As Triton graduates, we encourage you to stay connected to the institution that provided the foundation for your success. Triton College Alumni Relations seeks to connect our 50,000 degree and certificate holders to fellow alumni, the college and community.
We offer our alumni exclusive benefits and opportunities to re-engage with Triton and encourage alumni to explore the many ways to stay connected for life to their alma mater. Become a member of the Triton College Alumni Association and enjoy all the benefits of being Triton College alumni.
Questions? Contact the Triton Alumni Office:
708-456-0300, Ext. 3692
Click the links below to learn more about Alumni Association, Benefits, how to submit nominations for the Wall of Fame, and upcoming Alumni events.
Alumni Wall of Fame
Triton College alumnus and artist Aaron Canino of Hillside felt nothing but pride presenting David B. Guerin, mayor of River Grove, with two pieces of artwork on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
Canino’s painting of the iconic Gene and Jude’s hot dog stand is nostalgic to him. He also created a collage of several River Grove well-known landmarks, including The Thirsty Whale, the River Grove Fire Department and Brunswick Zone.
“I did a substation amount of research to identify the best businesses and municipalities to represent in my art,” explained Canino. “In my opinion, 'Gene and Jude’s' is the most well-known landmark in River Grove.”
Canino has made a career of selling his architectural artwork to communities within Triton’s district, such as Broadview, Rosemont, Melrose Park, Proviso Township, Maywood and Hillside, among others.
Growing up in Hillside, he became interested in art at an early age. While a student at Proviso West High School, Canino was encouraged by his art teacher, Jerry Jenkins, to get involved in a local art show.
“That art show experience made me want to pursue a career in art,” he said. “I realized that I really enjoyed drawing architecture. It became my inspiration.”
Michaleen “Micki” Lewis
Michaleen “Micki” Lewis is committed to helping organizations achieve their vision. Currently the senior organizational development consultant with computer technology corporation, Oracle, Lewis began her postsecondary education at Triton College, earning an associate degree in Ophthalmic Technology.
While gaining the technical proficiency needed to succeed in the eye care field, Lewis described other ways community college prepared her for life-long learning.
“Triton College helped develop my communication skills,” she said. “The college developed a higher level of patience in me and built my skillset towards understanding people.”
As Lewis continued her career path, so did her education. She completed a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in management and organizational behavior from Benedictine University, as well as professional certifications in coaching and talent development.
Lewis, who grew up in Unincorporated Leyden Township, graduated from St. John Vianney School and West Leyden High School, both located in Northlake, Ill. She was introduced to eye care as a career option while participating in West Leyden’s summer healthcare work program.
Students at Triton College have benefitted from Lewis’ expertise, both as a faculty member and guest speaker.
Gary Linden is the museum curator of the Chicagoland Combined Veterans Museum in River Grove. He credits Triton College for giving him the tools to achieve his dreams.
“I feel like I truly made a difference in the world,” he said. “I learned so much at Triton College that helped me get to where I am today.”
Linden grew up in River Grove and graduated from Rhodes School in 1966, East Leyden High School in 1970 and then Triton College in 1972. After graduating from Triton, he worked a few different jobs, but realized he wanted to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. In December 1973, Linden became a member of the River Grove Police Department as a reserve officer when was he was 21.
In October 1978, Linden became a full-time police officer for the River Forest Police Department. During his career, he was a patrol officer and then was promoted to sergeant on July 17, 1997. He retired on Nov. 7, 2002. During that time, he was also an evidence technician, juvenile officer, field training officer and foot patrol officer in River Forest.
“I received 11 letters of recommendation, 14 unit citations, eight honorable mentions and in 1989, I received Officer of the Year. In 1996, I won the Cook County Sherriff’s Medal of Merit,” he said.
As a River Forest sergeant, Linden said he had to do a lot of administrative work as well as serving the public. He feels that his business degree from Triton College prepared him well for his role as sergeant.
Linden became the museum curator for The Chicagoland Combined Veterans Museum in February 2021. As a museum curator, he said he enjoys interacting with the public when they enter the museum.
“One of the most important lessons I learned from my time at Triton College is to always treat people with dignity and respect,” he said.
When it comes to Linden’s dedication to preserving the legacy of veterans, he noted he gets inspiration from all the American veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedom.
“We live in the greatest country in the world,” he exclaimed. “We have veterans to thank for that. Veterans should always be honored and respected. In this museum, their legacy can be remembered for generations to come. They are the real heroes.”
Other than working at the museum, Linden’s passion is writing. He has published numerous articles for toy magazines such as Collecting Toys, Plastic Figure & Playset Collectors and the book Marx Western Playsets.
