Loyola Honors Giving Leaders John F. and Herta Cuneo, and Terry R. Light, MD

News Archive November 03, 2011

Loyola Honors Giving Leaders John F. and Herta Cuneo, and Terry R. Light, MD

Cuneos, Light to be Lauded at 61st Annual Stritch Award Dinner

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- In recognition of their exceptional leadership and generosity, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine will honor three outstanding individuals at its 61st Annual Award Dinner, to be held Saturday, Nov. 19. For the first time the time-honored award dinner will be held at Chicago’s Field Museum, a fitting venue for an event that is steeped in historical significance.

The Sword of Loyola, given by Loyola University Chicago, will be bestowed on John F. and Herta Cuneo, who are prominent members of Chicago’s business and philanthropic communities. Dr. Terry R. Light will receive the medical school’s Stritch Medal for his inspiring leadership, contributions to medical education, outstanding clinical skills and compassionate care.

As part of the evening’s events, 31 young adults from the Chicago area will be recognized for their participation in the Stritch Junior Service League, a long-standing volunteer organization that carries on Loyola’s tradition of service to the community.

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine will present its highest honor, the Stritch Medal, to Terry R. Light, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Though a third-generation physician, Light’s passion for the field of medicine stems from his own desire to bring excellent and compassionate care to anyone who is in need.

Born and raised in Glencoe, Ill., Light graduated from New Trier High School. He attended Yale University, but it wasn’t until after he earned his degree in American Studies that he decided to follow the same calling as his father and grandfather by becoming a physician.

He graduated from Chicago Medical School and completed general and orthopaedic surgery residencies at Yale University Hospital. This was followed by a fellowship in surgery of the hand at the Connecticut Combined Hand Surgery Program.

While there he met and married Hollis Smith. Together they’ve raised two daughters, Rebecca and Jennifer. Light continually emphasizes that his daughters and wife have been the most important part of his life and have given him continued joy.

In 1980 Light returned to Chicago where he began his influential career at Loyola University Medical Center.

“Terry’s influence on medical students and residents is priceless. He not only demonstrates his masterful skills as a surgeon and clinician but imparts wisdom and passion about the responsibility that comes with being a physician and a teacher,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, interim dean, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

A forward–thinking administrator, Light has left a mark on the entire health system. He has built one of the finest orthopaedic departments, recruiting nationally renowned surgeons in a wide array of specialties.

His influence and dedication have been appreciated far beyond the boundaries of Loyola. He has provided volunteer medical care in Haiti, China, Nigeria, Egypt, Vietnam and Lithuania. In each location Light brings more than immediate aid to patients. He takes time to help train orthopaedic and pediatric surgeons who will continue to offer care in those communities well after he has returned home.

“Terry has made a profound impact on the world. His expertise and skill at treating patients is only overshadowed by his care and compassion for them as people,” said Richard L. Gamelli, MD, FACS, senior vice president and provost of the Health Sciences Division, Loyola University Chicago.

Sword Recipients John F. Cuneo, Jr. and Herta Cuneo

The Sword of Loyola recognizes notable achievements of outstanding leaders for contributions in a field other than medicine. This year’s recipients are John F. and Herta Cuneo.

“John and Herta are extraordinary people.  They are tireless champions of Catholic education and thanks to their tremendous generosity, many talented young men and women have been able to pursue their education at Catholic institutions around the Chicagoland area," said Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago.  "Since 1964, the recipients of the Sword of Loyola have personified excellence in leadership and service.  John and Herta's legendary commitment and service to many in our communities, and in a special way to our neediest students, make them extraordinarily worthy recipients of the Sword of Loyola."

John F. Cuneo, Jr. grew up on the family’s estate in Lake County, Ill., which included a farm. During the Great Depression, the children’s love for animals inspired their father to develop the farm into a dairy that served people throughout the Chicago area. In addition, the grounds of his childhood home became a gathering place for the community where circus performances and concerts offered a sense of wonder and hope during a difficult time.

Herta Klauser Cuneo was born in Munich, Germany. Her family received international acclaim as professional animal trainers and circus performers. It was during one of these performances at the Chicago Great Railroad Fair that she first met her future husband.

The couple was married on Jan. 1, 1970, on a rare day off between performances for the new Mrs. Cuneo, who continued to perform until she retired in 1978.

Mr. Cuneo has enjoyed a distinguished career in business and worked to uphold the philanthropic legacy that was left to him by his parents. He served as president of The Cuneo Press, and also is former president of Processing and Books Inc. Currently Mr. Cuneo serves as president of the Milwaukee-Golf Development Co., a developer of commercial and industrial buildings, including the Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles, Ill. He also is president of the Grasmere Building Corp., a real estate development company.

Mr. and Mrs. Cuneo were the president and vice president, respectively, of the Cuneo Foundation, which was established by John Cuneo Sr. The foundation focuses the majority of its support on Catholic organizations, including Loyola University Chicago and the Stritch School of Medicine, which have been longtime beneficiaries of the Cuneo family’s generosity. Mr. and Mrs. Cuneo made a significant contribution to the medical school in 2000. In appreciation for the gift, the building that houses the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine was named the John and Herta Cuneo Center.

The Cuneos offer boundless generosity to causes in which they believe. This was evident in their donation of the Cuneo family’s Vernon Hills estate, now a museum, to Loyola University Chicago. This was the largest gift in Loyola’s history.

Patrons of a great number of educational, religious and medical institutions, the Cuneos’ support ranges far and wide. These include supporting the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, DePaul University, Gordon Technical High School, Chicago Food Depository, Children’s Home and Aid Society, Big Shoulders Fund, Chicago Heart Association and the Museum of Science and Industry. They are enthusiastic supporters of the John and Mable Ringling (of the Ringling Bros. Circus) Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla.

As Chicago’s oldest black-tie gala, the legendary Stritch Annual Awards Dinner has raised millions of dollars for medical education since the event was first held in 1950. Individual tickets are $600 and tables of 10 can be sponsored for $6,000 or $12,000 and are a tax-deductible charitable donation to the extent allowed by law. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (312) 915 7662.

For media inquiries, please contact Evie Polsley at epolsley@lumc.edu or call (708) 417-5100.

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is located in a state-of-the-art educational facility on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood. The school, which provides instruction to 520 medical students, has been in the vanguard of institutions that have created new, active learning curricula to help students meet the challenges of 21st century health care. An estimated 8,000 to 9,000 students compete each year for 130 openings in the Stritch medical school's first-year class. In addition to the more than 500 students, Loyola's medical educational programs provide instruction and training to an estimated 400 residents and 100 fellows.
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