In Recognition and Appreciation
Founded in 1953 under the leadership and direction of H. Ogden Brainard, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has, since its inception, been dependent upon the generosity of volunteers to fulfill its mission of support to the University. Beginning in 1993, the Foundation has recognized, and honored philanthropists whose spirit and overwhelming generosity will serve Eastern Illinois University and its students in countless ways far into the future.
Meet the Recipients
H. Michael Finkle (Outstanding Philanthropist)
Jane A. Elmore (Outstanding Philanthropist)
Dr. and Mrs. Vaughn and Ruth Jaenike (Honorary Lifetime Member)
John D. Schmitt (Outstanding Foundation Member)
Since its inception in 1953, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has been dependent upon the generosity of its members and volunteers to fulfill its mission of support to the university. And, since 1993, the foundation has formally presented the Outstanding Philanthropist Award. In 1997, this award renamed the Burnham and Nancy Neal Philanthropy Award in appreciation of the Neals' leadership, support and dedication to Eastern and the foundation.
The award is given to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a sincere dedication and commitment to the financial, academic and cultural well-being of EIU. The critical support and sustaining financial commitments provided by these distinguished philanthropists are essential to the future of the university and the students it serves.
H. Michael Finkle ('62)
H. Michael Finkle received a B.S. in Business Administration from EIU in 1962. He later completed the Wharton School Senior Account Executive certificate program and The American College Estate Planning for Professionals program. After a 47-year career as a financial advisor, he retired from Raymond James & Associates in 2014. He was cited as one of the nation's top financial advisors by three separate financial trade publications during his career. He is currently the Managing Director and general partner of HMF Global Macro Partners, LLP.
Mike has s a long history of leadership in various community service organizations; serving twice as President for the Danville District 118 School Board, Board Chair for the Danville Convention & Visitors Bureau Board and Chair for the United Samaritan Medical Center Board. His continued strong interest in education was reflected in his election to the Board of Trustees of Danville Area Community College and his appointment to the Illinois School Problems Commission. He is also a member of the President's Council of the University of Illinois.
In 1986, Mike was named Outstanding Alumnus by EIU Lumpkin College of Business and later served two terms on the Business School Advisory Board. He served 6 years on the EIU Foundation Board of Directors, serving as President from 2016-2017. He and his wife, Nanette now reside in Marco Island, Florida where he is on the city’s planning board and is an elected board member and Treasurer of the Hideaway Beach Association. Mike's integrity and strong leadership skills have created positive and effective relations with the University and the community and his devotion to EIU is unparalleled.
Jane A. Elmore ('72)
Jane received her Bachelors of Science in Family Consumer Sciences in 1972 from Eastern Illinois University, her Masters of Social Work degree in 1974 and her Master of Business Administration degree in 1983- both from the University of Illinois.
Jane started her career as a therapist at the Moultrie Country Health Center but soon went on to become the Executive Director of the Berwyn Cicero Council on Aging in Berwyn, IL. After two years she left to start work for the State of Illinois where she served as Legislative Liaison for the Departments on Aging and Rehabilitation Services, Director of the Addictions Research Institute/Women’s Specialist for the Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Among other positions she also served as Deputy Director of Fiscal Operations for the Department of Rehabilitation Services and finished her career with the State of Illinois as Deputy Director of Foster Care and Permanency Services which she refers to “as the best job ever.” She was the first ever recipient of the Illinois Foster and Adoptive Parent “HERO” award.
Jane served as a Senior Consultant for Corporate Alternatives, Inc., was president ES Consultants and was an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Springfield College of Illinois and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Jane was active professionally and personally on a number of boards and advisory committees frequently serving as president and in other offices including the National Association of State Foster Care Managers, National Association of Adoption Care Managers, and the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI), Chattanooga chapter. In her first year as President of NAMI Chattanooga, NAMI TN awarded her the Leadership Award. She also volunteered in orphanages in China and Guatemala. In addition, Jane and her husband were foster parents for a number of years.
Jane maintained her connections with EIU by serving on the School of Business Advisory Council and the Family Consumer Sciences Board. She donated money to renovate the Klehm Hall Student Lounge in memory of her mother, Esther Brothers Elmore, who was also a 1940 FCD graduate. She also created the Esther Brothers Elmore Scholarship Fund, the Marjorie Baker Schnorf Teaching Scholarship in honor of her mother-in-law who graduated from EIU, and she recently established the Stephen B. Schnorf Emergency Fund in memory of her late husband, also an EIU graduate to help students experiencing financial emergencies that might result in them having to drop out of school. Jane is a passionate ambassador for EIU and continues to support worthy causes with her time, talents and financial support.
