A groundbreaking neurosurgeon, Stephen Ondra '80 has been named a senior policy advisor in the Obama Administration, to advise Secretary Eric Shinseki at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Your hometown? Belleville, Ill.
Why Wesleyan? I was looking for a school that provided that rare balance of outstanding academic preparation and a true liberal arts education in an environment that still lets you enjoy the college experience.

Illinois Wesleyan provided all of this in a setting that was personal and caring.

Your major? Biology
Favorite professor or class? It is difficult to pick one as I had so many outstanding faculty and classes. However, two come to mind that profoundly affected my career and life by expanding my mind as well as my knowledge. 

Those were Bruce Criley in and my embryology class and Mike Young and my humanities class. 

The fact that those two professors and classes were in very different areas of academics also embodied the wonderful liberal arts environment at Illinois Wesleyan that made my time there a true education.

After Wesleyan?  After Wesleyan, medical school was easy to take in stride. 

My education at Illinois Wesleyan not only gave me facts to build on, but a way to think and learn that has stayed with me my entire life. 

That education and love of lifelong learning has made my life richer in ways that I could have hardly imagined. 

Wesleyan helped ground me in the values of the examined life.

Best memory?  My best memory at Wesleyan was without doubt, each and every Homecoming. 

Those glorious fall days were a mix of academics, sports, reunion and fun that epitomizes what the college experience should be. 

When I look back at college, those are the days that I remember the most.  Those are the happiest days of college life.

For fun?  Solving the world’s problems at 3 in the morning at Bob’s Brandtville Truck Stop over a late night / early morning breakfast. 

Frisbee on the quad.

Getting that spring sun on the roof of the Sigma Pi house.

The best?  Sitting on the deck of my vacation home at sunset and listening to my family talk about the day.
Favorite book? An Imperfect God
Favorite band?  U-2
Favorite movie?  It’s a Wonderful Life
Stephen Ondra
Stephen Ondra completed his residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and served with distinction while deployed to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.

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