Posts Tagged Marc Shulman

Getting Ready to Light the Lights–the 2008 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

It was in 1992 that we first celebrated the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in its current form. The leaders of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association had started celebrating the holidays with ceremonies in Water Tower Park in the 1950′s and later by lighting Italian Lights in the trees on the Magnificent Mile in 1959

Today the Magnificent Mile Lights Festivals is one of the country’s premiere holiday events.





Eli’s Cheesecake will again be part of Lights Festival Lane on Saturday, November 22nd. Come meet Eli’s Big Slice while supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository (bring in a can of food and receive a free slice of Eli’s Cheesecake or donate $20 and receive a free Eli’s Cheesecake). Eli’s will also be partnering with the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and offering free Eli’s Cheesecake Slice Decorating for children.






This is a historic year for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival as the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association’s, Ellen Farrar, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, has authored “The Magnificent Mile Lights
Festival” as part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America Series. The first book ever written about the holidays on the Magnificent Mile, it tells the story of the development of this Great Avenue of the World, how the holidays have been celebrated on the Magnificent Mile since the early 1950′s and the founding in 1992 and continued growth of what is now the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. It was my honor to be Founding Chairman of the event in 1992 and to watch it grow because of such great volunteer, civic, government and sponsor support.









Maureen and Marc Schulman join Mickey Mouse for a preview of the Lights Festival at Pioneer Court. Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts have been an integral part of the Lights Festival since 1994.

It was an honor for me to be able to pre-tape a welcome from the members and volunteers of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association to viewers of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Broadcast on ABC 7 Chicago and
affiliates nationally. Joining me for the taping was a special guest from Disney World who is known to like cheese and of course cheesecake!







The success of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival would not be possible without the support of our presenting sponsor, Harris Bank, here represented by Hubert the Harris Lion, and the dedicated staff of the Greater
North Michigan Avenue Association. 2008 will mark the 4th Lights Festival for John Maxson, as President and CEO of the GNMAA.

I am most grateful to John, to Ellen Farrar, who is the staff leader for the event and who has so passion for the Lights Festival and to all the other staff members at GNMAA. I am also most grateful to my friend and
former GNMAA President, Russ Salzman, who was such a strong advocate and believer of the potential of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival since that first walk up the Magnificent Mile in 1992.

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“Lessons from My Father” by Rance Crain in Crain’s Chicago Business and Marc Schulman’s letter to the editor in response

In my most recent Blog posting, I shared the article from the
Herzl LIGHT in 1948 on Eli’s sign “if you have no money, you we will feed you
free.” On the same date that I wrote the Blog posting, I sent an e-mail to Rance
Crain, the Editor In Chief, of Crain’s Chicago Business in response to his
article below on “Lessons from My Father–Starting Out in a Downturn Requires
Nerve–Plus Plenty of Optimism.” Both Mr. Crain and my dad started in the
Depresssion and had the vision and courage to overcome adversity and to achieve
long term success.

I was delighted when the Editor called from Crain’s and told me
that that would run my e-mail in this week’s issue as a Letter to the Editor. It
appears below and it is a message that I am delighted to share as we look for
direction and counsel in these challenging times.


From this week’s

Letters to the editor

November 17, 2008
A dad’s

Rance Crain’s column “Lessons from my father” (Focus,
Nov. 10) was most inspirational. I shared it with all 200 of our people at

You don’t hear words like “optimism, enthusiasm and
determination” enough right now. My dad, Eli Schulman, passed away in 1988 at
the age of 78. In reading your column, I thought of all the lessons that he gave
me in how to approach the public and how to overcome adversity.

Eli opened his first restaurant in 1940 and put a sign in the
window that read, “If you have no money, we will feed you free.” He remembered what it was like to be hungry and without money.

We were very fortunate to have fathers who understood and
overcame the Depression. Too many parents and children today have only
experienced prosperity and don’t have the benefit of that ability to deal with
adverse conditions.

