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Nominations Sought For 2018 Alumni Awards

Nominations are currently being accepted for EIU's 2018 Alumni Awards. Information on each of the alumni award categories is available below. To nominate someone for a 2018 alumni award, please complete and submit the nomination form along with any required supplementary materials by June 1, 2018.

You may also scroll further down to read about our past Alumni Award recipients!

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award which is bestowed by the Alumni Association. This award is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in either academic or literary fields, business, public service and/or service to the University and who, through their accomplishments and service, have brought prestige to their alma mater.

Alumni nominated for this award must have celebrated at least their sixth class reunion. In the case of an alumna/us who has not graduated, class year would be determined by the year he or she would have graduated.

Past recipients have included an Illinois Governor, Oscar-nominated actors, a nuclear physicist, educators at all levels, CEOs, athletes and many others.

Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award

First presented in 1988, the Alumni Service Award is presented to alumni who have repeatedly displayed outstanding voluntary service to the University. In 2007 the name was changed to the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award in honor of Eastern's outgoing president. Lou Hencken served Eastern in a variety of administrative positions for over 40 years and was named University president on August 1, 2001. He retired from the presidency on June 30, 2007.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

First presented in 1988, the Outstanding Young Alumna/us is presented to an alumna/us who is 35 years of age or younger and has excelled in a new career and/or public service.

Distinguished Educator Award

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Educator Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of K-12 education.


2017 Award Recipients

Congratulations to EIU's 2017 Alumni Award recipients!
Those recognized in 2017 included:

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Timothy Martin '06

Timothy Martin

 

After twice serving as an intern for The Wall Street Journal as an undergraduate, Timothy Martin was offered a position with the newspaper upon graduating from EIU but turned it down to teach English in South Korea. A Korean native who was adopted by his Crescent City, Illinois, family as an infant, he took the position to learn more about his heritage and homeland. While there he completed more than 1,000 hours of Korean language instruction and finished a six-level program before returning to the United States after two years and accepting an offer from The Wall Street Journal to work as a staff writer in their Chicago bureau—an extraordinary achievement for someone at that age. In 2010 he moved to the paper’s Atlanta bureau with assignments including the U.S. opioid epidemic, healthcare reform and the airline industry before being promoted in 2014 to the New York City office where he covered pension funds, university endowments and credit-rating firms. It was during this time that he broke numerous stories about the unprecedented $5 billion lawsuit between the U.S. Justice Department and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. In 2017 he accepted an assignment in Seoul, where he now lives with his wife, handling coverage of Samsung, global tech trends and North Korean cyber attacks

Distinguished Educator Award

 Kevin Settle '76

 kevin settle

Dr. Kevin Settle, a native of Charleston, served K-12 education in an exemplary manner for more than 40 years. Raised as a lifelong learner, he excelled as a math teacher, principal, assistant regional superintendent and, for the last 18 years of his career, served as the assistant superintendent and superintendent for the Mount Vernon City Schools district. He has been a leader within the community’s school system, enthusiastically demonstrating his collaborative approach to educating all children and guiding the development of numerous educational opportunities for students which resulted in the enhancement of his district’s academic performances. Settle was selected as the 2007 Illinois Superintendent of the Year—the highest statewide honor conferred in the field—and has also been recognized by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce as its Citizen of the Year. He served on the EIU Advisory Committee to Educational Administration and currently serves as a member of the Illinois State Board of Education. Now retired, Settle continues to be active in his community, having served as president of the local school foundation, president of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club, chairman of the Board for Crossroads Community Hospital, a vice-president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and chair for many other diverse community endeavors.

 

Distinguished Alumna/us Awards

 Roscoe "Dan" Cougill '63

Dan Cougill

 

Brigadier General Roscoe “Dan” Cougill taught math in Byron before being commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1964 and his military career took him from the Vietnam conflict through Operation Desert Storm, where he served as General H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s communications branch chief at U.S. Central Command. In that position he organized the largest “from-scratch” communications buildup in history, an accomplishment which successfully integrated the communications networks of all the U.S. military branches for the first time. During his years of military service he also had assignments as a member of the international military staff at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and served as commander of the communications group responsible for tracking NASA’s space shuttle along the eastern seaboard. While serving his country, Cougill furthered his education by earning a master’s degree from Troy State University and attending the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. Upon his retirement from the Air Force, he returned to Charleston, where he served as the city’s mayor for 12 years beginning in 1993.

