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2012 Guests of Honor

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Richard Keaton '99 (chemistry)

Richard KeatonRichard Keaton '99, who earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Maryland, is a lead chemist in core research and development for the Catalyst Synthesis and Implementation Group at The Dow Chemical Company. He joined Dow in 2006 as a senior chemist in core research and development and was quickly promoted to research specialist and then lead chemist. The co-author of 12 patent applications, he has also co-authored 40 internal research-driven technical reports related to his work. Recognized as one of the top graduate students in his field of chemistry, he produced 10 publications in peer-reviewed journals based on his graduate research while at Maryland, and received a highly-competitive American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship. Following the receipt of his doctorate, Richard was selected for a Director's Funded Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he focused his research on alternative fuel sources for the hydrogen storage. While at Maryland and Los Alamos, Richard served as a mentor to younger students and this trend has continued at Dow with early-career colleagues, motivated by the positive interactions he had with faculty members while an undergraduate at EIU.

Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award

Carl Mito '72 (finance)

Carl Mito '72, Managing Director-Investments at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. in Chicago, has volunteered in a variety of capacities at EIU, including as a member of both the School of Business Advisory Board and the EIU Foundation. A three-term member of the School of Business Advisory Board, he was an early supporter of the Securities Analysis Center and later hosted events in his Chicago office to connect business graduates with the university and promote the center's benefits to students. He and his late wife established the Carl and Marion Mito Excellence in Finance Endowment Fund in 2003 to benefit the School of Business on an ongoing basis as part of his philanthropic commitment which includes nearly $325,000 in gifts to support the university's students. A member of EIU's Capital Campaign External Steering Committee, which provided guidance as the university significantly exceeded its goal earlier this year, Carl also delivered the commencement address to EIU's graduates in December of 2011. Having joined Delta Chi fraternity as an undergraduate, he has maintained his connection with that group, as well, and assisted with the planning of their 2006 alumni reunion on campus. In addition to his continuing support of the institution, he also sits on the board of directors for the Cancer Wellness Center and serves on the executive committee, co-chairs the fundraising committee and leads Team Marion for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk as he continues the fight against cancer.

Distinguished Educator Award

Tim McCollum '73, '77 (zoology)

Tim McCollum '73, '77, who retired as a science teacher from Charleston Middle School in 2011, has received numerous regional, state and national awards for his work in the classroom. Included among those are the 2010 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence (one of only five recipients nationally), 2008 Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence, 2006 Jefferson Award and 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which was presented to him by then-President George W. Bush during a ceremony in Washington, DC. During his tenure, he also had the opportunity to spend a semester working at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and on a NASA project in Lake Placid. During that time, he assisted in the development of teaching curriculum for educators across the country utilizing photos taken by American astronauts. Tim is also a co-investigator for the NASA project Expedition Earth and Beyond and served on the National Science Board's Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A former president of the EIU Alumni Association board of directors, he is currently a member of EIU's early childhood, elementary and middle level education faculty.

Distinguished Alumna/us Award

Jack Dadam '65 (political science)

Jack Dadam '65 served as the co-CEO of Red Bull and is responsible for bringing the energy drink, which today has more than $5 billion in global sales, to North America in 1997. Having served as vice president of sales and vice president of marketing for E & J Gallo Winery – one of the largest privately-owned companies in the US – until his retirement in 1990, he was traveling in Europe in 1995 after founding the North American Beverage Company when he recognized the popularity of the beverage. By 1997 he had convinced the company's founder to bring the product to the United States and became the first distributor here, offering the product in California, Arizona and Utah. Named CEO in 2000, he was instrumental in marketing the product and building the brand until his retirement in 2007. 3D Distribution, the distributorship which he still owns, records approximately $100 million in sales annually although he has turned the bulk of the day-to-day management responsibilities over to his sons.

Christopher Desmond '94, '96 (management, MBA)

Christopher Desmond '94, '96 is the chief sales officer for a private transfer pricing company CETERIS, the largest independent provider of transfer pricing services in North America. After graduating with his MBA in 1996, he began his transfer pricing career at Ernst & Young and then PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2003, he joined his former national practice leader from E&Y to help launch CETERIS. Since the initial launch, he has led the firm's national marketing and sales efforts and developed business and communication strategies that enabled the firm to gain clients such as Nike, ADM, and Goodyear. CETERIS has since expanded to 14 offices in four countries and has been named one of the "500 Fastest Growing Companies in America" by Inc. magazine each of the past five years. Named a "World's Leading Transfer Pricing Advisor" by his peers in 2011, Desmond is also known for his philanthropic efforts which include volunteering as the president of the EIU Delta Chi Alumni Association for the past eight years. Also, in 2003, he and wife, Nancy, a fellow EIU graduate, established a scholarship at the university for students from single parent households.

