2009 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award - Justice
Pam Kuhl Davis is an inspiration to all who believe that one person can make a difference. In 2003, Ms. Davis turned to the FBI when her instincts told her something was suspicious about the conduct of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. For eight months she wore a hidden recording device and became a key part of the investigation that led all the way to the office of the Governor of Illinois.
For her courageous public service Pam Kuhl Davis has received acclaim and honor from a broad spectrum of society including: ABC News’ Person of the Week; 2008 Woman of the Year from the American Association of University Women; Honorary doctor of Humane Letters Degree from North Central College; 2008 Community Leadership Award by the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society of Benedictine University; 2008 CAPS Public Service Award “for her courage and integrity in taking a personal stand against public corruption”; and the 2009 Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award received at the 20th Annual Fraud Conference “for choosing truth over self”. The Washington Post newspaper and The New Yorker magazine told of her years of undercover work exposing the heart of Chicago’s political corruption.
As a student at Community High School Ms. Davis was a member of National Honor Society, Homecoming Court, and a cheerleader. In 1971 she received her undergraduate degree in Social Work and Economics from the University of Iowa and a Master’s Degree in 1973 also from the University of Iowa.
As President and CEO of Edward Hospital in Naperville, Illinois and as an outstanding business leader in the health care community, Ms. Davis was awarded the YWCA Outstanding Women Leaders of DuPage County in 1991, Women Health Executive Network’s 1995 Award for Outstanding Women Leaders, the 2003 Maimonides Health Care Leadership Award by the Anti‐Defamation League “recognizing those who embody what is best in America—justice, freedom, equality and fellowship”, and the 2005 Naperville Person of the Year by the Daily Herald newspaper.
In 2003, while seeking approval from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board for a new medical facility in Plainfield, Illinois, Ms. Davis received warnings that unless she hired a certain contractor, a certain investment firm, and provided a substantial kickback, her proposal would be denied.
“I was outraged that something as important as health care could fall into the clutches of corruption.”
Instead of “paying to play” Ms. Davis contacted the FBI and became instrumental in bringing to justice that contractor, Jacob Kiferbaum, former planning board member Stuart Levine, and ultimately former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Ms. Davis periodically wore a wire while in her office and home, and at various meetings which were recorded by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. She withdrew from family, colleagues, and friends, isolating herself in an effort to protect the privacy of innocent people. But she never lost her resolve.
“I believe society is a better place if each of us as individuals tries to be a good citizen. For me that means more than simply following the rules. It means, in fact, if I see something that is not right, it is my responsibility to stand up and really work to try and correct the wrong or to report the inappropriate actions to others.”
The FBI has gone on record in praise of Ms. Davis’s actions, and she is serving as a witness in upcoming trials. Governor Pat Quinn has appointed her to the new 15 member Illinois Reform Commission charged with recommending ways to clean up state government.
The CHS Education Foundation is honored to present to Pam Kuhl Davis, class of 1967, the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Justice.