Thank you, Mr. Crain, for your continued focus on your business
and people. I was at Crain’s 40 Under 40 reception recently and spoke
with several staff members who spoke of how good it was to have family ownership
that had a long-term perspective to the business as opposed to many of the
failed media deals of the last decade.

Marc S. Schulman
President, Eli’s Cheesecake

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Thank You President Elect Obama for your service to the people of Illinois as our Senator

On Sunday, President Elect Obama published the letter below to
Illinois citizens as he undertakes the transition to become our 44th President
on January 20th. We appreciate his service to our State and his attention
particularly to the affairs of our Veterans.

It was on May 20th of 2005 that Senators Obama and Durbin came
to Wright College to hold a Veterans Town Hall Summit with Veteran’s Affairs
Secretary Jim Nicholson. It was my pleasure to greet the Senators that day and
for Eli’s to serve our cheesecake to all participants.


Obama’s Letter to Illinois
Newspapers–published in Illinois newspapers on Sunday, November 16,

 Today, I am ending one journey to begin
another. After serving the people of Illinois in the United States Senate — one
of the highest honors and privileges of my life — I am stepping down as senator
to prepare for the responsibilities I will assume as our nation’s next
president. But I will never forget, and will forever be grateful, to the men and
women of this great state who made my life in public service

More than two decades ago, I arrived in Illinois as a young man
eager to do my part in building a better America. On the South Side of Chicago,
I worked with families who had lost jobs and lost hope when the local steel
plant closed. It wasn’t easy, but we slowly rebuilt those neighborhoods one
block at a time, and in the process I received the best education I ever had.
It’s an education that led me to organize a voter registration project in
Chicago, stand up for the rights of Illinois families as an attorney and
eventually run for the Illinois state Senate.

It was in Springfield, in the heartland of America,
where I saw all that is America converge — farmers and teachers, businessmen and
laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the
table, all of them clamoring to be heard. It was there that I learned to
disagree without being disagreeable; to seek compromise while holding fast to
those principles that can never be compromised, and to always assume the best in
people instead of the worst. Later, when I made the decision to run for the
United States Senate, the core decency and generosity of the American people is
exactly what I saw as I traveled across our great state — from Chicago to Cairo;
from Decatur to Quincy.

I still remember the young woman in East St. Louis who had the
grades, the drive and the will but not the money to go to college. I remember
the young men and women I met at VFW halls across the state who serve our nation
bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I will never forget the workers in
Galesburg who faced the closing of a plant they had given their lives to, who
wondered how they would provide health care to their sick children with no job
and little savings.

Stories like these are why I came to Illinois all those years
ago, and they will stay with me when I go to the White House in January. The
challenges we face as a nation are now more numerous and difficult than when I
first arrived in Chicago, but I have no doubt that we can meet them. For
throughout my years in Illinois, I have heard hope as often as I have heard
heartache. Where I have seen struggle, I have seen great strength. And in a
state as broad and diverse in background and belief as any in our nation, I have
found a spirit of unity and purpose that can steer us through the most troubled

It was long ago that another son of Illinois left for
Washington. A greater man who spoke to a nation far more divided, Abraham
Lincoln, said of his home, “To this place, and the kindness of these people, I
owe everything.” Today, I feel the same, and like Lincoln, I ask for your
support, your prayers, and for us to “confidently hope that all will yet be

With your help, along with the service and sacrifice of
Americans across the nation who are hungry for change and ready to bring it
about, I have faith that all will in fact be well. And it is with that faith,
and the high hopes I have for the enduring power of the American idea, that I
offer the people of my beloved home a very affectionate

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Chicago Public School Principal for a Day Honors Eli’s Cheesecake with a 2008 Outstanding School Partnership Award








Mayor Richard M. Daley created Principal for a Day in 1998 as a way to involve Chicago’s civic and business community in individual schools throughout Chicago. This year over 1,600 Chicagoans served as Principals for a Day. Above, Mayor Daley congratulates Eli’s Marc Schulman on Eli’s long term partnership with the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and being recognized with a
Outstanding Partnership Award








The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences has over 100 Award Winning Partnerships. The recognition for Eli’s Cheesecake Partnership with CHSAS was just example of the commitment of the faculty, staff and students to being great community partners. Above, Principal William Hook, Assistant Principal Dolphin Harris, Master Ag Teacher and Advisory Board Liaison Lucille Shaw, special guest Adam C. Powell IV, Marc Schulman and David Gilligan, Chief High School Officer celebrate the recognition for CHSAS–the only high school
receiving a partnership award.









