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Northwestern College Announces 2012 Commencement Speaker: Cook County Assessor, Joseph Berrios

The 2012 Commencement Speaker for Northwestern College will be Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, with the ceremony to take place on June 15th at The Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The 2012 Commencement Speaker for Northwestern College will be Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, with the ceremony to take place on June 15th at The Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago.

[Bridgeview/Chicago-Jefferson Park/Naperville/Rosemont, IL] Northwestern College President Lawrence Schumacher announced today that the 2012 Commencement Speaker for Northwestern College’s June 15th Ceremony will be Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. It is ironic that early on in Assessor Berrios’s life he had no intention of going to college, but it was his family and friends who told him that not going to college was not an option. Undoubtedly, he attributes where he is today on the college education he received. This will be the first commencement address of Assessor Berrios’s career.

This year’s Northwestern College Commencement Ceremony will take place on Friday, June 15th at The Arie Crown Theater in Chicago at McCormick Place, located at 2301 South Lake Shore Drive. The Ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m. and include approximately 300 graduates. In the past, commencement ceremonies have yielded nearly 5,000 attendees in support of the graduation class.

Assessor Berrios, 60, is a lifelong Chicagoan of Puerto Rican descent and a graduate of Lane Tech High School. He grew up in a family of seven children, and at the age of six (6), his family moved into one of the Cabrini-Green housing projects. At 13 he began working as a dishwasher at the Tower Club in Chicago in order to help support his family, working his way up the ranks for seven years to eventually become a waiter. With a strong work ethic, he entered the University of Illinois where he later received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

Berrios first ran for public office in 1982 for the office of Illinois State Representative and won, representing the Northwest Side of Chicago for a total of three terms. In 1988 he switched his focus to primarily property taxes when he ran for and was elected to a position on the Cook County Board of Review, which oversees Cook County property tax appeals. Most recently, in 2010 he was elected Cook County Assessor where he has strived to bring assessed values of property in line with today’s housing market prices. Assessor Berrios resides on the City’s Northwest Side in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. He is the father of three and has two young grandchildren.

Northwestern College has over a century of history in the Chicagoland area, having been established in 1902. The College was purchased by the Schumacher Family in 1958 and has grown from one campus in Chicago serving a handful of students in accounting and stenography, to three campuses (Bridgeview, Chicago-Jefferson Park, and Naperville) serving nearly 2,000 students and maintaining several dozen areas of study. In 2010 Northwestern College opened its Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing, named for President Lawrence Schumacher’s 97 year old mother who purchased the College in 1958. This year will feature commencement of the College’s first Nursing Class.

“We are excited that Assessor Berrios has agreed to provide the Commencement Address to our Class of 2012,” commented President Schumacher. “His personal story of growing up in poverty, development of a strong work ethic and his dedication to public service is sure to inspire our graduates as they celebrate their own personal accomplishments while looking to the future.”

** Joe Berrios has also been Chairman of the Cook County Democrat Party since 2007.

About Northwestern College:
Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available with campuses in Chicago, Bridgeview, and Naperville. More information can be found at or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.

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