The 2014 Governmental Forum at Elmhurst College brings together some of the state’s foremost governmental and civic leaders, business experts and policy analysts to offer insights on how to resolve the state’s fiscal crisis.
James R. Thompson
Illinois' longest-serving governor, James R. Thompson is senior chairman of the law firm of Winston & Strawn, headquartered in Chicago. In 1997, 2000 and 2013, The National Law Journal listed Thompson as one of the nation’s 100 most influential lawyers. While serving as governor (1977-1991), he was noted for his skill in settling difficult labor-management problems, his ability to manage one of the nation’s largest public budgets while maintaining one of the nation’s highest state bond ratings, and his leadership role among his peers. He served as chairman of the National Governors’ Association, the Midwestern Governors’ Conference and the Council of Great Lakes Governors. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Governor Thompson as chairman of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, a position he held until 1993. He also served as a commissioner of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9-11 Commission).
Mary Ann Ahern
Mary Ann Ahern has been a reporter for NBC Channel 5 News since 1989, and has been its political reporter since 2006. On the political beat, she has witnessed the transition from Mayor Richard M. Daley to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She also has reported on the 2008 presidential campaign, from Iowa to New Hampshire to the conventions. Ahern also serves as co-host of Ward Room, a weekly wrapup of political events, and as co-host of Deep Dish, a popular feature on NBC 5’s Thursday newscasts. In May 2012 she received the prestigious Peter Lisagor Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the years she also gained recognition for her work on the religion beat. From Rome, she covered the selection of Pope Francis as well as Pope Benedict's farewell. She also followed Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in his final years, as well as the selection of Cardinal Francis George.
Tyrone "Ty" Fahner is a partner and former chairman at Mayer Brown LLP and president of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Ranked No. 66 on Chicago magazine's 2013 list of 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans, Fahner's practice includes complex litigation, state and regulatory compliance matters, as well as advising audit committees and boards of directors. He has extensive jury trial experience in cases involving financial crimes, tax, securities, regulatory matters, multi-district, and class action litigation. A former Illinois attorney general, Fahner also has served as director of the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He was named “2002 Person of the Year” by Chicago Lawyer magazine. By appointment of President George W. Bush, he serves on the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.
Bruce Dold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial page editor of the Chicago Tribune. He joined the Tribune in 1978 as a reporter and covered city, state and national politics. Dold joined the editorial board in 1990. He became deputy editorial page editor in 1995 and editorial page editor in 2000. Dold wrote a weekly column for the Tribune from 1995 to 2000 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1994. Under his direction, the editorial board has won a dozen national awards, including the Pulitzer in 2003. He is the host of Chicago Forward, the Tribune's series of public events forums that seek solutions to challenges facing the city and state. A graduate of Northwestern University, Dold was ranked among Chicago magazine’s 2012 list of 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans.
Robert C. Knuepfer Jr.
A partner of the law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP, Robert C. Knuepfer Jr. is past chair of the firm’s Europe & Middle East practice and former managing partner of the Budapest office. He provides general counsel to public and private companies on a wide range of corporate matters. Knuepfer also serves on the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees. Active in civic affairs, Knuepfer is a trustee of the Adler Planetarium and a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, as well as a past chair and board member of Metropolitan Family Services of Chicago. He was the centennial president of the Rotary Club of Chicago, and is a district governor for Rotary International. Knuepfer also is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, where he teaches at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the School of Law.
A senior vice president of public finance in the Chicago office of the investment firm Hutchinson Shockey Erley & Co., Tod Miles has extensive experience in financial services based on 30 years as an investment banker and lawyer. He has served on numerous civic and charitable boards, including the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Metropolitan Planning Council and USO of Illinois. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Millikin University and is a past member of the State Treasurer's Business Roundtable. Miles was a board director of the Greater Chicago Bank until its acquisition by another holding company. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College.