CHICAGO, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Joy V. Cunningham, senior vice president and general counsel for Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will be installed as the first African-American female president of The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) on June 24, 2004. Cunningham has had a distinguished and varied career, including service as a Circuit Court Judge. During her one-year term, Cunningham -- also the first corporate counsel to be president -- will focus her energy on several projects, including advocating for mandatory continuing legal education for Illinois lawyers and sponsoring a judicial seminar for state and federal court judges in an effort to improve the Administration of Justice. She is also committed to serving the public by expanding public service and consumer education programs; creating a program called "Computers for Clergy," which will solicit law firms to donate working computers to Chicago-area clergy; and the implementation of regular programming at the William C. Goudy Elementary School, adopted by the CBA in 2003. Cunningham currently brings her experience from the bench to Northwestern Memorial, where she's committed to developing proactive strategies to avoid hospital risk while continuously underscoring the importance of quality initiatives. "Joy demonstrates exceptional leadership ability and a propensity for forward thinking," said Gary Mecklenburg, president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. "These traits, combined with her legal talents, have made her a tremendous asset to our senior management team and I am sure she will serve the CBA with equal success." "Whether as a judge during a jury trial or as a volunteer working with children, Joy Cunningham's knowledge of the law and commitment to justice is an inspiration," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. "Joy is making history by becoming the Chicago Bar Association's first African-American woman president. More importantly, she has been making a difference in people's lives for a long time, and I know she will continue to do so." African-American lawyers were not admitted to the CBA until November 1945 and minority numbers in bar associations didn't start growing substantially until the mid-1980s and 1990s. That's part of why Cunningham feels a moral obligation to serve as president of CBA. "As the legal profession becomes more diverse, I believe it's important the leadership reflects that," said Cunningham. "I have a responsibility to do the very best I can in this position, because young black lawyers need to recognize that they can be included in the infrastructure of the legal system and have the power to bring about change." Cunningham grew up in New York and worked as a nurse before going to law school in the early 1980s. "Ms. Cunningham has proven credentials in the legal and medical communities and her selection as president of the Chicago Bar Association is well-deserved. She will be a great asset in her new post," offers Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes. Before joining Northwestern, Cunningham most recently served as a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she had a diverse assignment including jury trials. She also has served as associate general counsel for Loyola University and Loyola University Health System and was the first African- American woman to serve as an attorney with the law firm of French, Rogers, Kezelis & Kominiarek. She has also served as Assistant Attorney General and as a judicial clerk to Illinois Appellate Justice Glenn Johnson. Cunningham has served on the CBA Board of Managers almost continually since 1995, as a member (95-97), secretary (97-99), treasurer (01-02), second vice president (02-03) and first vice president (03-04). She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Bar Foundation and worked for many years with The CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee. She has authored professional publications and is a member of a number of professional associations, including the American Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois. She has been recognized for her volunteer service to several community organizations including the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, The Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network and is a board member of the Center for Conflict Resolution. Cunningham earned her Juris Doctor degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and her Bachelor of Science degree from the City University of New York. She is admitted to practice law before the Illinois, New York, Federal and the Federal Trial Bars. Cunningham and her husband, Vance du Rivage, have a son, Jeremy Keith. They reside on the northside of Chicago. Cunningham will be installed as CBA President at The CBA Annual Meeting, Thursday, June 24, 2004, at the Standard Club. A reception will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by a 12:15 p.m. luncheon in the Grand Ballroom. The cost to attend the luncheon is $50 per person and $500 for a table of 10. To make a reservation, call Tamra Drees at 312-554-2057. About Northwestern Memorial Hospital Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is one of the country's premier academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern Memorial and its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry have 744 beds and more than 1,200 affiliated physicians and 5,000 employees. Providing state- of-the-art care, NMH is recognized for its outstanding clinical and surgical advancements in such areas as cardiothoracic and vascular care, gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, organ and bone marrow transplantation, and women's health. Northwestern Memorial was ranked as the nation's 5th best hospital by the 2002 Consumer Checkbook survey of the nation's physicians and is listed in the majority of specialties in this year's US News & World Report's issue of "America's Best Hospitals." NMH is also cited as one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" by Working Mother magazine and has been chosen by Chicagoans year after year as their "most preferred hospital" in National Research Corporation's annual survey.
SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital