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Peter Kadens, Marsha Oberrieder selected Commencement honorees

side-by-side headshots of woman and man Marsha Oberrieder (left) and Peter Kadens
April 17, 2024
Linda Blaser

Distinguished leaders in philanthropy and healthcare will receive honorary degrees from Lake Forest College at the 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Peter A. Kadens is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, currently serving as Chairman of The Kadens Family Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to igniting pathways out of poverty through equitable access to education. In 2019 he founded HOPE Toledo in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio to ensure that public school children and a parent could go to post-secondary school for free. He also founded and serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of HOPE Chicago, the largest place-based scholarship program in the country, which will spend $1 billion over the next decade sending underserved Chicago families to college. 

Kadens co-founded and is the retired CEO of Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest publicly traded, legal cannabis operators in the US. He also started SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar companies in the US, which was named one of Chicago’s most innovative businesses by Chicago Innovation Awards. Kadens was named one of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” in 2012 as well as a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a fellowship that accepts roughly 20 individuals from around the world each year to create ventures that solve society’s intractable problems.

Chairman emeritus at StreetWise, Kadens sits on several other boards in the for-profit and nonprofit space. In 2022, he was the nineteenth person inducted into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame. Kadens earned his bachelor’s in political science from Bucknell University, where he has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus for Citizenship.  

Marsha Oberrieder retired in April 2024 as President of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital (NMLFH), a 114-bed academic community hospital in Lake Forest serving patients throughout Lake and northern Cook Counties. Since 2015, Oberrieder served as Senior Vice President, Operations supporting the design and activation of a new hospital opening in 2018, the development of the Northwestern Medical Group ambulatory clinic platform in the northern suburbs, and oversight of the hospital imaging operations.

Her previous Vice President of Operations responsibilities at NMLFH have included the development and operations of the Northwestern Medicine Grayslake Outpatient Center, the hospital’s rehabilitation and laboratory services, and the development of the cancer and cardiology service lines. Oberrieder has been a member of the management team at NMLFH since 1980, serving as Vice President, Human Resources and Professional Services, Controller, and Budget Manager.

In addition to her work at NMLFH, Oberrieder has served on the High School District 128 School Board for Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools and the Governing Board of the Special Education District of Lake County. Oberrieder received her bachelor’s in economics from DePauw University and completed Cornell University’s Core Human Resources Executive Development Program.

Kadens and Oberrieder will each receive an honorary doctor of humane letters during the morning ceremony at Ravinia Festival Park in Highland Park, Illinois.

They will join on stage Andrea Sáenz, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, who will deliver the Commencement address, it was announced on March 22, 2024. Andrea Saenz headshot

Sáenz is an immigrant from Ecuador who grew up in Los Angeles and came to Chicago as an adult. She has dedicated her career to reimagining civic institutions to engage and serve people impacted by inequitable access to opportunities, aligning with the Trust’s legacy of addressing the greatest and most critical needs facing the Chicago region.

As president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest and oldest community foundations, Sáenz works to bring to life a vision to realize a stronger and more prosperous Chicago region where access to opportunities transcends race, ethnicity, or zip code. She has experienced the obstacles that many Chicagoans face as they strive to build financial stability and prosperity and is committed to narrowing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region.

Considered one of Chicago's leaders making a difference, Crain’s Chicago Business recently included Sáenz on its “Who’s Who in Chicago” list and its inaugural “Women of Note” list in 2023. Sáenz holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s in Latin American Studies from Scripps College. 

She will receive an honorary doctor of public service.

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