April 16, 2004
GOVERNOR NAMES RUIZ TO IBHE; STUDENTS ELECT NEW MEMBER
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
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
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.