Maria Martinez Slayman ’77 and Dr. Terry Slayman ’77 will deliver the commencement address and the late Joseph X. Grassi ’43 will receive the Richard L. Duchossois ’40 Integrity and Values Alumni Award at the Academy’s 149th graduation exercises on June 11, 2022.
“We are pleased to have the Slaymans address the Class of 2022 and the MPA community,” Head of School Mercedes Z. Sheppard said. “They set a tremendous example for our graduates and their experiences and insights will surely inspire them. I greatly look forward to welcoming them back to campus.”
The Duchossois Award is Morgan Park Academy’s highest award for alumni, given annually in recognition of its namesake’s lifetime achievements, outstanding professional success, and service to the Academy, his community, and society.
Previous recipients are Mr. Duchossois, Dr. Frank Burd ’52, Denny Cresap ’52, Bill Hickey ’71, Al Hoffman Jr. ’52, D. Stephen Menzies ’73, Jim Mitchell ’61, Kenneth Mortenson ’63, Rajeev Rathi ’84, Spencer Stuart ’40, and Jerome A. Thrall ’44.
“Mr. Grassi was a tremendous supporter of the Academy and its students and faculty,” Sheppard said. “His contributions to both our school and his communities make him truly a fitting recipient of the Duchossois Award.”
Maria Martinez Slayman ’77 and Dr. Terry Slayman ’77
High school sweethearts for the past 45 years, the Slaymans attended Morgan Park Academy and Iowa State University together before building a life and raising a family over several decades in Columbus, Ohio.
Terry started and ran a private practice as a family physician for 28 years, with Maria running the office and keeping the books. He then transitioned to OhioHealth, the leading health care system in Central Ohio, where he rose to the position of Senior Medical Director for Ambulatory Care. In recent years, he also has worked as an executive coach.
After helping to run the family practice, Maria also worked as a family service manager at the nation’s largest chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting families with sick children in their time of need.
In addition to spending time with family, the second half of their journey together includes a recent move to Tucson, Arizona, and more time for travel, including hiking all over North America, South America, and Europe, and immersing themselves in the cultures of other countries.
Joseph X. Grassi ’43
Joe Grassi embodied the Academy traditions of service, leadership, and lifelong learning and was a dedicated supporter of our students, teachers, and school mission for decades.
Drafted into the U.S. Army during his freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Grassi earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal for his service in World War II, spending his 21st birthday in active combat in Okinawa, Japan.
Grassi earned a law degree and built a successful career in retail management and real estate, overseeing operations for small Chicagoland grocery store chains. An avid reader, boater, and editor of mystery novels, he enjoyed retirement alongside his wife of 51 years, Linda.