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Bill Aubrey

Bill Aubrey

CEO | Gertrude Hawk Chocolates | Class of 1989

A month into his freshman year at another university, Bill Aubrey (BS ’85, MBA ’89) was miserable.

“My dream was to be at the University of Illinois,” says the now-CEO of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, who said as much to UI admissions staff when he mailed them two letters — dated Sept. 21 and Oct. 25, 1991.

When neither produced the answers he was hoping for, “I wrote a third time, on November 4, and received a response five days later.

“The admissions officer was Ms. Tamara Bouseman. She not only responded to me and did so promptly, she also set up an appointment for me on December 21, 1981. I know all these dates because I saved the letters. I saved the letters from Ms. Bouseman because I wanted to always have a reminder of how people should be treated.

“In the end, I was admitted in the next class. My education at the University of Illinois was simply excellent. My most important learning occurred even before I was a student.

“Thank you, Ms. Tamara Bouseman.”