|Kenneth P. Santee died on May 20 at his home in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 94. Mr. Santee graduated from Commerce in 1929, with a BS in Commerce Curriculum. A native of Greenfield, Ohio, he grew up in Chicago and returned to the city after graduation to co-found Stanwood Corporation, a West Side company that makes high temperature equipment used for manufacturing airplanes and automobiles. Company president for thirty-two years and a consultant for another five, Mr. Santee was married to Marie Santee, a Chicago native and Illinois alumna, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1928. The Santees were long-time residents of Wilmette, where Mr. Santee served as a village trustee and was elected mayor in 1965. A supporter of the College of Commerce and the University of Illinois. Mr. Santee is survived by his son Richard. "Ken was a wonderfully loyal alumnus of the college and a generous benefactor," recalls Dean Howard Thomas. "I saw him in February, when I visited Naples, Florida."|
| George Keck, former president and CEO of
United Airlines, died on June 22 at his home in
Milwaukie, Oregon. He was 87 years old. A Chicago native,
Mr. Keck graduated in 1932 with a BS in Commerce
Curriculum. Many years later, as head of United, he presented
Illinois with an 84-seat DC 6R aircraft and arranged for the airline to provide a three-week training course to
A member of the Army Corps of Engineers, who served in the South Pacific during World War II, he returned to Chicago in 1946 and went to work for United. Beginning with a position as superintendent of work analysis at Midway Airport, he rose through the ranks of the airline, transferring to San Francisco during the `50s, then back to Chicago in the early `60s. In 1963 he became president of the company, then assumed the post of CEO three years later. According to the Chicago Tribune, endeavors he undertook during his tenure as head of the company included the purchase of additional jets to make flights more cost-efficient. He also faced threatened strikes, amid a climate of both large profits and large losses. After he resigned from United in 1971, he joined the Chicago investment firm Kuhn, Loeb Co, then moved to Oregon in the mid-'70s to become president of Columbia Corporation. At one time an active member of the Chicago Association of Commerce, he served on numerous boards, including those of Sears and International Harvester. He is survived by his wife Evelyn, as well as a daughter, a brother, three grand-children, and a great-grandchild.
| James Towey, friend and benefactor of the
College of Commerce and Business Administration and
the University of Illinois, died on March 15, at his home
in Godfrey, Illinois. He was 83. "He was a very loyal Illini, a great personal friend, and
a tireless advocate for the College of Commerce," notes Dean
Howard Thomas, who is also James F. Towey Distinguished Professor
of Strategic Management at the college. "He was kind,
constructively critical, very perceptive, and a
very friendly, open-hearted person, who was much respected and
admired by his colleagues. I will miss him greatly.
"In the course of his business career, Mr. Towey rose through the corporate ranks to become head of Olin Corporation and a widely respected expert in strategic planning. A native of Wood River, Illinois, he attended Washington University in St. Louis, then went on to enroll at Illinois, where he became a member of the Accountancy Club, and a participant in Honors Day. He graduated CBA in 1939 with a BS in General Commerce. Upon graduation he went to work as an accountant for Western Cartridge Co., in East Alton, Illinois, a move that prefigured his coming success with Olin
|Corporation, which later acquired Western as a subsidiary. The years 1945-46 were spent by Mr. Towey in military service, with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, before his return to the East Alton plant as chief accountant and, later, plant controller. From 1955 to 1970, he served at Olin Mathieson Chemical Co., in New York City, advancing from assistant controller to financial officer, Aluminum Division, to vice president, Brass Operation. He then moved to Olin Corporation headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, where he became vice president and chief financial officer. In 1972 he was made president and CEO of the company and later that same year he was appointed chairman of the board. Upon Mr. Towey's retirement in 1981, Olin Corporation made a significant gift to create the James F. Towey Professorship in Business Administration at Commerce.|
A generous supporter of CBA and Illinois, Mr. Towey also contributed to the Investors in Business Education Fund and the Advancement Fund for the University Scholars Program. He was elected to membership in the University of Illinois Foundation in 1977. In 1981 he became a member of the Presidents Council, and in 1995 joined the Centuria Circle. He belonged to the Financial Executives Institute and the Copper Development Association, of which he was a director. He was a past vice president of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the board of directors of Alton Manufacturing Association. In 1969, he was appointed by President Nixon to serve on the U.S. Assay Commission. An enthusiastic golfer and sportsman, Mr. Towey won the Bass World Sports Tournament in 1992, when he caught six bass at the Grafton Ramp on the Alton Pool, located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The recipient of an honorary LLD from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1973, Mr. Towey served as trustee for Monticello College, Atlanta University, and the Olin Corporation Charitable Trust, which has made a generous donation in his memory to Commerce.
Mr. Towey is survived by his wife, Virginia Elnor Anderson; his son and daughter-in-law; three grandchildren; and a brother. He was preceded in death by a daughter and a sister.
On March 20, Arthur C. Bovenkerk died suddenly at the
age of 71. A native of Chicago and long-time resident of Park Forest,
Illinois, he graduated from Commerce in
1949, with a BS in Commerce
Curriculum. He was retired as an agent from Allstate Insurance,
with thirty-eight years of service to the company. Active in community and service organizations, he was former president and a member
of the Park Forest Kiwanis and a former president of the Park Forest Chapter of American Field Service. Mr. Bovenkerk also held the title of Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League. He is survived by his wife Elaine Hockinson Bovenkerk, and three daughters, a sister, a brother, and five grandchildren.
Harry L. Kavetas died on May 4, at his home in Rochester, New York. He was 61 years old, and the victim of an apparent heart attack. Mr. Kavetas, a Springfield native who graduated Commerce in 1960 with a BS in Finance, worked for IBM from 1961 to 1993, retiring from the corporation as a vice president. He went on to secure the post of chief financial officer for Eastman Kodak, which he held at the time of his death. He is credited with significantly boosting profits at both companies through his financial management expertise.