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EIU Alumni Services

Alumni Awards

Nominations are currently being accepted for EIU's 2023 Alumni Awards. To nominate someone for an alumni award, please complete and submit the nomination form along with any required supplementary materials to Amber May at by May 15, 2023.

Distinguished Alumna/us Award

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumna/us 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 Alumna/us

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.

2022 Award Recipients

Congratulations to EIU's 2022 Alumni Award recipients!
Those recognized included:

Outstanding Young Alumna/us Awards

Jamie Enge 11

Jamie EngeEnge is the Regional Director of Postsecondary Success for KIPP Forward: Chicago, where he has been since June 2022. His responsibilities include leading and managing a team of college and career advisors who support high school students in their post-secondary schooling plans. He was previously the director of postsecondary success with OneGoal, a Chicago-based nonprofit. Enge also is the co-founder and chief operating officer for The Collegiate Black Male Network, a group with a mission to increase collegiate black males’ persistence and graduation rates. He also volunteers as the director of college coaching and counseling at PeerForward, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of low-income youth by connecting them to colleges and careers. In 2020, he was named Counselor of the Year by both the Illinois College Counseling Association and the Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling in Illinois. In 2021, he was named a Top 100 Visionary in Education by the Global Forum for Education and Learning. While at EIU, Enge was active with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is currently working toward a doctoral degree in counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.

Distinguished Educator Award

Deb Will ’93

Deb WillWill is the instructional materials center coordinator at Zion-Benton Township High School, where she has been since 2001. She has been a leader in promoting the importance of reading by securing several grants for the school library and arranging author visits to the school. Working with other teachers to adopt more independent reading into the curriculum, the school has seen a dramatic improvement in test scores, which has encouraged school officials to invest further into library resources. Will began her career as an English teacher at Round Lake High School and was then an instructor at Utah State University, teaching undergraduate English courses. She is currently the president for the Association of Illinois School Library Educators and the first president for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English, where she was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award. She also serves as the literacy task force co-chair and substance abuse prevention co-chair for the Zion-Benton Coalition for Healthy Communities, where she recruits and trains high school students to be peer educators and drug prevention leaders.

Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award

Randy Johnson ’74, 75

Randy JohnsonRJ is currently president of Valley Vistas and AZ Home Innovations, a real estate service company located in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company has provided support services to more than 100 manufactured housing communities in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah over the last 25 years and has generated in excess of $750 million in revenue. His company has dedicated efforts in providing affordable housing alternatives and training support for housing professionals in the southwest by serving on the board for the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona for 16 years and providing housing dealer services for more than 25 years. Johnson gained his passion for housing during an early career at EIU where he served as a resident assistant, graduate assistant, Douglas Hall director and associate director of housing under former EIU president Lou Hencken. His EIU experiences helped foster a lifelong commitment to his alma mater with both his time and financial support. With the support of the 1975 Douglas Hall staff, he developed an endowment to support EIU students who are pursuing a career in housing and student services. He also is a host and financial supporter for the annual alumni gathering in Arizona.

Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards


Henry Domercant ’03 

Henry DomercantAfter a long career of playing professional basketball across the globe, Domercant is now in his second season as the head coach of the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League. He spent 12 years overseas, playing for clubs in Turkey, Greece, Russia and Italy, posting career averages of 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals. Following his final season in Italy, he returned to the US to play with the Idaho Stampede in the Continental Basketball Association. He began his coaching career in 2017 when he joined the staff of the Maine Red Claws. Domercant, a 2009 Panther Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, is the EIU leader in points per game (21.7), total points (2,602), three-pointers made (285) and free throws made (595). The 2002 OVC Player of the Year, he is one of only 11 NCAA Division I players to ever rank in the top five in scoring in the nation in three or more seasons.


