On May 1, 2017, Sam Cunningham was sworn in as Mayor of the City of Waukegan. Sam Cunningham is the 40th Mayor of Waukegan and the first African American. Prior to his election, Sam served for 18 years as 1st Ward Alderman. Mayor Cunningham is a 2017 Jim Edgar Fellow, the U.S. Minority Contractors Association 2017 Municipal Administrator of the Year, and the recipient of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Parren J. Mitchell Outstanding Service Award. Sam is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Waukegan Alumni Chapter).

Sam Cunningham was born and raised in Waukegan's 1st Ward. He graduated from Waukegan East High School and went onto Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing. After graduation, Sam returned to his hometown where he established a small business as a licensed Illinois insurance producer and raised his family. His two daughters, Syerra and Samantha are his pride and joy. Sam is an avid sports fan. He enjoys playing basketball at the local rec and golfing at any of Waukegan's fine courses. In his spare time, Sam enjoys attending cultural activities and listening to live jazz and blues.