 John Craft '69, '74

 John Craft

John Craft made university history as the first alumnus to compete in the Olympics, finishing fifth in the triple jump in Munich in 1972. The top-ranked United States athlete in the event between 1969 and 1975, he won nine AAU titles during this time period while setting the American record of 55 feet, five inches in 1972. He surpassed that distance with a wind-aided jump of 56 feet, two inches later that year in winning the US Olympic Trials. In addition, he won the event at the prestigious and highly-competitive USA-USSR indoor dual meets in 1972 and 1973. Although dedicated to his training regimen, Craft believed relying on his physical abilities alone would limit his potential so he also spent countless hours studying film of the world’s best triple jumpers to improve his technique. After winning the 1974 AAU event and beating the three-time Olympic champion from Russia twice on American soil, Track & Field News proclaimed him “King John” for his domination of the sport. After stepping away from international competition John taught, coached and served as an administrator at EIU, retiring in 2002 after 33 years of service.

 Charles B. Hall ex '42

Charles Hall

 

Major Charles Hall’s posthumous selection is reflective of the accomplishments and recognition he brought to EIU and his role in American history. A football and track star at EIU from 1938-41, he left college to join the U.S. Army Air Corps in November 1941, just weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor drew America into World War II. He was one of the first 43 pilots assigned to the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, more commonly known as the Tuskegee Airmen, and was deployed to North Africa in 1943, where saw his first combat action in June of that year. While escorting allied bombers on July 2nd, his squadron was intercepted by Nazi fighters and in the ensuing dogfight then-Lt. Hall became the first African-American pilot in United States military history to bring down an enemy aircraft. After downing two more in 1944, he became the first African-American to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross—one of our nation’s highest military honors—and was personally congratulated by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then-commander of Allied forces in Europe who later served as President of the United States. At the completion of his combat tour Hall had flown 198 missions. Although he passed away in 1971, the U.S. Air Force recognized his achievements by renaming the Charles B. Hall Airpark at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma City in his honor in 2002. A civilian employee at Tinker before taking a position with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1967, a bronze statue in his image was added to the entrance of the airpark in 2007.

Nancie King Mertz '77

King_Mertz

 

After she began painting and selling work as a teenager, Nancie King Mertz further unleashed her inner passion in college, eventually earning a master of arts degree from EIU in 1977. Twice named Chicago Artist of the Year as a studio artist and business owner in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Mertz and her work are being recognized on a more global scale thanks to her paintings catching the eye of producers and being featured on the set of the popular CBS prime-time drama “The Good Wife” and numerous other Chicago-based TV shows. Through her active involvement in professional art organizations, she has contributed her time, talents and leadership to the betterment of the arts community. She has also been the recipient of awards and Master designation from several arts organizations, including the Pastel Society of America, the International Association of Pastel Societies, Plein Air Easton, and the Pastel Journal. A highly regarded instructor who teaches workshops worldwide, her talent for art combined with her proclivity for business has earned Mertz honors as the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year and Small Business of the Year as well as the Network of Women Entrepreneurs’ Woman of the Year. Mertz’s oils and pastels are Impressionistic in style and she paints more than 100 pieces annually, having travelled to more than 20 countries for inspiration to paint on-site. She is a charter member of the Arcola High School Hall of Fame and was also honored as a 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Alumni award by the EIU Graduate School.

