North Central College to honor McLaren
Sun Staff October 9, 2012 11:10PM
Former IMSA Principal Eric McLaren smiles at his wife while posing for a portrait at his home in Sugar Grove on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. McLaren was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and has been battling the disease ever since. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:26AM
North Central College in Naperville announced Tuesday it will honor Eric McLaren of Sugar Grove with a 2012 Outstanding Alumni Award.
McLaren, former principal at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, and five others will be honored during the college’s Homecoming Convocation at 4:15 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Wentz Concert Hall at the college’s Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave.
McLaren was profiled in The Naperville Sun last month for his courageous struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — ALS — while at the same time fostering a research partnership between IMSA and the national Project A.L.S. of New York.
A charter IMSA staff member, McLaren began as a resident counselor in 1986 at the academy, a residential high school on Aurora’s West Side which serves some of the brightest students in the state.
He was subsequently promoted to head resident counselor, coordinator of residential life, assistant principal/coordinator of community learning and principal. He was named vice president for academic programs in 2004.
In fall 2010, McLaren was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“Find something that feeds your sense of purpose and be willing to look low for that purpose as well as high,” he said to IMSA students in a video revealing his diagnosis. “It’s one way to learn how to be more fully human as you press beyond ‘being good’ to ‘being good for something.’”
McLaren has continued in his leadership role at IMSA as vice president for academic programs, helping establish a connection between the academy and ALS research efforts.
McLaren earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from North Central in 1986 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Northern Illinois University.
Others being honored during the Homecoming Convocation with Outstanding Alumni Awards are Maria Wynne of Palatine, Priscilla Gallagher of Chicago, and Fred Janzen of Ames, Iowa; Wall of Witness honoree Wayne Duehn of Arlington, Texas; and Alumni Recognition Award recipient Matthew Brill of Pottstown, Pa.