Message from the CEO

Browse a collection of messages from Chicago Lighthouse President and CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk on what is happening around The Lighthouse and what is to come in our 110th year.

Fall 2017 Beam CEO Letter

Dear Friends,
Last month, The Chicago Lighthouse lost a major talent, a great crusader for people with disabilities, and a cherished friend when our beloved William ‘Bill’ Jurek passed away following a prolonged illness.

Bill, who was Director Emeritus of our CRIS Radio operation, was a broadcast giant who held major posts with NBC, WLIT and many other outlets.  In fact, Bill was so talented that he was once offered a staff announcer position with the NBC radio network in New York, but turned it down to stay in his hometown of Chicago.

Since joining The Lighthouse about a decade ago, Bill not only helped to revitalize CRIS but successfully launched “The Beacon,” the only advocacy program on the radio for people with disabilities.  Airing every weekend on WCPT-AM, the popular broadcast was Bill’s brainchild and he excelled as its host.  The program featured a wide array of knowledgeable guests like Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Commissioner Karen Tamley who offered their own keen insight into issues of concern to people with disabilities, Seniors and Veterans.  Other special guests included then Senator and future President Barack Obama, Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Danny Davis and acclaimed musicians Lisa Hilton and Nikki George (aka Georgiann Pangere).

In tribute to Bill’s remarkable career and for all he did for The Lighthouse, we will continue his legacy with a revived “Beacon” program featuring members of his broadcast family:  Brian Hawkins, Lainie Kleemann, Sandy Murillo and Brett Shishkoff.  To read their comments on how Bill touched their lives, please see the accompanying article in this edition of The Beam.

To hear “The Beacon,” please tune in to 820 AM every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. or catch the podcasts of each show on our website.

We will also hold a special memorial service in honor of Bill in our cafeteria on Friday, October 27.  All of his many friends are welcome to attend and share with us their recollections of this kind and good man.  More details will come, but please mark your calendars.

We love you, Bill!  You are our very own rock star who will be sorely missed!

Janet P. Szlyk, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Low Vision Research Laboratory

Research & Publications by Dr. Szlyk

Interviews with Dr. Szlyk