YouTube co-founder among IMSA alumni giving back to alma mater

YouTube founder Steve Chen says he was the kind of kid who'd spend weekend days alone, playing on his computer.

He thought he was the only one like that until he enrolled at the Illinois Math and Science Academy, a three-year residential public school in Aurora.

Chen, 38, founded the online video-sharing website in 2005. He's one of a growing number of young IMSA alumni who've made a name for themselves creating breakthrough technologies, then have come back to help their alma mater through donations and publicity.

Chen recently gave $1 million toward a 6,000-square-foot center for innovation and inquiry named after him and his wife.

He was on hand last month for the dedication of The Steve and Jamie Chen Center, which IMSA President Jose Torres says isn't like a school building. "It feels like a collaborative space, and that's part of the IMSA spirit," he says.

<h3 class="leadin">30 years of grads

"The first class was 30 years ago. Now they're coming into their own, these alumni. And many of them, like Steve Chen, attribute who they became ... to the experience they had at IMSA," Torres tells me. "Being with other very bright students, not feeling isolated because they were bright, because they had to hide their light because they didn't want to show off."

The school gave them a chance to succeed, Torres says - and to fail.

"Here they experience that, too, and they begin to find their voice and their place in the world," he says.

<h3 class="leadin">Notable names

Along with Chen, other alumni have come back as donors. Scott Gaudí, of the class of 1991, led a team of 69 international astronomers in discovering a solar system. Yu Pan, of the class of 1995, was one of the six founding team members of PayPal. Russel Simmons, of the class of 1995, is the co-founder and chief technology officer of online review site

<h3 class="leadin">Running against Roskam

After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee focused on unseating six-term Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton in the 2018 election, several Democrats have put their names forward to run against him.

They include Lake Zurich attorney Amanda Howland, who Roskam defeated last November, Barrington Hills Planning Commission board member Kelly Mazeski and Carole Cheney, of Aurora, an aide to Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville.

<h3 class="leadin">Mediation ordered

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered an April 27 mediation session in former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder's lawsuit against COD.

The college in late March appealed a judge's decision not to dismiss the case. Breuder filed the federal lawsuit against the Glen Ellyn school's board of trustees and specifically former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton and three current board members - Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein - after he was fired in October 2015. The suit, which seeks more than $2 million in damages, claims he was wrongfully terminated.

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State Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood

Another governor hopeful?

Another suburban resident has signaled he's interested in joining the Democratic primary for governor.

State Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood emailed supporters this week noting he recognizes the "enormity of trying to change the status quo in Illinois and the resistance the establishment will put forth to stop the effort. However, as Bob Dylan famously wrote ... 'the times, they are a-changin.' The purpose of this exploration is to determine whether Illinois is ready for such change," Drury wrote.

Drury, first elected in 2012, made some waves this year for refusing to support powerful fellow Democrat Mike Madigan for House speaker.

Also in the primary are Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, a Des Plaines native, Kenilworth businessman Chris Kennedy and Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker.

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Members of St. Joseph's Church re-enact the Passion of the Christ in Elgin on Good Friday in 2009. Daily Herald File Photo/2009

Via Crucis

Thousands will gather on Elgin's east side at 3 p.m. Friday as members of St. Joseph Catholic Church stage a dramatic testament to their beliefs through "La Via Crucis" or the "Way of the Cross." The annual procession vividly re-creates the suffering and crucifixion of Christ.

While other parishes in the suburbs also hold re-enactments, Elgin's is the biggest and most dramatic I've seen, and I try to make it a point to go every year. Rehearsals began two months ago.

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