ROMEOVILLE— Lewis University has announced that William Rybak, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Van Kampen Investments, Inc., now retired, has been selected to receive the Lewis University 2009 Signum Fidei Award at the 11th annual Signum Fidei Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Rybak recently was named chair emeritus of the Lewis University Board of Trustees after 25 years of service and leadership, with nine as board chair.
Now in its 11th year, the Signum Fidei Celebration provides funding for need-based scholarships to ensure the opportunity of a values based education for deserving and well-qualified students. All proceeds from the 2009 Signum Fidei Celebration will go to help students and families most affected by the recession.
The Signum Fidei Celebration will include an opening reception with silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by a gourmet dinner, awards ceremony, live auction, raffle and entertainment. Reservations for the black-tie-optional event are $250 per person. All proceeds from the event will support Lewis students in need. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (815) 836-5545 or visit www.lewisu.edu/sigfi. The Signum Fidei Celebration is sponsored by Lewis University and its Board of Trustees.
An alumnus of Lewis University, Rybak was raised on the southwest side of Chicago and graduated in the first class of St. Paul High School in 1969. He graduated from Lewis University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1973. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. In 1973, Rybak joined KPMG LLP, a financial services company in Chicago where he was named an audit partner in 1982. In 1986, he joined Van Kampen Investments, Inc., as a member of the firm’s senior committee. He rose steadily at the firm, becoming its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer before retiring in 2000.
Rybak serves on the boards of PrivateBancorp, Inc., Jackson National Life Funds, Howe Barnes Investments, Inc. and the Calamos Mutual Funds. Lewis University honored him as its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 1986 and he was named the first-ever recipient of the Adam Smith Honored Alumnus of the Year award by the Lewis College of Business in 1999. He was elected to the Lewis University Board of Trustees in 1983, serving for 12 years. Rybak returned to the board in 1996 and was elected board chair in 2000. Upon his retirement as board chair in 2009, he was awarded the honor of chair emeritus of the board. He has volunteered to continue as a member of the Lewis Campus Master Plan Committee to assist in the future development of the university.
Rybak’s tenure as a trustee is the longest in university history. He has also served as chairman of the Board of Directors for St. Coletta’s of Illinois Foundation and is a past board member of the Leukemia Society of America and St. Michael’s Parish in Orland Park. In 2007, he became an affiliated member of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools, the highest honor given by the De La Salle Christian Brothers worldwide.
Rybak’s wife, Jane Rybak, is also a philanthropist and has served the community as a nurse and a volunteer. She has been a member of the Scholarship Committee for Visitation Grammar School in Chicago and served on the Brookfield Zoo Women’s Board. Together, the Rybaks have been very generous benefactors to Lewis University, particularly in support of endowed scholarships, campus improvement projects, faculty development initiatives and The Campaign for Lewis University.
The words Signum Fidei, meaning the Sign of Faith, are a symbol of the commitment to the Catholic and Lasallian spirit that provides vision and purpose for Lewis University. Each year at the Signum Fidei Celebration, Lewis University is privileged to recognize outstanding individuals who demonstrate the “Sign of Faith” in their contributions to society and to the University.
Dedicated to making Lewis University accessible to all qualified students regardless of financial need, Lewis annually awards approximately $57 million in financial aid through federal, state, private and institutional funds. More than 84 percent of incoming undergraduate Lewis students receive some form of financial assistance, including scholarships, grants, loans and work-study employment. The number of scholarships available to Lewis students continues to grow due to the generosity and dedication of private donors, alumni, faculty and staff who support the educational mission of the university.
A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The 10th largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review. For more information please visit www.lewisu.edu.