Tickets still available for dinner, celebration
(Charleston, IL) –Eastern Illinois University’s Alumni Association has announced the recipients of the Charleston, Illinois university’s 2022 Alumni Awards, who will be celebrated at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner Saturday evening in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Junior University Union.
Several EIU alumni were named as award recipients for their significant personal and professional contributions. Those receiving a 2022 EIU Alumni Award include:
Enge is the Regional Director of Postsecondary Success for KIPP Forward: Chicago, where he has been since June 2022. His responsibilities include leading and managing a team of college and career advisors who support high school students in their post-secondary schooling plans. He was previously the director of postsecondary success with OneGoal, a Chicago-based nonprofit. Enge also is the co-founder and chief operating officer for The Collegiate Black Male Network, a group with a mission to increase collegiate black males’ persistence and graduation rates. He also volunteers as the director of college coaching and counseling at PeerForward, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of low-income youth by connecting them to colleges and careers. In 2020, he was named Counselor of the Year by both the Illinois College Counseling Association and the Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling in Illinois. In 2021, he was named a Top 100 Visionary in Education by the Global Forum for Education and Learning. While at EIU, Enge was active with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is currently working toward a doctoral degree in counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.
Will is the instructional materials center coordinator at Zion-Benton Township High School, where she has been since 2001. She has been a leader in promoting the importance of reading by securing several grants for the school library and arranging author visits to the school. Working with other teachers to adopt more independent reading into the curriculum, the school has seen a dramatic improvement in test scores, which has encouraged school officials to invest further into library resources. Will began her career as an English teacher at Round Lake High School and was then an instructor at Utah State University, teaching undergraduate English courses. She is currently the president for the Association of Illinois School Library Educators and the first president for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English, where she was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award. She also serves as the literacy task force co-chair and substance abuse prevention co-chair for the Zion-Benton Coalition for Healthy Communities, where she recruits and trains high school students to be peer educators and drug prevention leaders.
“RJ” is currently president of Valley Vistas and AZ Home Innovations, a real estate service company located in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company has provided support services to more than 100 manufactured housing communities in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah over the last 25 years and has generated in excess of $750 million in revenue. His company has dedicated efforts in providing affordable housing alternatives and training support for housing professionals in the southwest by serving on the board for the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona for 16 years and providing housing dealer services for more than 25 years. Johnson gained his passion for housing during an early career at EIU where he served as a resident assistant, graduate assistant, Douglas Hall director and associate director of housing under former EIU president Lou Hencken. His EIU experiences helped foster a lifelong commitment to his alma mater with both his time and financial support. With the support of the 1975 Douglas Hall staff, he developed an endowment to support EIU students who are pursuing a career in housing and student services. He also is a host and financial supporter for the annual alumni gathering in Arizona.
After a long career of playing professional basketball across the globe, Domercant is now in his second season as the head coach of the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League. He spent 12 years overseas, playing for clubs in Turkey, Greece, Russia and Italy, posting career averages of 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals. Following his final season in Italy, he returned to the US to play with the Idaho Stampede in the Continental Basketball Association. He began his coaching career in 2017 when he joined the staff of the Maine Red Claws. Domercant, a 2009 Panther Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, is the EIU leader in points per game (21.7), total points (2,602), three-pointers made (285) and free throws made (595). The 2002 OVC Player of the Year, he is one of only 11 NCAA Division I players to ever rank in the top five in scoring in the nation in three or more seasons.
Johnson has used her journalism degree to achieve recognition as both a journalist and a lawyer. After being a reporter and editor for the Daily Eastern News, she became an award-winning reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Decatur Herald & Review, until her brother’s death inspired her to attend law school. After graduating from Washington University School of Law, she was a law clerk for a federal judge. She is now a litigation attorney and shareholder with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. in St. Louis. She leads the Franchising & Distribution group, a team of transactional and litigation attorneys representing clients nationally and internationally. Her practice focuses on helping franchisors and manufacturers resolve disputes in mediation and arbitration forums and in state and federal courts. She has won several awards for her franchise law work. She is on Greensfelder’s Board of Directors, playing a key role in oversight of the firm’s finances, operations and strategic planning, and has served in other firm leadership roles. She has served on several non-profit boards, including The Compassionate Friends for bereaved parents and siblings, Safe Connections for victims of relationship violence, College Summit for underprivileged youth, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation, and Focus St. Louis leadership organization.
Long was a successful attorney in both public and private practice, concentrating in corporate planning and taxation; business transactions; and business litigation. After graduating from EIU, Tom spent two years in the Army before earning his law degree from Southern Methodist University. In addition to being an attorney, he had many successful business ventures. He was a founder and CEO for Argosy Gaming Company, which had more than $500 million in revenue during his tenure. He also invested in other small businesses with revenues ranging from $2 million to $50 million. Long had a long history of community involvement and leadership that included serving as the village attorney for Godfrey; serving on the board of directors and was the former president for the Southwestern Illinois Employers’ Association; and serving as chairman of St. Anthony’s Foundation Board and Community Council for OSF St. Anthony’s. Tom proudly served as a volunteer on the advance team for President George W. Bush’s presidential trips to Hungary, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Poland and Russia. First and foremost was Tom’s love for God and his family. He passed away on January 28, 2022, at the age of 71. Surviving are his wife, three daughters, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren.
Rich retired in June 2022 after a 28-year career at EIU, most recently as assistant vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the EIU Alumni Association. He came to EIU in 1994 as assistant athletic director before becoming director of Alumni Services in 1996. During his tenure the Alumni Association’s assets increased to nearly $3 million and he also assisted with numerous campus projects, including the construction of the Alumni Clock Tower and the Commemorative Courtyard. Facilitating a high level of engagement and outreach, he helped build relationships with alumni and donors across the country while also having responsibility for the annual fund, which consistently exceeded national benchmarks, and the advancement area’s award-winning CRM system. Rich assisted with state and federal government relations for several years, routinely making trips to Springfield and Washington to meet with elected officials on the university’s behalf and was responsible for trademark licensing and brand management initiatives for more than 25 years. He also served a term as president of the International Collegiate Licensing Association, the only individual not from a Power Five or Group of Five conference to serve in that capacity in the organization’s history.
Viviano is an award-winning actor and singer with numerous Broadway and off-Broadway credits, as well as appearances in film and television. He made his Broadway debut in 1984 in The Three Musketeers. On tour, he also has starred in City of Angels; The Full Monty; The Pirates of Penzance; Beau Jest; and received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for best actor for his role in Sunday in the Park with George. He won a Broadway World Award for best actor and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his work in Closer than Ever. He has performed nearly 600 pops concerts with more than 200 orchestras across the globe, including the National Symphony, San Diego Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic (London) and the Orchestra di Teatro Verdi (Trieste, Italy). The highlight of his television guest appearances is his role as Vincent VanGogh in Disney’s Out of the Box, which won a Parent's Choice Award. Viviano also has more than 80 recordings, including his solo CD titled The Standards of Love and his most recent title Perfectly Frank – A Century of Sinatra. He has sung the national anthem at New York Mets baseball games for the past 38 years. Viviano has remained an advocate for EIU by contributing his talents to workshops and assisting with the Department of Theatre’s 50th anniversary alumni event.
Social hour will begin at 6 p.m. with the Awards Dinner and Ceremony taking place at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available for the celebratory event and dinner for $45, and can be ordered online at www.eiu.edu/alumni or by calling 800-ALUM-EIU.
For more information about EIU’s Alumni Services Office, visit https://www.eiu.edu/alumni/. For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.