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April 16, 2004


SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has named Robert J. Ruiz of Oak Lawn, the chief of the Public Interest Bureau for the Cook County State's Attorney, to a seat on the Illinois Board of Higher Education. And the Board's Student Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives of all Illinois colleges and universities, has elected Mark Weber, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as its representative on the Board.

Ruiz's appointment, which fills the vacancy left by the resignation of Robert English, requires Senate confirmation. Weber will succeed Kevin O'Kelly, who has served as the student Board member since February 2003. O'Kelly, who will graduate this spring from Northern Illinois University, will serve his final Board meeting in June.

In his capacity with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Ruiz is responsible for overseeing civil and criminal litigation in the areas of child support enforcement, consumer fraud, environment and energy, and issues affecting seniors and persons with disabilities. He served as Illinois solicitor general from 1988 to 1991 and has held executive positions in the industrial commission division and consumer fraud division for the Illinois Attorney General. He has also worked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in San Francisco and with the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago.

Ruiz was a member of the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities for ten years and chaired the Board from 1991 to 1993. He also served on the State Committee on Minority Student Access and Achievement. He was National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and was instrumental in organizing the National Hispanic Prosecutors Association. He was chosen to participate in the prestigious Leadership Greater Chicago Program as a result of his community service, and remains active in that organization's alumni association.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul University College of Law. He lives in Oak Lawn.

Mark Weber, a former student member of the Illinois Community College Board, is a graduate of Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) and a senior at the U. of I., majoring in political science. He was the student trustee at Moraine Valley during his community college tenure and served as the alternate student member of the Board of Higher Education during the present academic year.

Weber holds a number of leadership awards and honors, including the IBHE Student Advisory Committee Outstanding Leader Award in 2004, the MVCC Student Leadership Award in 2003, and the ICCB Student Advisory Committee Outstanding Leader in 2002.

He is a member of the College Democrats at the University of Illinois, held a membership in the Moraine Valley Alliance of Latin American Students, and served as student representative to the Cook County Workforce Investment Board Youth Council from 2001 to 2003.

Weber also has an impressive catalog of community and volunteer experiences, including raising funds for the Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and an assisted living center for disabled youth; serving as coordinator for a holiday party for children at the Maryville Academy and for a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve toys-for-tots program; and volunteering at an Orland Township Snowflake Youth Drug Intervention Program and a Christmas in April Home Rehabilitation Project.
He resides in Orland Park.


Don Sevener



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