Marc Schulman thanks David Gilligan, former principal at CHSAS, and now head of all Chicago High Schools, for his continued support of the students and programs at CHSAS. Since many of Marc’s conversations at home involve CHSAS and agriculture, Maureen Schulman congratulates Marc on being recognized for his long term commitment to the school.








The CHSAS Advisory Board has over 50 members who work with the
school throughout the year. Advisory Board Co-chair Rouhy Shalabi, is also a
CHSAS parent and a Chicago Park District Commissioner and works with Marc and
Lucille Shaw and William Hook to expand partnerships and opportunities for the
students. On the right, Marc was honored to meet Adam C. Powell IV, the grandson
of noted New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, who is the namesake of a
Chicago Public School. This was the first time that Adam C. Powell IV had
visited the school and attended Principal for a Day.










12th Principal for a Day event brings thousands
into Chicago Public Schools

The goal of Principal for a Day is to encourage community and business leaders, celebrities and other individuals to form partnerships with Chicago public schools. Many Principals for a Day have formed long-term relationships with their schools and helped many students along the way. At the Principal for a Day luncheon at Hilton Chicago & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave., event sponsor Merrill Lynch announced the 2008 0Outstanding School Partnership Award Winners, recognizing real CPS principals and their guest “principals,” who best symbolize the
partnership spirit of P

  • Partner: EXPRESS Stores – Michael Weis, CEO
    School: Bateman Elementary School – Carl Dasko, Principal
  • Partner: Eli’s Cheesecake Company – Marc Schulman, CEO
    School: Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences – William Hook, Principal
  • Partner: Chicago Board Options Exchange – William Brodsky, Chairman & CEO
    School: Drake Elementary School – Yvonne Jones, Principal
  • Partner: Alcan Packaging, Chicago Office – Nicole Harris, Communications Coordinator
    School: Fuller Elementary School – Dr. Patricia Kennedy, Principal
  • Partner: Ensemble Español – Dame Libby Komaiko, Founder & Artistic Director
    School: Kilmer Elementary School – Miguel Trujillo, Principal



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Having Words with Eli’s Marc Schulman in Nations Restaurant News

My dad was most proud of having Eli’s the Place for Steak named to the Nation’s Restaurant News Hall of Fame, the most prestigious award for an independent restaurant. For that reason, it was a great honor for me to be profiled in the “Having Words With” column in the September 29th

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Eli’s Cheesecake Festival Featured by Neil Steinberg in the Sun Times

September 19,


Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun Time Columnist

Not just plain or chocolate

Why, Margie Ware wanted to know, looking around the room with
the wide-eyed wonder that makes a good tour guide, why are the big bricks of
cream cheese coming into the Eli’s Cheesecake factory wrapped in BLUE plastic
wrap? Why isn’t it clear, like most plastic wrap?

Hands shot up.

To protect it from the light? Because it’s anti-bacterial?
Because blue keeps out the air better?

No, no, and no.

Margie waited until all the theories had been floated, and then
let loose with the forehead-slapping truth.

“We wrap the cream cheese in blue plastic,” she said, “so if any
plastic goes into the vat, we see it.”

Of course!

That’s why I love factory tours. They are little universities of
practical knowledge, in Eli’s case, the wisdom that comes from turning out up to
25,000 cheesecakes a day. Some aspects are vastly familiar –the cakes still go
into a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes, just like at home. And some are wildly
out of scale — the cakes are mixed in 500-pound batches in mixers 8 feet

To be honest, cheesecake never particularly floated my boat. But
the boys had a day off school, and I knew that the Eli’s factory,
just west of Wright College, is one of a dwindling number of area manufacturers
that still welcome their customers to take a peek. They also have an upscale
deli and a thrift shop bakery, where you can pick up imperfect cheesecakes for

The tour had quizzes and prizes and a film featuring, it seemed, every
celebrity to visit or taste an Eli’s cheesecake. In one corner, the original
Mixmaster where Eli Schulman began whipping up cheesecakes in his namesake
steakhouse stands unobtrusively.

