Lake Forest resident Dean DeBiase, a former College of Lake County student who gained distinction as a Silicon Valley and Chicago business leader, will be the keynote speaker at the college’s commencement ceremony on Saturday..
DeBiase, who transferred from CLC a few credits short of earning a degree, will also receive an honorary associate degree and the Illinois Outstanding Citizen Award.
A co-author with Seth Godin of the best-selling business book The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable, DeBiase’s keynote address, "Semper Paratus," will touch on the entrepreneurial movement and content from a new book he is developing.
DeBiase graduated from Lake Forest High School a year early in 1975 and wanted to travel the world, but his father insisted the 16-year-old visit the College of Lake County.
"Coming to CLC as a high school junior was a bit scary. I wasn’t ready," said DeBiase. "Instead of attending senior year at Lake Forest High, I found myself overwhelmed by the variety of classes here and what I could learn."
"I was amazed that I could move beyond standard high school curriculum and take exciting classes, from business and advertising to auto shop and welding—so I did—and by the time I transferred I was ready for business."
After attending CLC, DeBiase transferred to Northern Illinois University, earning his B.S. in marketing. He went on to get an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School and later attended the M.B.A.-Plus Executive Program at the University of Chicago.
DeBiase, who serves as chairman of Reboot Partners, Inc., has been the CEO of a dozen private and public corporations and Fortune 500 subsidiaries.
A frequent guest on TV news and business programs, DeBiase a CEO guest host on NBC’s "Celebrity Apprentice" with Donald Trump last year.
But DeBiase hasn’t forgotten the first college that nurtured his dreams.
"Since this is where my life journey began, I was honored, humbled, excited and thankful to be invited to speak at CLC’s commencement. The students are graduating at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, and that’s what I want to talk with them about, being ready for it—always ready," he said.
Commencement will be held Saturday in the Physical Education Center (Building 7) at the college’s Grayslake campus at 19351 W. Washington St.
Graduation events will be split into two ceremonies because of the limited seating capacity of the P.E. Center. DeBiase will speak at each session.
The first ceremony (for students earning transfer degrees) starts at 10 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony for Associate in Applied Science degrees and certificates begins at 2:30 p.m.
Information provided by the College of Lake County