Dawn Johnson ’83 

Dawn JohnsonJohnson has used her journalism degree to achieve recognition as both a journalist and a lawyer. After being a reporter and editor for the Daily Eastern News, she became an award-winning reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Decatur Herald & Review, until her brother’s death inspired her to attend law school. After graduating from Washington University School of Law, she was a law clerk for a federal judge. She is now a litigation attorney and shareholder with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. in St. Louis. She leads the Franchising & Distribution group, a team of transactional and litigation attorneys representing clients nationally and internationally. Her practice focuses on helping franchisors and manufacturers resolve disputes in mediation and arbitration forums and in state and federal courts. She has won several awards for her franchise law work. She is on Greensfelder’s Board of Directors, playing a key role in oversight of the firm’s finances, operations and strategic planning, and has served in other firm leadership roles. She has served on several non-profit boards, including The Compassionate Friends for bereaved parents and siblings, Safe Connections for victims of relationship violence, College Summit for underprivileged youth, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation, and Focus St. Louis leadership organization.

J. Thomas Long ’73 

Tom LongLong was a successful attorney in both public and private practice, concentrating in corporate planning and taxation; business transactions; and business litigation. After graduating from EIU, Tom spent two years in the Army before earning his law degree from Southern Methodist University. In addition to being an attorney, he had many successful business ventures. He was a founder and CEO for Argosy Gaming Company, which had more than $500 million in revenue during his tenure. He also invested in other small businesses with revenues ranging from $2 million to $50 million. Long had a long history of community involvement and leadership that included serving as the village attorney for Godfrey; serving on the board of directors and was the former president for the Southwestern Illinois Employers’ Association; and serving as chairman of St. Anthony’s Foundation Board and Community Council for OSF St. Anthony’s. Tom proudly served as a volunteer on the advance team for President George W. Bush’s presidential trips to Hungary, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Poland and Russia. First and foremost was Tom’s love for God and his family. He passed away on January 28, 2022, at the age of 71. Surviving are his wife, three daughters, two son-in-laws, and six grandchildren.

Steve Rich ’06 

Steve RichRich retired in June 2022 after a 28-year career at EIU, most recently as assistant vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the EIU Alumni Association. He came to EIU in 1994 as assistant athletic director before becoming director of Alumni Services in 1996. During his tenure the Alumni Association’s assets increased to nearly $3 million and he also assisted with numerous campus projects, including the construction of the Alumni Clock Tower and the Commemorative Courtyard. Facilitating a high level of engagement and outreach, he helped build relationships with alumni and donors across the country while also having responsibility for the annual fund, which consistently exceeded national benchmarks, and the advancement area’s award-winning CRM system. Rich assisted with state and federal government relations for several years, routinely making trips to Springfield and Washington to meet with elected officials on the university’s behalf and was responsible for trademark licensing and brand management initiatives for more than 25 years. He also served a term as president of the International Collegiate Licensing Association, the only individual not from a Power Five or Group of Five conference to serve in that capacity in the organization’s history.

Sal Viviano ’82 

Sal VivianoViviano is an award-winning actor and singer with numerous Broadway and off-Broadway credits, as well as appearances in film and television. He made his Broadway debut in 1984 in The Three Musketeers. On tour, he also has starred in  City of Angels; The Full Monty; The Pirates of Penzance; Beau Jest; and received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for best actor for his role in Sunday in the Park With George. He won a Broadway World Award for best actor and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his work in Closer than Ever. He has performed nearly 600 pops concerts with more than 200 orchestras across the globe, including the National Symphony, San Diego Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic (London) and the Orchestra di Teatro Verdi (Trieste, Italy). The highlight of his television guest appearances is his role as Vincent VanGogh in Disney’s Out of the Box, which won a Parent's Choice Award. Viviano also has more than 80 recordings, including his solo CD titled The Standards of Love and his most recent title Perfectly Frank – A Century of Sinatra. He has sung the national anthem at New York Mets baseball games for the past 38 years. Viviano has remained an advocate for EIU by contributing his talents to workshops and assisting with the Department of Theatre’s 50th anniversary alumni event.