Larry Morton '82

Larry Morton

 

Larry Morton is a leader in the music industry who currently serves as president of Hal Leonard Music Corporation, the world’s largest music print publisher and distributor. Under his leadership, Hal Leonard has grown from a $20 million company to $200 million in annual revenues and changed the face of music delivery, accessibility and instruction, including a global digital distribution network of more than twenty websites, dozens of mobile apps and thousands of eBooks. What’s more, an 18-year tenure as president of a major music company is a remarkable standalone achievement and a testament to his unique gifts as both an industry leader and confident visionary. Having held positions in retail sales, marketing, distribution and musical instrument manufacturing, his background in the music business spans three decades, having recently concluded an eight-year term as chairman of the National Association of Music Merchants’ executive committee, a group that seeks to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of music. An accomplished musician, educator and composer himself, Morton also completed his graduate music studies at the University of North Texas. He has previously served on the boards of the Music Publishers Association, the American Music Conference and the Retail Print Music Dealers Association. Beyond his lifetime passion for music, Morton is an active triathlete, having completed his first full-distance Ironman Triathlon last year.

 Alan Nielsen '87

 alan neilsen

Having joined the company in 1987 following his graduation from EIU, Alan Nielsen now serves as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Walgreen Co. Operating 8,100 retail pharmacy locations in all fifty states and Puerto Rico under the Walgreens and Duane Reade banners, Walgreen Co. is the largest business within Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). In recent years, he held leadership roles contributing to expansion through mergers and alliances including the merger of Walgreens with Alliance Boots to form WBA, the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise and parent company of Walgreen Co.; a 24 percent equity stake in Amerisource Bergen; and the combination of specialty and mail service pharmacy operations with Prime Therapeutics, which formed Walgreens Prime Strategic Alliance. He also currently serves on the boards of directors for Walgreens Prime Strategic Alliance and OptionCare, an infusion pharmacy product distributor and services provider. In previous positions at Walgreens, Alan created an expanded finance organization embedded in the business and led development of data warehouse systems to improve enterprise decision making. His commitment to the development of youth is demonstrated at the corporate, collegiate and high school levels, as well.

Jenifer Wyss'94

Jenifer Wyss

Jenifer Wyss is a supervising project manager for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), a Connecticut-based organization that establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. In her role with FASB, she is responsible for managing numerous projects from their inception to the issuance of final standards which have a high-level of impact on financial accounting and result in decision-useful information for users of financial statements. Her current research projects include monitoring federal tax reform for corporations, simplifying the balance sheet classification of debt, simplification of income tax accounting and targeted improvements to the statement of cash flows. Prior to her role with FASB, Wyss was a partner at both RSM—the fifth-largest accounting firm in the United States—where she helped grow and establish a new location for the firm, and BKD in St. Louis, one of the top 15 public accounting firms in the country. She holds active CPA licenses in Illinois and Missouri. In addition to her work, Wyss is highly connected to the industry through a variety of professional affiliations and also has been very active in the communities where she has resided.

 

 


 

Past Award Recipients

 

Distinguished
Alumni
Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award
Outstanding Young Alumni
Distinguished Educator

2016
Kathy Bollinger '77, '78
Steve Corbin '13
Joe Fatheree '89, '05
Nancie King Mertz '77
Lawrence Tucker '89, '91
Randy Wright '70

 

2016
Maurice Cheeks '07

2016
PJ Caposey '04
Harry Cavanaugh '69

2015
Dr. Robert Collier '69, '73
Habeeb Habeeb ’97, ‘99
Kent Johnson ‘81
Dr. Alvin M. Maurice ‘76
Ross McCullough ’87
Judge Robert L. Schatz '56

2015
Dr. Larry Ankenbrand '59

2015
Aaron Grobengieser '05, '06

2015
Dr. Kenneth Spells '01, '03

2014
Dr. Suzanne Barchers ‘67
Chuck Bell ’67, ‘69
Dr. Nancy Elwess ‘76
Dr. Michelle Hanlon ‘93
Dr. Mary Anne Hanner ’72, ‘74

2014
Jerry Zachary '61, '88

2014
Kristofer Howard '00

2014
Eric Bright ’12

2013
Barbara Baurer '75, '76
Harry Frost '60
Jonathan Gosse '74
Dennis Muchmore '68
Robert Sinkler '83

2013
R. Scott Smith '88, '93

2013
David Cesar '08

2013
Corey Duzan '03

2012
Jack Dadam '65
Christopher Desmond '94, '96
Jaime Martinez '86
William McNulty '96
Jill Nilsen '74, '75
Julie Nimmons '77
Kevin Seitzer '85

