Troy Hammond

July 2013 View more

A hometown leader for North Central College

When North Central College’s president of 22 years, Dr. Harold Wilde, announced his retirement last winter, the College cast a nationwide net to find a worthy successor. Ironically, the College found the perfect candidate right in its own backyard. On January 1, Naperville resident Dr. Troy Hammond officially took the reins as the 10th president in the 151-year history of the College.



Finding Naperville

Although a lifelong educator and academic, Hammond’s impressive resume includes high-powered corporate positions at McKinsey & Company and Plextronics in Pittsburgh. His close relationship to academia began at a small liberal arts college, Milligan University, which he likens to NCC. There he earned a Bachelor’s degree in math and kindled a lifelong respect and passion for liberal arts education. His went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Georgia Tech and the prestigious National Science Foundation Fellowship Award which enabled him to study experimental atomic physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He met his wife Sharlene there, and together they enjoyed living on campus as resident aides. After earning his doctorial degree from MIT in 1996, he joined the corporate world. In 2010, Hammond accepted a position as president of Blue Star Energy Services in Chicago and began preparing a move to the area.

He said he and Sharlene “spent long weekends scouring neighborhoods and visiting with school administrators” to find the best community in Chicagoland to continue raising their four children. “Naperville has a great reputation and there’s a reason for that,” he said. “We felt at home here.”

The family settled in the downtown area, conveniently close to the Metra train station for Hammond’s commute to Chicago. “I think people fail to appreciate the structure of Naperville, how the city is built along the river but without the train tracks going through,” he said. “You can walk to everything.”

Finding an exemplary school system was also important to the Hammond’s. “We moved from the number one elementary school in Pittsburgh so we knew what a good school looked like,” he said. “When we met with District 203 administrators, we were done.” All four children are enrolled in Naperville School District 203. The oldest child, Adonay, 15, was adopted from El Salvador in 2010 after Sharlene met him on a mission trip. He is a freshman at Naperville North. Dillon, 14, and Karina, 12, attend Junior High, and Gabrielle, 10, is in elementary school.


New Venture in Naperville

Last fall, the Hammond children learned of dad’s new job with goodie bags from the college containing NCC logo items. They will soon move into the president’s residence on campus, which is still walking distance from their favorite Naperville spots, like the library, and in winter, the Riverwalk hockey rink. “They’re excited to be part of it all,” said Hammond. “The boys look forward to being close to the Res and Rec Center and Merner Fieldhouse. Gabrielle is most excited to have a card she can swipe at the cafeteria to get food!”

Hammond said NCC is currently in a very stable position, allowing him to concentrate on the future. The number one goal will be guiding the city, faculty, alumni and trustees towards the construction of a new Sciences Center, which will support additional academic programs.

“The relationship of NCC to the city is really significant,” he said. “I think our community of 3,500 students, faculty and administrators, with their employment and their consumerism, has a significant economic impact on the city. To lead the college and continue to build the relationship with Naperville is really exciting for me.”