Ms. Susan Young, President
Susan graduated from EIU in 1984 with a BS in Accounting and MSin Taxation in 1990 from DePaul University. In her current role, Susan serves as Executive Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Chief Financial Officer, University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, Champaign, IL. Susan has been with theU of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) for more than ten years. As CFO, she oversees the annual financial operations, capital project funding, and human resources for DIA.
Additional areas under Susan’s supervision include the State Farm Center, Atkins Golf Club, DIA’s Orange and Blue Golf Course, Atkins Tennis Center, and Sports Technology services. Before Susan’s tenure with U of I, she spent nearly six years as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of First Mid-Illinois Bank& Trust Wealth Management Division in Mattoon, Illinois. She is an accomplished executive with over 30 years of tax, financial planning, and investment advisory experience for several firms, including Ernst & Young, Fel-Pro Incorporated, and KKP Group. Susan represented Illinois at the Big Ten Conference as Senior Woman Administrator for DIA from 2007 –2012 and has served on several campus committees at Illinois. Susan has been very involved in the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association, serving as president in 2004-05 and as a board member from 2001 to 2010.
Dr. Jill Nilsen, Vice President
Jill graduated from EIU in 1974 with BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology and an MS in 1975. Jill was an EIU faculty member, department chair, Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President of External Relations before her retirement several years ago. Her contributions to EIU have been and continue to be extensive. During her time as Vice-President, Jill restructured the EIU Development function so that every college was an integral partner in the EIU Development effort and she ensured that every academic area had a part/full-time development director. Jill created an endowment in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences that provides funding for graduate student research presentations.
Jill is an EIU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna, as well as a recipient of the Louis V. Hencken Service Award. She also serves as a member of the College of Education and Professional Studies Philanthropy Board. Jill was the President of the CASA of East Central Illinois Board of Directors where her development vision and experience have made a difference to this organization’s fund-raising abilities. Her prior service in other local agencies includes boards of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems, Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV), CCAR and the Charleston Zoning Board. She served as a member of the EIU Presidential Search Committee as well as President of the EIU Annuitant Association and President of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce. Jill was the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist award.
Dr. Gordon Grado, Treasurer
Gordon graduated from EIU in 1974 with a BS in Zoology. In 2006, hewas named the Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association and in 2013, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Eastern Illinois University. Gordon is the founder and Medical Director of Southwest Oncology Centers based in Scottsdale, Arizona with four other oncology centers throughout Arizona and with two affiliated centers in Mexico and two in Latin America. Before his private practice, he established and chaired the Radiation Therapy program at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale and was the Wurtele Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology at the University of Minnesota where he developed the prostate brachytherapy program.
He has given hundreds of presentation worldwide and authored numerous peer-reviewed articles on the subject of oncology and prostate cancer. In June 2000, Governor Jane Hull of Arizona named him to serve on the Arizona Prostate Cancer Task Force. Gordon has worked with EIU lecturing health science students and developed a mentoring program for pre-medical students who fly to his Arizona Southwest Oncology Centers (and Mexico) where they work as interns for at least two weeks and have also worked on research projects. Most recently, Gordon served on the board of Adelante Healthcare which began as a program to provide health care to farm workers and now offers affordable healthcare throughout Maricopa County. He also provides support to St. Vincent DePaul and their clinics in Arizona.
Ms. Dawn Johnson, Secretary
Dawn graduated from EIU in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She is a litigation lawyer at Greensfelder, Hemker, and Gale, PC. – St. Louis, Missouri. As head of the firm’s Franchising and Distribution Industry Group, Dawn leads a team of transactional and litigation attorneys who represent clients nationally and internationally. Her practice focuses on all aspects of the dealer, distributor, and franchisee relationship, including termination and non-renewal, claims under state and federal relationship laws, and claims such as breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference, antitrust pricing, and trademark infringement.
Dawn has significant appellate experience and is co-leader of the appellate practice within the firm. She handles appeals and works closely with other trial lawyers in the firm to ensure that issues are properly preserved for appeal. Dawn has argued before the Missouri Supreme Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern and Western Districts, the Illinois Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Before attending law school, she was an award-winning reporter for the Herald & Review daily newspaper in Decatur, Illinois. After graduating from Washington University School of Law, she continued her writing experience as a law clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge David D. Noce in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, from 1993 to 1997.
She is active within her community, having served on the Board of Directors for Safe Connections from 2015 to the present; College Summit Missouri Site Advisory Board, 2012-present, Chair, 2015-present; Gateway Legal Services, Inc., Board of Directors, 2008 to the present; and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Board of Governors, 2002-2004.
