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EIU Foundation

Meet the Board of Directors


Ms. Susan Young, President - Mahomet, Illinois

Susan Young Secretary 2019

 Susan graduated from EIU in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Science degree in taxation in 1990 from DePaul University. Young serves as Executive Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Chief Financial Officer at the University of Illinois’ Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, where she’s worked for more than ten years. In her role, she oversees the annual financial operations, capital project funding, and human resources for the division.

Additional areas under Susan’s supervision include the State Farm Center, Orange and Blue Golf Course, Atkins Tennis Center, and IT services. Before her 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. She is an accomplished executive with more than 30 years of tax, financial planning, and investment advisory experience for several firms, including Ernst & Young, Fel-Pro Incorporated, and KKP Group. 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 - Charleston, Illinois

Jill Nilsen 2018-2019

Jill graduated from EIU in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology and a Master’s of Science degree 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. Her contributions to EIU have been and continue to be extensive. During her time as Vice President, Jill restructured the EIU Development efforts so every college was an integral partner in EIU’s Development activities. She also created an endowment in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences that provides funding for graduate student research presentations.

Jill was the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist award. She is an EIU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna and 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 formerly President of the CASA of East Central Illinois Board of Directors, and her service in other local agencies includes the Boards of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, CCAR Industries, 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.


Dr. Gordon Grado - Treasurer - Scottsdale, Arizona

Gordon Grado 2018-2019

Gordon graduated from EIU in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. In 2006, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association, and in 2013 he also 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, with four other oncology centers throughout Arizona and with two affiliated centers each in Mexico and 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. Gordon also served on the board of Adelante Healthcare, which began as a program to provide health care to farmworkers and now offers affordable healthcare throughout Maricopa County. He continues to provide support to St. Vincent DePaul and their clinics in Arizona.
In June 2000, Arizona’s Governor named him as a member of the Arizona Prostate Cancer Task Force. He has worked at EIU, lecturing health science students and developing a mentoring program for pre-medical students interested in studying at his Arizona Southwest Oncology Centers, where they work as interns and on research projects.


Ms. Dawn Johnson, Secretary - Ballwin, Missouri

Dawn Johnson Foundation Board

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 - Chicago, Illinois

Dennis Grannan 2018-2019Dennis 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 - Charleston, Illinois

Bill Hill 2018-2019

Bill began his education by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Kentucky Wesleyan College. He went on to earn his Master of Science degree in school administration from Indiana State University, as well as a Ph.D. in education from Southern Illinois University. Bill served 27 years as a School District Superintendent, 18 of which with the Charleston School District. He dedicated 31 years to school administration within the public schools of Illinois, 13 years as an adjunct professor at Eastern, and four years as a State of Illinois Regional Vocational Director. He currently serves on the Sarah Bush Lincoln Foundation Board as a director of the Distance Learning Grant for Illinois Telephone Association and the Regional Board of School Trustees.

Bill was twice appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by former Governor and EIU alumnus Jim 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 also served as a President of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and received an appointment with CASA. Bill was a member of the Board of Directors for the Lake Land Community College Foundation.


Mr. Rick Ingram -Chicago, Illinois

Rick IngramRick 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

Dr. Kelvin Lane

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 - Brookport, Illinois

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, President - Philpot, Kentucky

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.




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Charleston, IL 61920
(866) 581-3313
(217) 581-3313

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