After graduating from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1973, 17 year-old Dominic Surprenant wanted to pursue higher education, but his family could not afford to send him to college.
Dominic became a janitor on the night shift at the K-Mart in Kankakee. In the fall, Surprenant landed a job as an orderly at what is now Shapiro Developmental Center on the 3 to 11 p.m. shift. The facility was five minutes from KCC, and Dominic enrolled at KCC in the winter term of 1973-1974.
In 1975, he earned an Associate in Arts degree, and had saved enough money to transfer to Illinois State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors in 1977. He then graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985.
Surprenant credits his success equally to KCC and Harvard. He explains, “I would say that both points in the arc of my education – a local community college and Harvard Law School – were equally important to forming my views as a trial lawyer and, in many respects, as a person.”
Today,Surprenant is a senior partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, the largest litigation-only law firm in the U.S., with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, London, Tokyo, Chicago and Mannheim, Germany. His clients include Sprint/Nextel, Miramax Films, Continental and Northwest Airlines, General Motors, Avery Dennison, and many others.
Surprenant also is committed to a number of charitable causes. He returned to KCC in 2009 as the keynote speaker for the Kankakee Community College Foundation’s “Blue Tie Gala,” a donor recognition and award dinner. He resides in Los Angeles.