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EIU Foundation

Meet the Board of Directors



Sylvia Nichols, President - Evansville, Indiana

Sylvia Nichols Vice PresidentSylvia is a graduate of EIU where she received her B.S. in Education with a major in Chemistry. While enrolled as a student she was inducted into the mathematics honorary society. She began her career in Lawrenceville, Illinois, where she taught chemistry and mathematics. Sylvia went on to instruct chemistry, math, and physics at Red Hill School, Bridgeport, Illinois and Lincoln Trail College, Robinson Illinois. After leaving the teaching profession, she was elected to the Lawrenceville Unit 20 Board of Education and served as President. Concurrently, she and her husband owned and operated Nichols Funeral Homes in Lawrence County. After moving to Edwardsville, Illinois, she became CEO and partner in S&N Graphics, Inc., located in St. Louis, MO. The company manufactured printing plates and other identification products for the packaging industry. She was a founding member and served as president of the FPPA a national trade association for the industry.

Now retired, she is active in the Evansville Philharmonic Guild and the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardeners Association. Sylvia is a lifetime member of the EIU Alumni Association and former president. She also served on the State Universities Retirement System Board, several corporate boards, and was a member of the American Association of University Women serving as chapter president and received the Woman of Achievement Award. Sylvia was an avid volunteer and participant in the EIU capital campaign. In 2011, the Foundation Board named Sylvia as Outstanding Foundation Member.

Sylvia is serving her seventh year on the Foundation Board of Directors and currently serves as President.  

 Cindra Stiff, Vice President - Philpot, Kentucky

Cindra Stiff Vice President 2019

Cindra received a BS in Business with an accounting emphasis from EIU in 1979. She went on to earn her MBA from Murray State University in 1988. She currently holds the position of vice president of finance at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro, KY and serves as an adjunct instructor in the Introduction to Business & Women Leadership courses.  Cindra began her career as an accountant for EIU and then went on to hold the position of controller at the Presbyterian College, 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 (SACUBO). Additional assignments include chair of the Board and Finance Committee for Hospice of Western Kentucky and the Daviess County Kentucky Library Board and Bowlware Home Center Board. Cindra is serving her fourth year on the Foundation Board of Directors.  She currently serves as Vice President on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Scholarships, Grants & Awards Committee. 


 Jeremy Yost, Treasurer - Charleston, Illinois

Jeremy Yost Treasurer 2019Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. He attended graduate school at EIU while studying for his Master of Science in Technology focusing on training and development.   Currently, serving as the vice president of Yost Management Company, LLC which specializes in real estate development and property management.  He is president of Yost Enterprises, LLC, serves as president of Indian Point Affordable Housing, NFP, and president of the Country Lane Affordable Housing, NFP, and president of Highland Place Affordable Housing, NFP.

Jeremy’s professional memberships include serving on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Housing Council, Coles Together Board of Directors, and Illinois Affordable Housing, NFP. He is a current member of the EIU Panther Club Executive Board and is chair of fundraising for EIU Athletics. He was a past Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce board of director, and former finance officer for the American Legion Post #93. 

Jeremy is a master mason at Masonic Lodge #35. In 2007 and 2008 he was the Navy Region Midwest Sailor of the Year Runner-up while serving in the U.S. Navy.   Jeremy is serving his fourth year on the Foundation Board of Directors. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Executive Committee. He also serves as Chair of the  Finance/Audit & Real Estate Committee. 

Susan Young, Secretary - Mahomet, Illinois

Susan Young Secretary 2019Susan graduated from EIU in 1984 with BS in Accounting and Masters of Science in Taxation in 1990 from DePaul University. In her current role, Susan serves as Executive Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Chief Financial Officer, University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, Champaign, IL. Susan has been with the U of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) for more than ten years.  In her role as CFO, she oversees the annual financial operations, capital project funding and human resources for DIA.

 Additional areas under Susan’s supervision include the State Farm Center, DIA’s Orange and Blue Golf Course, Atkins Tennis Center, and IT services. Before Susan’s 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, Illinois. 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. Susan is serving her second year on the Foundation Board of Directors. She serves on the Investment and Scholarships, Grants and Awards and Finance/Audit & Real Estate Committees.


Daryll Fletcher - Mundelein Illinois

Daryll FletcherDaryll retired from Allstate Insurance Company where he served as the vice president of quantitative research and analytics. In that position, Daryll was responsible for the company’s applied research and catastrophe-modeling capabilities. He held various positions and experienced several relocations across the United States in his 32 years with Allstate, with roles including assistant vice president of urban/Hispanic markets, regional vice president of the capital region and vice president of risk management/underwriting where he oversaw the field operations of 49 states.

Daryll earned his undergraduate degree in speech communication from EIU in 1975 and his master’s in guidance and counseling in 1976. A former executive-in-residence from EIU’s School of Business, he has also volunteered with numerous community-based organizations throughout his career. Daryll is a 2008 recipient of the EIU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award. Daryll and his spouse Janice of 40 years live in the Chicago suburbs of Ivanhoe, Illinois. They both enjoy spending quality time with their grandson Isaiah. Daryll is serving his first year on the EIU Foundation Board of Directors.  Daryll serves on the Investment and Scholarship, Grants and Awards Committees.


