LFGSM Remembers Joan Bailar, Former Board Chair and Faculty Member

Stasia Zwisler, VP of External Relations and Human Resources

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Joan Bailar, former Lake Forest Graduate School of Business Board Chair and faculty member, passed away at home on July 29 after a long illness. She is survived by her husband Ben Bailar.

Joan was a great lady, an exceptional business leader, beloved by all who knew her, and a devoted friend and champion of the Graduate School. She served on the LFGSM Board of Directors from 2006-2014, as Board Chair from 2009-2013, and was awarded the Distinguished Director Award in November 2013 for her outstanding leadership of the Board and her passion for education. While on the Board she served as Chair of the Degree Programs, Human Resources & Compensation and the Executive Committees.

A faculty member from 1996 to 2010, Joan taught courses in Organizational Change, Introduction to Strategy and Strategic Thinking, giving tirelessly of her time to not only teach, but also mentor her students. She taught at the Lake Forest campus, Schaumburg and Chicago locations, as well as the Allstate and BlueCross BlueShield onsite programs.

Joan held an MBA from Northwestern University, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, a BA in Management and Business from Barat College, and started her career as a Registered Nurse. Joan built her business career as a healthcare industry executive where she gained a broad view of this dynamic and complex industry.

From 1998 until her retirement in 2003, she was Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Advocate Health Centers, a large multi-specialty physician group practice with numerous sites throughout the Chicago area. Prior to joining Advocate Health Centers, she co-founded two healthcare consulting companies: Syer and Nottingham, a healthcare consulting firm and insurance agency, and SNI Management Associates. In 1995, after leaving the two companies she founded, Joan was an independent consultant in the healthcare industry. During her career, she held executive positions with large health care corporations, teaching centers and hospitals. Since her retirement from Advocate Health Centers, she remained active in the business community.

Joan founded the Richard and Joan Syer Scholarship at LFGSM in 1997 in memory of her late husband, Richard Syer, who also was a long-time faculty member of the Graduate School. The scholarship supports students with a financial need who provide more than 50% of their own education expenses. Joan founded the Joan Syer-Bailar Scholarship Fund at the University of Illinois – Chicago, College of Nursing. It is awarded to undergraduate nursing students, with preference to minority students.

Joan was generous with her time and talent, having served on the Education Committee of Ada S. McKinley Community Services, on the Board of Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, the Board of the Chicago Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and on the External Advisory Board for the University of Illinois, College of Nursing. In addition, she served on the Board of Hospital Laundry Services Corporation and on the City of Chicago Special Olympics Committee.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest. More details can be found at Wenban Funeral Home.


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