trust,” Awwad said, “And since students are putting their trust in me, as promised, I will offer my commitment, dedication and loyalty to the needs of my fellow students.”