Profiles

The One Who Endures

In 1972, Bill Johnson ’68 made history when he became the first openly gay man in modern history to gain ordination to the mainstream Christian ministry. That was just the beginning of the journey for the man and his church.
Elmhurst College’s Prospect, Summer 2010
In 1971, while he was working as a youth pastor in Northern California, William R. Johnson asked an association of the United Church of Christ to do what had never been done before in modern Christianity: ordain an openly gay man. In 2010, the Episcopal Church has an openly gay bishop, the House of Representatives has openly gay members, and network tv has openly gay characters galore. .
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Baron in the Making

Jim Tyree built Mesirow Financial into a Chicago institution. Not bad for a hard-knocks kid from the South Side.
Business Week Chicago, May 2008
Jim Tyree has the thick neck and battered gait of a retired football player. He turned 50 last fall, but his thinning white hair and that walk make him look more like 60. Diagnosed with diabetes at 24, he has cheated death twice-once in a thatched shack in Mexico-and endured four eye surgeries to restore his vision. “Being blind,” he wisecracks, “is worse than being dead.” James C. Tyree is chairman and chief executive of Mesirow Financial, an employee-owned financial conglomerate that got its start in 1937 when Norman Mesirow opened a one-man brokerage in the Loop. Today the Chicago company has $35 billion under management, $451 million in annual revenue, $230 million in capital, 45,000 clients, and 1,100 employees. Its primary service is investment management, but it also offers insurance and consulting. Tyree joined the firm fresh out of business school; it’s the only place he has ever worked.
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Windy City Man

Michael Polsky came to America from Ukraine with virtually nothing. Today his giant wind farms are generating millions.
Business Week Chicago, February 2008
Power-industry mogul Michael Polsky has a messy desk and a lousy view of South Wacker Drive. His Russian-accented English makes him seem gruff and forbidding. (He’s neither.) At 58, he’s a millionaire hundreds of times over, yet the prices he’s hearing for a chauffeured drive to and from Madison, Wis., are too rich for his blood. Even seated in his office, his restless energy is apparent.
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