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Leaders in health care and financial wellbeing were recognized by Dominican University with honorary degrees during commencement ceremonies this year.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, CEO of Sinai Chicago health system, and Adela Cepeda, chair of Angeles Investors, were each presented with honorary doctorate degrees on Sunday, May 5. Ezike addressed the undergraduate class and Cepeda addressed graduate degree recipients during afternoon ceremonies at the Rosemont Theatre.

Ezike was recognized by the university for her dedication to promoting health care equity, serving in-need communities and consistently demonstrating excellence in leadership.

Adela Cepeda was recognized by Dominican University for her leadership and knowledge of finance to ensure the success of others and the betterment of communities.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike
Ngozi Ezike, MD

Prior to joining Sinai Chicago in 2022, Ezike served as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2019 to 2022, guiding the state through the COVID-19 pandemic with information and preventative measures. She was the first Black woman, and only the second female, to lead the department in its nearly 150-year history. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called her a “beacon of stability for millions during a time of tremendous uncertainty.”

A board-certified internist and pediatrician, Ezike spent more than 15 years with Cook County Health, providing care to marginalized and vulnerable communities. Her work included in-patient care as an attending physician at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and serving as medical director of Austin Health Center on Chicago’s West Side and medical director of Cermak Health Services at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center of Cook County.  She also provided primary and preventative care in community and school-based clinics.

Ezike is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Jane Addams Medal of Freedom and USA Today's Inaugural Women of the Year Award for the State of Illinois.

Adela Cepeda

Adela Cepeda is the co-founder of Angeles Investors, a firm with a mission of funding and growing Hispanic business ventures. As a financial specialist, she seeks out promising, Latine-owned companies in need of investment, opening doors for entrepreneurs.

Beginning her career on Wall Street, Cepeda worked her way up the ranks to vice president of corporate finance at Smith Barney. In 1991, she transitioned to entrepreneurship, co-founding Abacus Financial Group, a fixed income asset management firm, and four years later launched A.C. Advisory, which provided financial advisory services to corporations and governments.

Cepeda has served on a number of boards, including the Board of Directors of BMO Financial Corp., the U.S. holding company for BMO Harris Bank; the corporate boards for Mercer Mutual Funds, Pathway Funds and USB Funds; the Cook County Council of Economic Advisors; and the board of the Chicago Housing Authority, among others.

She is also the recipient of many awards, including the Silicon Valley Lifetime Leadership Award and the Leadership Greater Chicago Distinguished Fellow Award. For three consecutive years she was recognized among the 50 Most Powerful Latinas by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and in 2021, the National Association of Corporate Directors selected her for inclusion in its Directorship 100, a recognition given to influential leaders in corporate governance.