1. Achievement in his/her field
2. Contribution to society
3. Association with Niles West
a) Candidate must be a Niles West graduate
b) Candidate must have attended a District 219 School for at least 3 years and must have
graduated from Niles West.
Past Years' Distinguished Alumni2016 – Dr. Robert A. Ganz, ‘72
2016 - Judge Merrick Garland
Judge Garland delivered the commencement address at the 55th Niles West Graduation Ceremony on May 29, 2016. During his visit, Niles West presented him with his induction into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
Robert A. Ganz MD is a distinguished physician, researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, with over 70 publications and 25 patents in the field of medicine. Among other achievements, he invented balloon-based radiofrequency ablation of Barrett's esophagus (a precancerous condition that is the one of the main causes of cancer of the esophagus) which revolutionized the treatment of this disease, saving thousands of patients from needless surgery (removal of the esophagus), and saving thousands of patients from developing adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Dr. Ganz discovered that Helicobacter pylori, the organism that causes peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer is photosensitive to 405 nanometer light and he also pioneered several innovative treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease, including magnetic augmentation of the lower esophageal sphincter, culminating in a first-author New England Journal of Medicine publication. Dr. Ganz also served as Chair of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Research Foundation, helping raise millions of dollars in research for gastrointestinal disease and GI cancers.
2015 - Rich Beckman, '72
2014 - Tom '86 and Dita, '86 (Jusufi) Merkel
2013 - Howard Sandroff, '67
2011 - Judy Hsu, '88
2012 - Dennis Hu, '07
2010 - Dr. Steven Dayan, '85