2011 Honorary Alumnus
Cary Chessick is the president and CEO of Restaurant.com. Over the past decade, Cary has grown the company to become the leading online restaurant gift certifi cate provider and a trusted source connecting 18,000 restaurants and millions of diners nationwide. To date, Restaurant.com has helped people save more than $500 million through printable, value-focused restaurant gift certifi cates. The site offers diners more than 45,000 gift certificate options, satisfying nearly any appetite and party size.
Cary is Ernst & Young's 2010 Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also an American Business Awards' fi nalist for Executive of the Year in 2010 and was most recently inducted into University of Illinois at Chicago's Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame for 2011.
Cary is dedicated to higher education, lecturing on interactive marketing and entrepreneurship classes at many local universities. Cary sits on the advisory board ofthe Interactive Marketing Department at Northern Illinois University (NIU). He is also an active member of Young Presidents' Organization and Vistage.
Giving back to the community is also an integral part of Restaurant.com's mission. Through Cary's leadership and direction, Restaurant.com has donated hundreds of thousands of gift certifi cates to support charitable causes. Cary also spearheaded Restaurant.com's award-winning altruistic endeavor, 'Feed It Forward,' which is an online giving initiative that enables consumers to give away $10 Restaurant.com gift certifi cates, for free, during the holiday season.
Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling author, Keith McFarland, describes Cary as 'One of the top three entrepreneurial minds I've ever met.' McFarland emphasizes that Cary resembles a 'Navy Seal of Business' by identifying a business target and 'getting out alive' by staying extremely focused on what really matters for the business.'
Before Restaurant.com, Cary was a practicing attorney in Chicago focusing on litigation. He attended DePaul University College of Law where he earned a J.D. law degree. Cary attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received a B.A. degree in psychology.