His son, Marc Schulman, joined us for lunch — I don’t think he does that for
every visiting customer, but he just might. Cheesecake is a very serious thing
to him, his father’s legacy.

“His dream was this cheesecake,” said Schulman, who wears the Cartier
wristwatch that Frank Sinatra gave his father.

Eli’s 12th annual Cheesecake Festival takes place all day Saturday and
Sunday. The event includes music and demonstrations, such as Beth Nielsen, owner
of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, telling tales of “America’s favorite ingredient” and
showing how to prepare her Cherry Vanilla Chicken, or Diane Smith, of the
Michigan Apple Committee. The full schedule, which includes a classic car show,
is posted online. (www.eli There will be cheesecake and
lots of it.

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There’s Cheesecake Everywhere..the 1st Anniversary of Crossings in Knoxville

Friday, February 15

There’s cheesecake everywhere…

As I mentioned earlier, this past Sunday was our 1st Birthday at Crossings…below are some great pictures from the day.

You’ll notice a common theme of Cheesecake throughout…Here’s why, if you don’t already know.

Last year, my dear friend Tim Sutherland from CCC in Naperville donated Eli’s Cheesecake to us at
Crossings for our launch. It was actually a designed part of the teaching that day with a challenge to come ‘taste and see’.

Well, Eli’s president, Marc Schulman, found out about our little cheesecake party and about 11 months ago generously committed to
provide cheesecake for the entire community every year on our birthday…forever (I’m assuming the ‘forever’

What a gracious, kind gift from Eli’s…thank you.

And thank you to all you out there who, in whatever way, have made this past year such a great adventure full of tremendous joy…


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When traded by the Cubs, Pitcher Sean Gallagher stops by Harry Caray’s to pick up Eli’s Turtle Cheesecake on his way to Oakland

July 10, 2008


Former Cubbie Sean Gallagher, who was just traded to the
Oakland A’s, stopped by Harry Caray’s to pick up some Eli’s Turtle Cheesecake
before leaving town. Eli’s Marc Schulman and the eatery’s Grant
promised they will send cheesecake to Sean’s new

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Marc Schulman Delivers Commencement Address at Wright College on May 8th, 2008

Wright College has a very special place in our hearts and minds for all of us at Eli’s. Throughout the year, our business and personal lives at Eli’s are much richer because of our
partnership with Wright. I had the pleasure to share my thoughts about the relationship on May 8th when I delivered the Commencement Address at the 74th Annual Commencement Exercises.




















Marc S. Schulman, Commencement Address at Wright College—May 8, 2008

President Guengerich, Vice Chancellor Mutz, members of the faculty, staff, parents and members of the Class of 2008 of Wright College.

Each year, I look forward to Graduation Day at Wright College.

We came to this community, first renting a building on Dakin Street, in 1984 to pursue the dream of my dad, Eli Schulman to sell his signature cheesecake beyond the doors of his
restaurant, Eli’s the Place for Steak.

As we started to grow, we wanted to stay in the neighborhood and I remember taking my dad in March of 1988 to show him the then vacant land at the corner of Montrose and Narragansett (right where we are tonight) and telling him that this would be the place for
our new bakery. It took 8 years but in 1996, we moved to Eli’s Cheesecake World,
our bakery, headquarters and cafe just a block west of here.

My relationship with Wright College started on this same site where are this evening. On Saturday, October 8, 1988, I came upon a large tent here as then Mayor Eugene Sawyer and other dignitaries, including then Professor Guengerich, celebrated the ground
breaking for this campus. Since then Wright has been an integral part of my life.