Honorary Lifetime Member
Lifetime membership in the Foundation is bestowed upon individuals who have brought significant recognition and attention to the University, have provided substantial lifetime contributions, or who have attained national or international prominence and prestige in their careers and lifetime endeavors.
Dr. and Mrs. Vaughn and Ruth ('81) Jaenike
Beginning in 1974 Vaughn served as dean of the College of Fine Arts and retired after 19 years at Eastern Illinois University. Ruth graduated from EIU in 1981 with a Master of Arts. Following his retirement, he took a part-time position in Eastern’s development office working in the area of fundraising for the University. Vaughn came to Eastern from the University of Nebraska as the special assistant to the president for the arts. He served as professor of music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and taught music in the public schools in Colorado and Nebraska. His interest in the arts has extended beyond the University as reflected in his numerous memberships in professional organizations. He has been an active member of the Illinois Arts Alliance since its inception and has served on several Illinois Arts Council panels. He is also a former member of the Illinois Humanities Council. He has also served as a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD). He represented the Council at many arts in higher education international conferences in Florence and Bellagio, Italy; Amsterdam; Vienna; and Ottawa, Canada. Vaughn has been instrumental in cultivating significant relationships for support to EIU from the Tarble Family and other significant contributors.
Ruth had a passion for music and the arts, graduating with a BME from the University of Nebraska in 1952, and an MA in Related Arts from Eastern Illinois University in 1989. A lover of sacred music, she was an instructor of organ at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska; and faithfully served for fifty years as organist in various churches in Nebraska, Colorado, and Illinois. Ruth also inspired music among her students as an elementary school music teacher in Lincoln. Expanding her life of giving, she motivated dozens of volunteers while a Director of Volunteers at Hospice of Lincolnland in east central Illinois.
Vaughn and Ruth Jaenike have been loyal friends and have played an active role in the Eastern Illinois University community for many years. Vaughn during his 19-year career at Eastern Illinois University served as the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts and was an advocate for public access to the arts, organizing the first “Celebration: A Festival of the Arts. The festival has become an annual event, attracting more than a quarter-of-a-million individuals over the years. They have demonstrated their deep love and pride for the University by being instrumental in the planning and construction of the Tarble Arts Center, and by securing grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, and Charles E. Merrill Trust to establish a folk arts program and collection at the Tarble Arts Center;
They established the Ruth and Vaughn Jaenike Access to the Arts Fund which encourages artistic presentations, performances, exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and related programs to new or underserved audiences, with a priority on serving the east-central Illinois area. Vaughn and Ruth have made a positive impact on the lives of students and the educational opportunities made available to them at Eastern Illinois University.
Outstanding Foundation Member
This award is bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate the ideals of membership in the Foundation through their volunteer service to the Foundation and to the University's academic and athletic programs, providing the leadership, expertise, and knowledge essential for the work of its advisory and governing boards, administrative councils and committees, and its executives-in-residence programs.
John D. Schmitt ('76, '78)
John D. Schmitt, EIU Alumnus. Graduated from EIU with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Political Science. John served as a Graduate Assistant in the Political Science department during graduate school and assisted Dr. Peter Leigh and Dr. Charles Hollister. John was involved with Greek activities on the campus through his involvement with his fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha of which he was a founding and charter member. John has been involved with the EIU Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity all through his alumni years having served as Chapter Advisor and as Treasurer and Secretary of the EIU Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Association. John also served his International Fraternity as Chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board. The Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity awarded him the Order of Merit for Alumni Service in 1996.
John spent 35 years working in Illinois Government, Not-for-Profits, Local Government and Higher Education (State Senate, Department of Energy and Natural Resources, Department of Conservation, Office of Illinois Governor James R. Thompson). He participated in a trade mission to the former USSR and a mission to France. John also served as Executive Director of the Nature of Illinois Foundation and was the first Executive Director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation which raised over $16 million. His last position of seven years was with his beloved Alma Mater Eastern Illinois University in which he served as the Director of Development/Philanthropy for the Chicagoland region.
John has been a long-standing member of the EIU Alumni Association and served on the Board of Directors from 1983-1986. He was awarded the EIU Alumni Association's Alumni Service Award in 2004. He established the John D. Schmitt Scholarship which annually awards an officer of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at EIU. John has also been instrumental in leading to the creation of three other EIU scholarships benefiting undergraduate members of Lambda Alpha Chi: the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Founders Scholarship, the Lambda Chi Alpha Scholastic Incentive Scholarship and the Jack R. Kelly Scholarship.
Most notably, John has never missed an EIU Homecoming since being an undergrad, and the 2018 EIU Homecoming will mark his 44th consecutive! He remains dedicated to serving the university and its success even in his retirement. John attends many EIU events and is always willing to go above and beyond, still helping with relationships and fundraising at a volunteer level. John exemplifies the spirit of EIU!