Chicago Surgeon Shines: CHS Alum Makes Name for Himself in Midwest

Dr. William Ares ’02

By Charles Bruno ‘24 

Before he was an endovascular neurosurgeon with the NorthShore Medical Group in Chicago, Dr. William Ares ‘02 was a student at Chaminade High School. Ares fondly recalls his time in both the Drama Club and Glee Club, as well as the day-to-day academic activities at the school. He found his most memorable experience to be his senior-year trip, and many other graduates would surely agree. 

“The Disney trip is something that you won’t get from many other schools,” Ares said. “It really shows how the organization is able to speak to students and trust them.” 

After graduating from Chaminade in 2002, Dr. Ares earned his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in Psychological and Brain Sciences, before graduating with honors from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 2012. He is thankful for how Chaminade was able to prepare him for the “real world” while still maintaining an accepting environment. 

“Chaminade gives you the footing and understanding of how to succeed, how to work hard, how to study, and how to prepare for future endeavors and moving on to bigger things,” he explained. 

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Ares completed seven years of residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he “learned the basics of science and medicine” – or at least as basic as they get. It was here where he was faced with picking what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. After hours of work, study, and contemplation, he decided neurosurgery would be just that. More specifically, the field of neuroendovascular surgery became his forte. In this field, Dr. Ares learned how to perform surgeries on people with damaged blood vessels in or near the brain.

Taking up studies in this field proved to be a challenge, calling for the devotion of about 80-to-100 hours per week. However, it was through this intensive study that Dr. Ares reached a new level of professional performance.

“I learned how to be remarkably efficient, I learned how to take care of patients with neuroendovascular problems, and I learned to teach residents, as well, as I became more advanced,” he reflected. 

While in Pittsburgh, Dr. Ares met his future wife, Abbie, during his second year of residency. He felt he was “incredibly lucky to find someone who could tolerate [his] extensive work hours and busy schedule.” Their marriage in September of 2016 was attended by several of Will’s close friends from his time at Chaminade. These friendships he made during his time at Chaminade mean the world to him. Whether or not the Flyer Fight Song was sung at this celebration remains a mystery.

“These bonds are indelible, and even after 20 years, we still call,” he explained. “The bonds built don’t break. The people who are closest to me are from Chaminade, and that is due to the shared incredible experience that Chaminade provides.” 

In June of 2019, after completing his residency, Dr. Ares accepted a position with the NorthShore Medical System and relocated to Chicago, not far from Wrigley Field. However, before this, he took a much-deserved break from his two decades of academic dedication and enjoyed a five-week trip to Southeast Asia – the memories of which he now savors. 

Dr. Ares loves his work – especially the results he helps make possible. 

“Building relationships with patients is so important, as well as watching them get better over time,” Ares said. “We see them on the verge of death, so in six months to see them walking is very valuable.” 

On January 7, 2021, Dr. Ares and Abbie welcomed their first child, Nora Kathleen.

“Out of everything I’ve done, I feel that she’s the best of my accomplishments,” Ares boasted.

Although the responsibilities of caring for a baby and navigating through a pandemic weighed heavily on Dr. Ares, he still found time to mentor in Mineola, joining several students on a Zoom call earlier this year. As part of his presentation, Dr. Ares reminisced, recalling fondly his days as a former Flyer before giving advice regarding college and medical school.

However, the highlight of the presentation was Dr. Ares’s incorporation of photos and video clips from recent surgeries he had performed. Near the end of the Zoom with Mr. Dubon’s class, Dr. Ares presented the group with different scenarios he had encountered in his career, challenging the AP Bio students to both diagnose and treat patients. 

“Dr. Ares was able to think back to his time in a Chaminiade classroom and inspire current students with relatable information from the Chaminade curriculum that he uses daily in his practice,” explained Mr. Peter Dubon ‘99, who plans to invite Dr. Ares back into his AP Biology classroom this spring.

He shouldn’t have much trouble convincing Dr. Ares:

“I would love to do this again, as it was fulfilling for me, as well, to give back to Chaminade,” said Dr. Ares. “It’s great to give back to a place that gave so much to me.” 

As Chaminade continues to refine the multitude of options presented by the recent construction of the Dolan Family Science, Technology, and Research Center on its campus, there is little doubt that Dr. Ares will be a familiar face…at least on the sometimes-opaque laboratory windows used for live video projection.

Current AP Biology students are already looking forward to his next appearance:

“I’m so excited for Dr. Ares’s next presentation at Chaminade,” said sophomore Alex Baker. “To see a Chaminade alumnus come back to teach us about his work and seeing how it applies to what we are learning will definitely be a worthwhile experience.”