We have worked together to help our people at Eli’s and to help our community. Our work with our GED Program, Eli’ U., resulted in a visit by Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton
(the first of his three visits to Wright) and the beginning of partnership between Wright, Eli’s and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. We jointly sponsor a weekly Farmers Market during the summer with Wright and are very proud that Eli’s and Stewart’s Coffee support the SGA Café by donating 100% of the products so that all the proceeds can go to student scholarships selected by the SGA.

In January of 2006, we celebrated with Wright and special guests from the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and the Chinese Government, the 100th Anniversary of the visit of Chinese Imperial Commissioners to Chicago and to the institutions that were on this
site—the Cook County Infirmary and Hospital for the Insane.

In February of 2007, Eli’s celebrated with our neighboring businesses the renaming of our business park as the Wright Campus Business Park. This came in recognition of our close
partnership and the support that Wright provides for industry and our respective businesses.

When Dr. Guengerich invited me to deliver the commencement speech, I was most honored as I now have the distinction of doing so on two occasions. It was in June of 1993, when I gave the last commencement address at the Austin Avenue Campus of Wright. That
was a momentous event as Wright was leaving its home of nearly 60 years.

While the original facility was designed to be a junior high school, Wright was leaving for a modern facility designed by world famous architect Bertrand Goldberg to be a community college

Many things have changed from 1993 to the present. For example, my youngest daughter, Elana, then 3, is now a high school senior.

Technology has also changed and the way we learn and access information. There was no Google—it was not until 1995 that E-bay, the online auction web site, made its debut ….and not
until 1998 that two Stanford students started GOOGLE…a now indispensable part of
our lives.

All this technology helps me pursue my love of history and information. I hate to throw things away, save remnants of newspapers, and have always been a great fan of Chicago history, an interest that was passed on to me by dad, Eli.

My favorite time in Chicago History is the Century of Progress in 1933 and 1934. Held during the Depression, the Century of Progress celebrated the 100th anniversary of the settling of Chicago—it had paid attendance of over 39 million, finished with a profit and introduced a new style of modern architecture to the world.

The Century of Progress opened in dramatic fashion on May 27, 1933 with a beam of light from the star Arcturus traveling 40 light years to Chicago—225 million miles.

In the shadow of all this excitement in Chicago, there was a terrible blow to public higher education in Chicago as Crane Junior College; the only junior college in Chicago was closed because of budget issues less than 60 days after the opening of the Century of
Progress. Over 4,000 students were suddenly without a school to attend.

There was tremendous public outcry to “Save our Schools” and in 1934—three junior colleges were opened—Herzl (now Malcolm X), Wilson (now Kennedy King) and Wright

There were 10 graduates in the February Class of 1935, 70 in June, and by 1936, there were almost 400 graduates—very close to the number of graduates here this evening.

In my quest to learn more about these early classes of 35 and 36, I became an avid user of E-Bay to find Wright memorabilia. Last year I was very fortunate to purchase the Wright
Yearbooks—“The Survey”–from 1935 and 1936.

In that Class of 1935, was Herbert C. Brown. His father died in 1926, when he was 14 years old. He left school to work in family’s store but then entered Crane Junior College with an interest in chemistry. He had been there for one semester when the school

With other students, he went to the personal lab of his instructor at Crane, Dr. Nicholas Cheronis. When Wright opened, Mr. Brown and wife to be, Sarah Baylen, followed Dr. Cheronis to Wright. In his yearbook in 1935, Sarah wrote that Herbert C. Brown would one day be a Nobel Laureate.

He was! In 1979, Professor Brown of Purdue, a holder of a PhD from the University of Chicago, and his Associates Degree from Wright received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from a Nicholas Cheronis, a partner at Deloitte with his Weekly Compensation & Benefits Report. I quickly wrote back to find out “was
that his namesake” and yes it was. Nicholas, advised me that his grandfather had
continued to inspire many more Wright College and other students until his untimely passing in 1963.

In 1935, Wright also had aWomen’s Athletic Council headed by Katherine Curtis. Under her leadership the entire student body had a Splash Party—so successful that another was held two weeks later.