2012
Carl Mito '72

2012
Richard Keaton '99

2012
Tim McCollum '73, '77

2011
Larry Closson '74
Will Keiper '72
Gregg Kirkland '83
Keith Kohanzo '69, '71
Ron Woods '86

2011
Tim '71, '72 and Vickie Burke '72, '75

2011
Jake Byrne ‘07, ‘09

2011
Craig Lindvahl ‘79

2010
Michael Cunningham '70
Roseann Drew '70
Julie Lupien '81
Sean Payton '87
Bob Provost '70
Chuck Witters '68

2010
Carl Dolson '76

2010
Jennifer Ketchmark Brehm '06

2010
Roy Fenton '65, '66

2009
James Allen '79
Robert Corn-Revere '77
Ed Escalante '74
Lou Hencken '66, '67
Tim Manning '93

2009
Tom McDaniel '69

2009
Ryan Bailey '99
Ellen Eardley '99

2009
Cheryl Crates '70

2008
Roger Claar '67, '68
Kenneth Damann '66
Daryll D. Fletcher '75, '76
Ted Gregory '81
Barbara Hundley '65, '69
Robert C. Manion '66

2008
Jim Erdmann '59

2008
Anthony Pleasant '06

2008
John Marsaglia '76
Dorothy Bennett '74, '80

2007
Joni Comstock '79
Don Gher '73
Marty Hickman '80
Kevin Savoree '81
Jim Schnorf '76

2007
Betty Smithson '63

2007
Tony Romo ex '03

2007
Joe Fatheree '89, '05

2006
Gregg Altobella '88
Brigadier General Joseph Balskus '76, '77
John Currey '62
Gordon Grado, M.D. '74
Jerry Van Dyke ex '55
Paul Ward '71, '74

2006
Ivan “Ike” Kennard ex '44

2006
Captain Gary Kelly '01

2006
Linda Kirby '74, '82, '89

2005
Rita Bleser '77
Robert Glover '82
Mark Grier '74, '75
Barbara Hill '58, '63, '70
Craig Titley '89
Bill Weir '69
Therese Supple Kinkade '80

2005
Therese Supple Kinkade '80

2005
Luke Ryan '01

2005
Cathy Ruwe Anderson '74, '83

2004
Rudy Hlavek '64
Jimmy Liautaud ex '88
Carlos Ogden ex '40
Sue Payton '72
Matthew Polenzani '91
Gail Richard '77

2004
John Schmitt '76, '78

2004
Karla Porch '99

2004
Barbara McLaughlin '71

2003
Joseph Dively '81
Stephen Gosselin '79
Col. Joseph Kelly '38
William Robinson '76
Sen. Dale Righter '88

2003
Mike Lester '66

2003
Erin Weed '99

2003
William Thiel '50

2002
James Evans '68
Dr. H. Ray Hoops '62
Captain Howard Skidmore, USN (ret) ex '42
Larry Smith ex '91

2002
Judy Ethell '82

2002
Sarah Livesay '98

 

2001
Frank Blum '76 '77
Brent Manning '75 '76
Pat Sullivan '75

2001
Joe Strohm '86 '87

2001
Cheryl Warner '96 '00

 

2000
Bob Jachino '59
Dr. Lyle Jensen '70
Rep. Joe Knollenberg '55
Karen Meyer '76

2000
Dennis Spice '78

2000
Susan Gerling '95

 

1999
Dr. Sharon LeDuc '65
Dr. Gail Richardson '60 '63
Dr. Stephen Wilson '68 '74

1999
Greg Gardner '78 '80
Ken Hesler '51

1999
Amelia Heape '94

 

1998
Joan Allen ex '78
Vicki Freimuth '66
Allen Grosboll '73
Mike Shanahan '74 '75

 

1998
Michelle Koehler '93

 

