CHICAGO
02/11/2011 11:27 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Donald Rumsfeld Skipping Controversial Award Dinner At New Trier High School

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will take a pass on a dinner in his honor at his alma mater high school.

New Trier High School, a prestigious public high school in Chicago's affluent north suburbs, is hosting an Alumni Awards dinner on March 22. The dinner is being thrown to celebrate the first ten inductees into the school's new "Hall of Fame."

Inductees include everyone from cancer researcher Todd Holub (class of 1981) to former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner (class of 1970).

But the school stirred up a controversy by also naming Rumsfeld to the Hall of Fame. Some alumni questioned whether a man widely seen as the architect of the Bush Administration's torture policies represents "the New Trier values of inquiry, compassion, and service" that the Award claims to honor.

"It's embarrassing not only for me as an alum, but for New Trier as a community," said Breida Martin, who graduated from New Trier in 2005.

Class of '92 alum Chad Topaz wrote in Winnetka Talk that "[Rumsfeld's] activities as an architect of torture of detainees in the United States' unjust Iraq war are anti-humanitarian, are despised around the globe, and have contributed to the degradation of our country's international standing."

So perhaps it's no surprise that Rumsfeld will be skipping out on the meeting honoring inductees into the Hall of Fame.

He won't be the only Hall of Famer to miss the dinner. "The Office" star Rainn Wilson '84 and aged modern dance pioneer Anna Halprin '38 will also be taking a pass, TribLocal reports.

One notable alum who failed to win entry into the hall: Chicago mayoral front-runner Rahm Emanuel.