Gordon Grado - Scottsdale, Arizona

Gordon Grado 2018-2019Gordon graduated from EIU in 1974 with a BS in Zoology. In 2006, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association and in 2013, 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, Arizona with four other oncology centers throughout Arizona and with two affiliated centers in Mexico and two in 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.

He has given hundreds of presentation worldwide and authored numerous peer-reviewed articles on the subject of oncology and prostate cancer. In June 2000, Governor Jane Hull of Arizona named him to serve on the Arizona Prostate Cancer Task Force. Gordon has worked with EIU lecturing health science students and developed a mentoring program for pre-medical students who fly to his Arizona Southwest Oncology Centers (and Mexico) where they work as interns for at least two weeks and have also worked on research projects.

Most recently, Gordon served on the board of Adelante Healthcare which began as a program to provide health care to farm workers and now offers affordable healthcare throughout Maricopa County. He also provides support to St. Vincent DePaul and their clinics in Arizona. Gordon is serving his second year on the Foundation Board of Directors. He will serve on the Investment and Scholarships, Grants & Awards Committees.

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. Dennis is serving his third year on the Board of Directors and will serve on the Finance/Audit & Real Estate and Scholarship, Grants & Awards Committees.


William Hill - Charleston, Illinois

Bill Hill 2018-2019Bill began his education with a B.A. in Education from Kentucky Wesleyan College. He went on to earn his M.S. in School Administration from Indiana State University and his Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University.   His professional career in School administration spans over 40 years. In his capacity, Bill served 27 years as a School District Superintendent, 18 of which were with the Charleston School District. He dedicated 31 years to school administration within the public schools of Illinois, 13 years as Adjunct Professor at Eastern and four years as a State of Illinois Regional Vocational Director.


Bill was twice appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by Governor 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 served as a President of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  He also received an appointment with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children, was a member of the Wesley Foundation Board for five years and three years served as Board of Director for the Lake Land Community College Foundation.

Bill currently serves on the Sarah Busch Lincoln Foundation Board, as a director of Distance Learning Grant for Illinois Telephone Association and the Regional Board of School Trustees who serves seven counties. Bill is serving his fourth year on the Foundation Board of Directors. He served three years as a Volunteer before joining the Board of Directors and serves on the Finance/Audit & Real Estate and Scholarship, Grants & Awards Committees. 

 Rick Ingram -Chicago, Illinois

Rick IngramRick graduated with honors from Eastern in 1978 with 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. Rick is serving his third year as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. He will also serve on the Investment and Scholarships, Grants & Awards Committees.  His service to the Foundation began three years ago as a Volunteer on the Real Estate Committee.

 Al Longtin - New Lenox, Illinois

Al Longtin 2018-2019Al started his education with a BSB in Finance from EIU in 86' where he graduated with honors excelling in Business and Finance following his four years of service in the United States Navy. During his service, he received Letters of Commendation for his accuracy in accounting for a $20 million budget for repair parts. Upon his graduation from EIU, his career started at the Chicago Board of Trade as a bond trader. In 1987, Al joined a renowned estate-planning firm where he earned the position as being one of the firm's top representatives. Al is currently the Founder/CEO of Longtin Family Companies, LLC which he founded in 1992. His company specializes in assisting Ultra High Net Worth individuals, business owners and entrepreneurs to address long-term wealth preservation plans that utilize a broad range of financial products and services. His company is recognized nationally as experts regarding; limited family partnerships, family foundations, and complicated estate trust designs.

 Al has frequently been asked to participate as a member of the Board of Directors for leading privately held business. One of Al's main passions in life is serving on Boards for 501c3 organizations alongside with other charitable giving organizations; some include: SowHope (empowering women in 3rd world countries) and PB42 (encouraging couples to be proactive in early detection of breast and prostate cancer signs.) He has also served as past president of the Bishop McNamara School Alumni Board. Al served as Fall 2011 Executive in Residence at Eastern. Al also serves on the Athletic Director's Advisory Group.  Al is serving his fifth year on the Foundation Board of Directors. He will serve as Chair of the Investment Committee and as Liaison to the Alumni Association. 

Jill Nilsen - Charleston, Illinois

Jill Nilsen 2018-2019Jill graduated from EIU in 1974 with BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology and an MS 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 several years ago. Her contributions to EIU have been and continue to be extensive. During her time as Vice-President, Jill restructured the EIU Development function so that every college was an integral partner in the EIU Development effort and she ensured that every academic area had a part/full-time development director. Jill created an endowment in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences that provides funding for graduate student research presentations. 

Jill is an EIU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna, as well as 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 the President of the CASA of East Central Illinois Board of Directors where her development vision and experience have made a difference to this organization’s fund-raising abilities. Her prior service in other local agencies includes boards of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems, Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV), CCAR 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. Jill was the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist award. Jill is serving her second year on the Foundation Board of Directors. She also serves on the Finance/Audit & Real Estate and Investment Committees and as Liaison to the Annuitant Association.

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Contact Information

EIU Foundation
Office Neal Welcome Center

860 West Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(866) 581-3313
(217) 581-3313

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