Past Award Recipients


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


Cheryl Fraker '85, '86
Dale Morrissey '76, '77
Jeff Rice '86
Tony Romo ex '03


Krupal Swami '95


Reginald Thedford Jr. '15
Samantha Sauer '11, '13


Todd J. Vilardo '91, '96, '00


Randy Bailey '78
Melissa Conyears-Ervin '97
Steve Ferguson '90
Judy Ethell '82
Cam Simpson '06


Mike Finkle '72


Kraig Koch '08
Lauren Adewole '13


Eric Combs '05, '18



James Bailey '84
Jeff Ludwig '93
Dave McKinney '86
Herbert Russell '64




Elmer Pullen '70, '73



Mike McKenna '10



Monica Genta '09
Erin Reichert '00


Mary Kay Armour '70
Robert Genetski '64
Mark Geninatti '75
Paul Hoffman '79
Bill Skeens '77


Madeleine Doubek '85


Rahul Wahi '08
Anthony Zipparro '08,'09


Nate Anderson '73,'77
Angela McQueen '99, '08, '14


Roscoe "Dan" Cougill '63
John Craft '69 '74
Major Charles B. Hall ex '42
Larry Morton '82
Alan Nielsen '87
Jennifer Wyss '94




Timothy Martin '06


Kevin Settle '76


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

Matt Davidson '82, '84

Maurice Cheeks '07

PJ Caposey '04
Harry Cavanaugh '69

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

Dr. Larry Ankenbrand '59

Aaron Grobengieser '05, '06

Dr. Kenneth Spells '01, '03

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

Jerry Zachary '61, '88

Kristofer Howard '00

Eric Bright ’12

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

R. Scott Smith '88, '93

David Cesar '08

Corey Duzan '03

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

Carl Mito '72

Richard Keaton '99

Tim McCollum '73, '77

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

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

Jake Byrne ‘07, ‘09

Craig Lindvahl ‘79

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

Carl Dolson '76

Jennifer Ketchmark Brehm '06

Roy Fenton '65, '66

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

Tom McDaniel '69

Ryan Bailey '99
Ellen Eardley '99

Cheryl Crates '70

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

Jim Erdmann '59

Anthony Pleasant '06

John Marsaglia '76
Dorothy Bennett '74, '80

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

Betty Smithson '63

Tony Romo ex '03

Joe Fatheree '89, '05

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

Ivan “Ike” Kennard ex '44

Captain Gary Kelly '01

Linda Kirby '74, '82, '89

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

Therese Supple Kinkade '80

Luke Ryan '01

Cathy Ruwe Anderson '74, '83

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

John Schmitt '76, '78

Karla Porch '99

Barbara McLaughlin '71

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

Mike Lester '66

Erin Weed '99

William Thiel '50

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

Judy Ethell '82

Sarah Livesay '98


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

Joe Strohm '86 '87

Cheryl Warner '96 '00


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

Dennis Spice '78

Susan Gerling '95


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

Greg Gardner '78 '80
Ken Hesler '51

Amelia Heape '94


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


Michelle Koehler '93


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

Louis V. Hencken '66, '67

Michael R. Gagliardo


Janet M. Treichel, '64, '71

Dick Cain '64

Thomas P. Wiesenmayer '92


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


Gregory A. Curl, '92


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

Nancy W. Owen '72

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


Stephen B. Schnorf '66,'73

Jill Fulton Nilsen '74, '75

Craig Titley, '89


Jan Spivey Gilchrist '73
John Malkovich ex '75

Eulalee Anderson '63,'84

Robert Haycock, '87


Juan F. Rojas '58
Randall Arney '78

Roger Roberson '64

Cathy Berns Rund, '86


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

Gary Rogers '61,'65
Roger Dettro '53



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

Mike Weaver '73,'74,'82

Jennifer Schulze, '80


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

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

Rex Rund, '84


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




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




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




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




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




Jim Edgar '68
Roger F. Hibbs '43




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




Related Pages

Contact Information

By Mail:

EIU Alumni Services
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-7206

In Person/Physical Address:

Brainard House
1548 4th St. Charleston, IL

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