Thank you for making Top Hat Ball
THE greatest party on earth!

We went BIG and so did YOU!

Together, we raised
RECORD gross revenue of 
$1.222 million
 for Marklund!

See the party in action at Chris Guillen’s LINK TO PHOTOS...

Event Chairs

We want to thank our good friends, Catie and Max Schmidt, who served as Event Chairs of this year’s gala. They brought so much to this event through their generous circle of influence and through Catie’s great eye for decoration and style.  We are happy to announce another successful year unfold under their leadership.

For information, contact Jeannine Zupo at or call (630) 593-5445.

Event Committee

Greg Aagaard
Rae Ali
Jim Armbruster
Carol Donahue
Mike Donahue
Karen J. Golden
Sandy Herlihy
Ed Izzi
Tim Kueker
Binna Porter
Bud Porter
Kelly Roule
Tom Roule
Natalie Saltigerald
Cheryl Simoncelli


Auction Committee
Becky Stewart
Sue Wick

Friends of the Year


Becky & John Duffey

2019 —David Pierro
2018 — Jeanne and George Webster
2017 — Aon
2016 — Karen J. Golden
2015 — The Foglia Family Foundation
2014 — Bud and Jim Porter
2013 — Carol and Mike Donahue
2012 — Andrea Billhardt
2011 — Gary, Jean & Beth Lederer
2010 — George and Pam Rion
2009 — Greg Osko
2008 — Jim and Lynn Armbruster
2007 — Joel Thompson
2006 — Robert Paddock/Paddock Publications
2005 — Bruce Jensen and Gail Ludewig/Total Works
2004 — Kevin Acker/West Suburban Bank
2003 — Senator James “Pate” Philip
2002 — Everett Van Der Molen
2001 — Congressman Henry Hyde
2000 — Robert Bernard
1999 — Dennis Langley and Peter Cyrus
1999 — Senator Steven J. Rauschenberger
1998 — Robert Smetana
1998 — Gwendolyn S. Henry
1997 — Father John Guiney
1996 — James D. Anderson
1995 — Jean Jordan
1994 — Jim Ford
1993 — Dennis Zimmerman
1992 — Michael Brenan
1991 — Richard Theriault
1990 — Gale Sayers
1989 — John P. Frazee
1988 — Birger Nyborg
1987 — Paul Greening
1986 — Thomas O. Myers, Jr.
1985 — Doris Whitney
1984 — Erhardt Weidmann
1983 — Richard Rathman
1982 — Edwin Deicke
1981 — Hiriam Sibley

Top Hat History

The ball was established in 1997 when donors Jim Ford and Len Patyka chaired Marklund’s first-ever black tie gala. The event was held at the Shedd Aquarium and net $50,000, a great accomplishment for a first-year event! The ball immediately outgrew the Shedd space the following year and has moved to many venues since then, including the Field Museum, Union Station, Navy Pier, and Marriott hotels.

Since its inception, the ball has raised more than $6,808,261 in net proceeds, which has supported Marklund’s general operating and endowment funds.

Looking Back at the Top Hat Ball…
Top Hat Ball 2016
Top Hat Ball 2017
Top Hat Ball 2018
Top Hat Ball 2019