When not working at the museum or on his writing, Linden enjoys spending time with his niece and nephew, and great nieces and nephews.
Bulmaro “Bull” Saavedra
Bulmaro “Bull” Saavedra of Morton Grove is the owner of Hay Caramba!, a Mexican restaurant in Park Ridge. With a successful business under his belt, many would think Saavedra achieved the embodiment of the American Dream. However, Saavedra’s road to success has not always been smooth.
Saavedra grew up in Mexico in a small town called Los Sauces, Guerrero. Growing up, he struggled in school and wanted to move to the United States, eventually immigrating to Chicago in 1973. Once in Chicago, he began working for Standard Grinding & Mfg. Co., a machinery business located in Skokie.
“Standard Grinding sent me to Triton College and enrolled me in the Machine Tool Technology Program to learn how to run machinery,” he explained. “At the time, I hardly spoke any English, so going to Triton taught me a lot. It was an amazing school experience.”
Saavedra married his wife Josephine in 1975, and soon after, began thinking about starting his own business, his lifelong dream. Making this dream a reality, he opened his first restaurant in Chicago, in 1986. By 1989, Saavedra found himself no longer working full time, but spent all his time at the restaurant.
In 1991, Saavedra and his wife decided to open a restaurant in Park Ridge called Hay Caramba! Recently celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their opening, Saavedra noted that Hay Caramba! serves several of their old family recipes, with the fajitas being Saavedra’s favorite.
“During the pandemic, we stayed open for carryout, so our business was still able to thrive,” he said. “We are grateful that we enjoy a lot of support from the community.”
Now, as a successful restaurant owner, Saavedra and his wife enjoy serving customers and making them happy.
“Hospitality is a wonderful way to connect with the community and share in their celebrations of life,” he said.
Although the job can be challenging, since they must sacrifice nights and weekends, Saavedra feels it is worth the hard work they have put into their restaurant. He’s grateful that Triton College gave him the foundation and tools to run and open a successful business.
When Saavedra is not working, he enjoys relaxing with his family and traveling. Saavedra and his wife Josephine have two adult children, Michael and Marlene, who work at the restaurant with their parents.
Maryna Salkovski, Ph.D., a 2014 Triton College graduate, is inspired by entrepreneurship, diligence and coffee.
“I believe in working hard, having fun and meeting a lot of great people along the way!” she expressed.
Salkovski is the founder and CEO of Bean Bar, a coffee vending machine company with a high-end product. Bean Bar serves high quality hot drinks, such as cappuccinos, hot chocolate and lattes, and has a machine that’s open for business in the Triton College Library.
“Bean Bar offers delicious, healthy, on-demand, high quality espresso drinks,” she noted. “It’s ideal for any college or university student and staff alike!”
Salkovski, born in Ukraine, immigrated to the United States when she was 6 years old. She grew up in River Grove, attended East Leyden High School and worked in the community at Goody’s Fast Food (located in River Grove). After East Leyden, she was accepted into the Scholar’s Program at Triton College. She knew she wanted to attend Triton which she felt was a “perfect fit from every angle.”
“I liked how student oriented Triton was and I expanded my experience in the Scholar’s Program. The location and price were perfect, and the faculty were very welcoming and helpful,” she explained.
After Salkovski graduated from Triton, she attended Elmhurst College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She continued her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying autophagy and received a doctorate degree in chemistry from The Aldrich Lab.
Salkovski said the idea for Bean Bar came when visiting her husband’s home country of Bulgaria. She explained that in Bulgaria, coffee vending is ubiquitous and believed people back home would enjoy the convenience of a coffee bar while studying or working.
“My husband Tihomir and I are coffee aficionadas and wanted to bring this concept to the states,” she noted. “We found a manufacturer from overseas and the rest is history.”
After purchasing a coffee vending machine, Salkovski and her husband took to their lab (aka their kitchen) and spent several months perfecting different coffee recipes to make sure every drink is delicious, healthy and made with the cleanest ingredients. After finetuning the recipes, Salkovski came up with the name Bean Bar and the slogan “We Bean Business”. They are in the process of getting both trademarked.
Salkovski explained that after a lot of emails, Triton College was kind enough to give her the opportunity to install a Bean Bar machine in the Library. The Library has since created a “Library Café” where students can get a cup of coffee from Bean Bar, relax and read a magazine while they take a break from studying.
“We are forever grateful to Triton College,” she said.
In the future, Salkovski wants to expand to other locations, such as schools, businesses and airports. The goal is to grow the business nationwide and create a line of healthy and delicious products people can enjoy at home.
When Salkovski is not growing her business, she likes to dance, socialize, and of course, drink coffee.