Katherine Curtis had been the organizer of the “Modern Mermaids” at the Century of Progress, the basis for the Olympic sport “Synchronized Swimming.” It was also in May of 1939 that the first ever dual meet in Synchronized Swimming was held at Wright

There are Dr. Nicholas Cheronis’ and Katherine Curtis’ in the faculty that sits with you today. Their national recognition may not occur for many years to come but their passion for you, the students, is second to none!

I am also sure that there are many Herbert C. Brown’s in this room. Losing his father at a young age, living through the Depression, and seeing his college closed were serious
impediments to success….but Herbert C. Brown overcame them all…as you will.

I also think of my parents—my grandfather died when my father was a teenager and my father was never able to graduate high school. My mother, Esther Schulman, went to Marshall High School and graduated in 1936. Several of her classmates went on to Wright
but my mother went on to join the workforce.

As I watch the joy of your parents, particularly those for whom you are the first generation to graduate college, I think back to my parent’s joy when I graduated from college
and law school….all due to their hard work and savings.

To appreciate the rich history of Wright College and the achievements of its graduates is extremely critical right now.

On a national level, community colleges have been the talk of this Presidential Campaign. John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama don’t agree on many issues—except the
need to make college affordable and to create opportunities at the community college level. If you do a Google Search for John McCain for “community colleges,” you get over 300,000 entries, for Hillary Clinton, 323,000 entries and for Barack Obama, 1,890,000 entries…..and it grows everyday as each of the candidates seems to be speaking at a community college to its students.

At Wright, programs in Green Technology under the direction of Professor Victoria Cooper, and the partnership with the Lumina Foundation to expand transfer opportunities to the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana are the cutting edge of what a
community college should be doing.

Several weeks ago, I met Matthew Rotstein, Associate Dean of Admissions from Columbia University in New York, who visited Wright because of the shared interest in the Great Books Program that is championed by Professor Gans at Wright. About his visit,
Rotstein wrote “it was by far the best first visit to a college that I have ever
participated in and I do believe that it will be the start of a long relationship between Columbia and Wright College.” He continued “I am looking forward to seeing applications form the students I met on campus and would welcome other applications from students interested in transferring to Columbia.” This is from a school that is ranked 9th of all universities in the United States—with an acceptance rate of 11%. Succeed at Wright and see the doors that are opened for you!

Another thing that Columbia University and Wright College have in common is a rich history in football. It was Sid Luckman, later of great fame at the Chicago Bears, who was
named the outstanding college quarterback in the country in 1938. In 1947, my uncle, Glenn “Buddy” Schulman played on the Wright College football team…Number 40…a 190 lb. tackle who graduated from Wright and went on to IIT.

There is a discussion in the media about how the cost of college can be worth it despite the debt. The authors suggest that somehow the choice of a degree from a community college or a four year institution are mutually exclusive. Many of you will prove that the
degree from Wright is just one step on your academic journey.

It is very fitting that Wright is named for Wilbur Wright, one of the Wright Brothers, who changed the world by flying the first airplane on December 17, 1903. It was one hundred
years later that Wright hosted the 100th Anniversary of Flight for the City of Chicago. There was a very big Eli’s Cheesecake that day and slices for all you this evening.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Wright on Thursday, October 30th when Wright as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival will host a presentation by Astronaut Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the Space Shuttle in 1999 and the commander of Discovery—the Return to Flight Mission in 1999.

Commander Collins holds a Masters Degree from Stanford University, another Masters Degree from Webster University and a Bachelors Degree from Syracuse University. But just like Herbert C. Brown, her first post-secondary degree was an associate’s degree
from a community college—in her case from Corning Community College in
Corning, NY.

Aim High! Think Big! It is all possible with your degree from Wright College.

Congratulations and thank you!

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Watch Eli’s Cheesecake on Wheel of Fortune in Chicago on Monday, May 12th

Eli’s Executive Pastry Chef Laurel Boger created a special 25th Anniversary Cake for Wheel of Fortune when Pat and Vanna came to Navy Pier in Chicago recently.

The show airs on Monday, May 12th
















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