1997
Jerry Gilomen, '66
Robert Knollenberg '61
Stephen K. Woodland '70, '81

1997
Louis V. Hencken '66, '67

1997
Michael R. Gagliardo

 

1996
Janet M. Treichel, '64, '71

1996
Dick Cain '64

1996
Thomas P. Wiesenmayer '92

 

1995
Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy '65,'67
Craig Peyton Gaumer '84,'85
Emma Chenault Kelly '25
Jeffrey G. Scott '68

 

1995
Gregory A. Curl, '92

 

1994
J. Allen Brent '43
Glen Owens Gabbard '72
Roger Roberson '64

1994
Nancy W. Owen '72

1994
Thomas M. Faulkner, '90, '91
Sherry L. McCoy, '90

 

1993
Stephen B. Schnorf '66,'73

1993
Jill Fulton Nilsen '74, '75

1993
Craig Titley, '89

 

1992
Jan Spivey Gilchrist '73
John Malkovich ex '75

1992
Eulalee Anderson '63,'84

1992
Robert Haycock, '87

 

1991
Juan F. Rojas '58
Randall Arney '78

1991
Roger Roberson '64

1991
Cathy Berns Rund, '86

 

1990
Michael W. Conlin '70
Robert A. Ingram '65
John G. Wargo, Jr. '50

1990
Gary Rogers '61,'65
Roger Dettro '53

 

 

1989
Margaret "Peggy" Allan '71
Robert A. Bain '54
John A. Dively '54
Marvin E. Edwards '67
Joan Embery-Pillsbury '86
Violet Podesta Meyer '39

1989
Mike Weaver '73,'74,'82

1989
Jennifer Schulze, '80

 

1988
Arthur L. Aikman '50
Theodore P. Cavins '26
James F. Giffin '46

1988
Margaret Campbell Hollowell '68
Eli Sidwell '58
J. W. Oglesby '58

1988
Rex Rund, '84

 

1987
Burl Ives, ex'31
Carolyn A. Fischer '55
Rex D. Cooley '59
James L. Hanks '47
Raymond L. Fischer '54
K. Wayne Ratts '54

 

 

 

1986
James L. Breen '48
Charles O. Austin '36
Donald L. Calvin '54
Norm Endsley '53
Margaret D. Podesta '58
William L. Podesta '76

 

 

 

1985
Gerald D. Fines '65
Joe P. Meyer '58
C. John Tolch '49

 

 

 

1984
Eugene Aikman '54
Alden Cutshall '32
Ronald W. Davis '64
John L. Heath '58
Elizabeth Podesta Hickman '43

 

 

 

1983
John W. Voigt '42
Robert L. Hill '44
Jack Payan '52
George Woodyard '54

 

 

 

1982
Jim Edgar '68
Roger F. Hibbs '43

 

 

 

1981
H Ogden Brainard '25
Hal Middlesworth '31
John H. Keiser '58

 

 

 

1980
Tressa Bennett '58
James R. Galloway '58
Donald L. Shawver '47
Philip W. Smith '44

 

 

 

1979
Helen F. Daringer '14
Dario A. Covi '43
Claibourne I. Dungy '62
Robert Millis '63

 

 

 

1978
Leallyn B. Clapp '35
C. Nelson Grote
James H. Roberts '46
Roy K. Wilson '36

 

 

 

1977
John S. Redden '26
Allyn A. Cook '48
Donald K. Neal '40
L. Lou Stanek '54

 

 

 

1976
Don Grantham '37
R. Gene Gresham '51
Author Hughes '51
Darrell Judge '56
James Phipps '42

 

 

 

1975
Gladys Campbell '14
D. F. Fleming '12
Stella Craft Tremble '22
E. Errett Warner '25
Stanley Elam '38

 

 

 

1974
Harry Fitzhugh '34
James Gindler '50
Dorothy Leggitt '23
Carlos Talbott '40
Ralph Wickiser '34

 

 

 

1973
Arthur Glen Hesler '25
Frederick Earl Newman '59
M. Alice Phillips '33
Newton E. Tarble '08
Aubert North '33