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.
Dr. Judith M. James
Dr. Judith James, an accomplished EIU retiree professor, began her journey teaching in the Zoology Department on a temporary basis, prior to completing her doctorate in 1987. After earning her Ph. D. in Genetics from Illinois State University, she taught a variety of genetics courses, ranging from "Heredity and Society" through the required genetics courses for majors and honors and a graduate course in Human Genetics. She served as Pre-Medical Studies Chair and University Personnel Committee Chair, as well as on the Faculty Senate, Intercollegiate Athletic Board, Student Health Advisory Board, and Library Advisory Board. Academically, she published various professional articles on developmental genetics, presenting her research at myriad national and professional meetings. In addition, Judith also served on the Board of Directors of the Central Association of Advisors for Health Professions for six years. Judith's invaluable dedication to the EIU earned her two Faculty Excellence Awards. After a fulfilling career, including so many memorable and crucial contributions to EIU, she retired from the university in 2011.