Mr. Dennis Grannan
Dennis received a BSB degree from EIU with a double major in accounting and philosophy. His continued involvement with the University includes membership on the EIU Alumni Board and serving as secretary of the Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Board. In 2016, he received the Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Merit award for his ongoing support of the chapter. After college, he worked as an accountant for Aon Insurance Company in the Reinsurance and Financial Statements Department.
In 1989, he left Aon Insurance to pursue a career as a trader on the Chicago Board of Trade. Dennis received his brokerage license and proceeded to trade on his account. He sold his seat in 1993 to manage and operate two family businesses in Chicago, Villari Florist, and J&P Delivery until they sold in 2000 and 2009. Dennis is a commercial investor and owns and manages both commercial and private real estate properties.
Dr. William Hill
Bill began his education with a B.A. in Education from Kentucky Wesleyan College. He went on to earn his M.S. in School Administration fromIndiana State University and his Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University. His professional career in School administration spans over 40 years. In his capacity, Bill served 27 years as a School District Superintendent, 18 of which were withthe Charleston School District. He dedicated 31 years to school administration within the public schools of Illinois, 13 years as Adjunct Professor at Eastern and four years as a State of Illinois Regional Vocational Director.
Bill was twice appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by Governor Edgar. He served six years on the State Board of Education. He was a member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators Board of Directors and served as board president. Additional professional memberships include the Retired Teachers Association of Illinois and the State Universities Annuitants Association. He served as a President of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He also received an appointment with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children, was a member of the Wesley Foundation Board for five years and three years served as Board of Director for the Lake Land Community College Foundation. Bill currently serves on the Sarah Busch Lincoln Foundation Board, as a director of Distance Learning Grant for Illinois Telephone Association and theRegional Board of School Trustees who serves seven counties
Mr. Rick Ingram
Rick graduated with honors from Eastern in 1978 with a BA in Political Science. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1981. Rick is General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, and AMI Group, LLC, in Chicago. He formerly was a partner at Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. He has experience in a broad range of real estate, corporate, and infrastructure matters, including acquisition and disposition of significant commercial properties, negotiation of governmental incentives, and facilitation of multi-level public/private initiatives and partnerships. Also, Rick has extensive experience counseling clients on issues relating to the management of significant commercial properties. He also has considerable experience working with diverse community groups and stakeholders.
His numerous charitable, public service, and community activities have included President of the Lakeview Action Coalition, Member of the Coles County Board, Member of the Coles County Regional Planning Commission, Member of the Hawthorne Academy Local School Council, and mentored with the Gay and Lesbian Bar Association of Chicago. Rick also was named a Leading Lawyer, which consists of the top 5% of Illinois Lawyers, as selected by his peers. Rick has given numerous seminars and presentations on office leasing and other real estate-related topics. He has extensive experience speaking before community groups.
Dr. Kelvin Lane
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Kelvin graduated from EIU in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in technology education. He was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated while at EIU in the Spring of 1977. In 1988 he obtained a Master of Arts in computer teacher education from Governor State University. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1993 with a Master of Arts in administration and supervision. He obtained his Doctorate from Loyola University in curriculum and instruction.
He started his career in Education teaching industrial arts and then later computer technology in Wheeling, Illinois until 1993. Much of his career was dedicated to high school administration. His most recent role was the Coordinator of Student Discipline for the second-largest School District in Illinois, Elgin U46, in 2009 until retirement in 2014. Lane has dedicated his career to helping students reach their full potential regardless of their learning style in a safe and nurturing environment. He continues to consult with school districts, focusing on student life and discipline.
Mr. Elmer Pullen
Elmer is a 1970 graduate of EIU with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and a Master of Science in education in 1973. He served as a financial aid counselor at EIU for more than 30 years. Elmer has volunteered on numerous non-profit and university committees. Selected in 1978 as “Big Brother of the Year” by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coles County Organization, he also served on the Big Brother organization’s Board of Directors. Pullen was chosen as “Boss of the Year” by Eastern’s Office Staff Support Group in 1989. He was a member of the Charleston Rotary Club and served on the Board of Directors of the Central East Alcohol and Drug Council. Since retiring to Brookport, IL, Elmer has continued to serve the local and regional community on several committees and boards. He is a veteran of the US Army.
Ms. Cindra Stiff
Cindra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business with an accounting emphasis from EIU in 1979. She went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from Murray State University (KY) in 1988. She recently retired from the position of Vice President of Finance at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, KY. She also served as an adjunct instructor in the Introduction to Business & Women Leadership courses. She began her career as an accountant for EIU and then went on to hold the position of controller at the Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC.
Cindra’s professional appointments include serving as past chair of the Small College Committee of Southern Association of Colleges and University Business Officers and the Board and Finance Committee for Hospice of Western Kentucky. She also was a member of the boards for the Daviess County Kentucky Library and Boulware Homeless Center.