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Eastern Illinois University

EIU Alumni Association

Alumni Awards

Nominations are currently closed 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, 2024.

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.

2023 Award Recipients

Congratulations to EIU's 2023 Alumni Award recipients!
Those recognized included:

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Andre Allen '12, '14

Andre Allen

Allen is the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer within Peoria County government, responsible for furthering the objectives of diversity, equity and inclusion within the government and community. He also has served on the Peoria City Council since April 2021. His priorities are neighborhoods/infrastructure initiatives, business development, public safety and quality of life. Allen is involved with numerous civic engagement and volunteer opportunities, including the Police & Community Relations Advisory Committee, Peoria Public Schools Foundation, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Peoria Promise Foundation and is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Andre is a Class of 2022 Community Leadership School graduate sponsored by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. He was selected out of more than 150 nominations as one of Greater Peoria’s top leaders. He received his Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and Master of Science in sports administration from EIU. He is a current doctoral candidate at Illinois State University, pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education administration. He is married to his college sweetheart Jaleesha Allen, and they have two daughters, Barbie Marie and Dream, and one son, Dreyton.


Distinguished Educator Award

Cori Copeland ’77

Cori Copeland

Copeland is recently retired after teaching music for 35 years in the Wabash Community Unit School District in Mt. Carmel, both inside and outside the classroom. Since retirement, Copeland represents Neora International, a skincare and wellness company. She also is active in the First United Methodist Church in Fairfield, Illinois where she plays the organ and sings in the choir. Cori has been married to her husband, Mike, for 42 years and they have two children. Reece and his wife Christina have given her two grandchildren; Myra and Jack. Heath is in heaven after a battle with cancer (1985-2010).

Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award

June Giffin ’48

June Giffin

Giffin's passion for EIU goes well beyond her time as a student-athlete and her 20 years working at the university as an academic department office manager and staff member in the department of grants and research. She has made a lifetime commitment to serving EIU and its students through generous financial contributions and volunteer work. She and her late husband, Jim, endowed three scholarships: the Elsie & Erson Griffin Scholarship, the Jim and June Giffin Scholarship and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences Dean’s Award. She has volunteered her time with EIU’s Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program, the Tarble Arts Center, Doudna Fine Arts Center, EIU Annuitants Association and the EIU Foundation at the Neal Welcome Center. Behind the scenes, the Giffins would regularly open their home for receptions and also welcomed visiting parents for parent’s weekend. June also was an active volunteer in the community through the Girl Scouts, Wesley United Methodist Church and was an election judge for many years.

Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards

Kimberly Cheatle ’92

Kimberly Cheatle

Cheatle is the 27th Director of the U.S. Secret Service, sworn into office on Sept. 17, 2022. She is responsible for successfully executing the agency’s integrated mission of protection and investigations by leading a diverse workforce composed of more than 7,800 special agents, officers and other personnel. Prior to her appointment, Cheatle served as senior director in global security at PepsiCo, where she was responsible for directing and implementing security protocols for the company's facilities in North America. Before joining PepsiCo, she was with the Secret Service for 27 years, serving most recently as assistant director of the Office of Protective Operations, where she managed a $133.5M budget and collaborated with 10 operational divisions. Other roles included special agent in charge of the Atlanta Field Office, special agent in charge of the James J. Rowley Training Center and special agent in charge of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy.

Dr. Brandon Combs ’03

Brandon Combs

Combs is a successful business owner, public servant and supporter of EIU. As the mayor of Charleston since 2015, he has been committed to serving all residents while supporting EIU’s mission of providing a top-notch educational experience for all students. Before becoming mayor, he served on the city council for two years and also was president of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce board. Combs also operates Combs Chiropractic & Park Hills Spa in Charleston with his wife, Ashley. He has received numerous awards for his work and has been a guest speaker at numerous chiropractic conferences. Combs serves on various boards, including Coles County Together; Coles County Council on Aging; the Illinois Municipal League; and the Charleston High School Booster Club. Combs has been an instructor at EIU since 2018, teaching anatomy and physiology classes, and he recently served on the presidential search committee. He graduated from EIU with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in biology. He received a second bachelor’s in human biology at Logan University and his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Logan College of Chiropractic. When not treating patients, governing or teaching, he and his family operate a farm and show their animals across the state.