Jaime Martinez '86 (political science)

Jaime Martinez '86, a retired lieutenant colonel who served 23 years in the US Army while seeing action in five combat campaigns, earned a Bronze Star for his actions in Afghanistan before retiring in 2010. Currently serving as general counsel for the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, his military career included serving as a rifle battalion commander in the prestigious 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, which has served the nation since 1784 and is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army. When not in operational assignments, he served in senior-level positions as staff secretary and special advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; military fellow to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense; and legislative liaison to the under secretary of the Army. Additionally, Jaime earned a master's degree in law and economics and a law degree at George Mason University between repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and while attending the Marine Corps Command and Staff College as a distinguished graduate. Upon the Army's determination of "non-deployable" status due to two concurrent diagnoses of cancer, he was medically retired and subsequently returned to Illinois following his recovery to begin a second career of service providing legal support to veterans and their families. A member of Delta Chi fraternity and a student government senator while at EIU, he and his wife Elizabeth, who is also an EIU graduate, currently reside in Naperville.

William McNulty '96 (geology)

William McNulty '96, formerly a cartographer/artist for The Washington Post and graphics editor/cartographer for The New York Times, has served as director of maps for National Geographic magazine at the National Geographic Society since 2005. The Society is known worldwide for cartographically presenting differences in the physical, biological and cultural attributes of the planet and publishes those images in its magazine, which is distributed in 36 languages. The illustrations created by him individually and as a team member have led to dozens of national and international awards for map design, including the top two awards, Best in Show and Best Map, at the 2011 International Society for News Design Infographics Competition. Also a recognized leader in the development and delivery of interactive mapping for computers and smart devices, William was recently one of 13 individuals selected to receive the prestigious John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship from Stanford University.

Jill Nilsen '74, '75 (speech pathology and audiology)

Retired since 2009 as EIU's vice president for external relations, philanthropic giving to the university increased significantly under the direction of Jill Nilsen '74, '75, who was responsible for initiating the first comprehensive capital campaign in university history during her tenure. As the institution's liaison to the Illinois General Assembly, she was also instrumental in the creation of legislation which allowed the university to construct the Renewable Energy Center. Before assuming the vice presidential role, she served as a faculty member and department chair in speech pathology and audiology; associate dean of the graduate school; and special assistant to the president during her more than 33 years at the university. Active in the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, she served as the organization's president and was later named a Fellow of the Association for her contributions. In addition, she has held volunteer positions as president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Charleston Excellence in Education Foundation, secretary-treasurer of the Illinois Association of Graduate Schools and is the immediate past chair of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center Board. She is currently assisting various not-for-profit organizations with their philanthropic endeavors. Jill and her husband, Hank, have also established an endowment through the EIU Foundation to provide financial support to students majoring in communication sciences and disorders.

Julie Nimmons '77 (music)

Julie Nimmons '77, a former member of EIU's board of trustees who also served as the volunteer chair for the university's recently-completed capital campaign, is recognized as a national leader in the sporting goods industry. As an owner of Schutt Sports, she was twice named one of "25 Leaders to Watch" by Sports Edge magazine and was the first woman elected to the board of directors of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, later serving as the organization's chairperson. A leading manufacturer of sports-related gear, including baseball, softball and football helmets and the bases utilized by Major League Baseball, Schutt was recognized numerous times under Julie's leadership and was selected as the Equipment Manufacturer of the Year by Sporting Goods Business magazine in 2004. She has also been featured on CNN's "All About Women" and, in 2010, was inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association's Hall of Fame. The recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from EIU in May of 2012, Julie currently serves on the national board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Leadership Board for FCA Softball; volunteers for the Down Syndrome Association for the Greater St. Louis Area; and is a chair for Vistage International, Inc., the leading CEO membership organization. She and her husband, Ken, endowed the Nimmons Family Scholarship for EIU students and the Nimmons Keyboard Studio in the Doudna Fine Arts Center on campus is named in recognition of her family's support.

Kevin Seitzer '85 (industrial technology)

Currently in his fourth season as the hitting coach for the Kansas City Royals, Kevin Seitzer '85 finished his 12-year major league baseball career with a .295 batting average, 74 home runs and 613 RBIs in 1,439 games for the Royals, Brewers, A's and Indians. Playing in more major league baseball games than any other EIU graduate, he was an American League All-Star during his rookie season in 1987 and again in 1995, while playing in the 1997 World Series as a member of the Indians. He set six Kansas City rookie records and finished second in voting for the 1987 American League Rookie of the Year after playing in 161 games and leading the league in hits with 207. Kevin is one of three Royals to record six hits in a game and still holds the team record for career on-base percentage at .380. He has also excelled as a hitting coach, with his 2010 team finishing with the second-highest batting average in the majors while in 2011 the Royals became the first team in major league history to have three outfielders hit more than 40 doubles in a season. In partnership with a former teammate, he owns and operates a highly successful 47,000 square foot, year-round baseball and softball training facility in Kansas City, as well.