Howard Kamerer ’91, ’92

Howard Kamerer

During the past 25 years, Kamerer has started, grown and developed a variety of companies in various markets, generating the same results: consistent exponential growth. His approach relies on the development of corporate value propositions and company goals. He is currently the president and chief executive officer for WOW Logistics, a company based in Neenah, Wis., that specializes in supply chain consulting, real estate development and operations. In 2015, he founded WOW – WE CARE CHARITY, Inc. to serve communities in which WOW Logistics does business. Kamerer also previously served as president and CEO or Startec Global Communications; president and COO of Allied Telesyn; and founder, president and CEO of Redeye Network Group. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s in communication studies from EIU. Kamerer calls the Black Hills of South Dakota home with his wife Laura and enjoys motorcycles and off-roading.

Dr. Charles Maris ’71

Charles Maris

Dr. Maris is retired after many years in the medical field and serving his country in the US Army Reserve. He most recently was chief of surgery and medical director of surgical services at Carle in Urbana, where he retired in 2014. He started at Carle in 1996 after years of working at Sarah Bush Lincoln, where he rose to the ranks of chief of surgery. He retired as a Colonel from the US Army Reserve in 2011 after 34 years of combined reserve and active-duty service. His most memorable assignments include mobilization to the Persian Gulf in 1990-91 as Assistant Chief of Surgery. Chuck has served his local community as a school board member and Charleston Advisory Board Member for the First Mid Bank and Trust Company. He is a longstanding volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America and also currently serves as an EIU Foundation board member. While an EIU undergraduate, Chuck was a founding member of the EIU Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi. Dr. Maris and his wife, Karen, recently endowed a scholarship for students enrolled in the new EIU electrical engineering program.

Stephanie Moritz ’95, ’02

Stephanie Moritz

Moritz is chief customer innovation officer for the American Dental Association and is responsible for leading the direct-to-dentist customer group portfolio; customer innovation; integrated marketing and communications; digital and mobile experience; creative services; and public affairs. She has worked with other iconic brands and businesses in her more than 25 years of experience, including Disney, Jim Beam Brands, Hershey and ConAgra Foods. She also is a founding member of Chief Chicago, and a recognized keynote speaker across the country. Moritz was recognized as Design & Innovation Culture Transformation Winner; PRNews Top Women in Healthcare; and PRNews Top Women in PR. Moritz earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech communication from EIU. During her time on campus, she was active in the Delta Zeta Sorority, Panhellenic Council and was president of the Graduate Student Advisory Council. Moritz is married to her husband, Matt, a 1995 EIU graduate. Together they have two amazing neurodivergent teens and Moritz is an advocate for autism and neurodivergent individuals.

Tom Rodgers ’75

Tom Rodgers

Rodgers had a long and successful career in the aerospace and defense industry. He became vice president of human resources at Thiokol Corporation as well as vice president of human resources at Alliant Tech Systems. During his career Rodgers was successful in developing and implementing innovative HR strategies including talent management, leadership development, employee communications, benefits management and labor relations. He also has attended the Center for Creative Leadership Program, served on the board of directors for United Way in Utah and was a volunteer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. While at EIU, he was a residence hall assistant, volunteer for the Coles County Drug and Suicide Call Center and in 1974 was inducted into the National Residence Hall Honorary. Currently living in Arizona, he continues to be an active supporter of EIU while participating in alumni events.

Byran Stewart ’80

Bryan Stewart

Stewart’s career in finance spans over 30 years, having invested millions and managed billions of public and private dollars. An expert in state and local government, he served under two governors, including fellow alumnus Jim Edgar; two mayors; and an Illinois senate president. Stewart was the first African American treasurer of Maywood, Ill.; first African American director of appropriations for a former state senate president; and first African American CFO of the Illinois Department of Transportation. In 2008 Byran was appointed Treasurer of the Finance Executive International (FEI) Chicago Chapter, the preeminent association for financial executives. Stewart has received numerous award s and recognition for his work, including the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Alumni Man of the Year and the Association of Government Accountants-Chicago Chapter Year of Service Award. Currently, Stewart is semi-retired as CEO of Stewart Group, which advises companies, governments, non-profits, conglomerates and investors on fiscal matters.

Past Award Recipients

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


Henry Domercant '03
Dawn Johnson '83
J. Thomas Long '73
Steve Rich '06
Sal Viviano '82


Randy Johnson '74, '75


Jamie Enge '11


Deb Will '93


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





EIU Alumni Services

Brainard House
1548 4th St. Charleston, IL
Fax: 217-581-7206

Mailing Address

EIU Alumni Services
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920