Six individuals are to be recognized as the Eastern Illinois University Foundation's Outstanding Members for 2009.
This new award is bestowed on individuals who demonstrate the ideals of membership in the Foundation by providing their own financial support to EIU; promoting philanthropy, either personally or through the combined efforts of their organizations; or volunteering their time and talents to enhance the university's academic, athletic and cultural programs. It is through the direct efforts of its members that the Foundation is able to fulfill its mission of support to Eastern Illinois University.
This year's Outstanding Foundation Members are Michael Conlin of Auburn; Matt and Joyce Madigan of rural Charleston; Ruth and Charles Dow of Naperville, Ill.; and John Inyart of Charleston.
Michael Conlin, who received his bachelor's degree in zoology (1970) and his master's degree in aquatic biology (1971) from Eastern, currently serves as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' director of the Office of Resource Conservation. As such, he is responsible for all activities and programs of the Divisions of Wildlife, Fisheries, Forestry, Natural Heritage and Nature Preserves. Before joining the IDNR, he previously worked for the Illinois Department of Conservation (1971-1985), and was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Kasungu, Malawi, Africa, working with local farmers in establishing agricultural cooperative and consumer cooperative stores.
He is a founding member of Eastern's College of Sciences Advisory Board, and is currently a member of the COS Honorary Advisory Board. He has been a great friend and promoter of EIU students and programs through his work at the IDNR, and initiated the discussions that resulted in progress toward establishing a field station within a few miles of campus that will serve students in biological sciences and geology/geography.
Conlin's many awards include the EIU Distinguished Alumnus Award (1990) and a Recognition Award of Excellence from the Illinois House of Representatives (1999).
Matt Madigan graduated from Eastern with both his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry. While pursuing his master's degree, he also taught a few classes at both EIU and Lake Land Community College in Mattoon.
Madigan joined the teaching staff full-time at Lake Land in 1994; he was appointed the division chair of math science in 2002. He was in the first wave of instructors offering online classes at Lake Land, and also led the team that revised the college's general education goals. He also has a proven track record of securing grant funding.
Madigan, who is a founding member of EIU's College of Sciences Advisory Board and a member of the COS Honorary Advisory Board, was instrumental in the establishment of the College of Sciences Advisory Board Scholarship/Research Award. In addition to providing encouragement to his fellow board members for the award's creation, he also donated the lead gift. COS students benefit from the endowment each year.
Additionally, Madigan was the recipient of an Outstanding Graduate Alumnus Award from EIU in 2005.
Joyce Madigan, a partner with Gilbert, Metzger and Madigan, has been a long-time supporter of EIU. She has maintained a close relationship with the accountancy program and the School of Business since her graduation from EIU in 1980, and has spoken in numerous accounting classes and contributed significantly to Accounting Day and Beta Alpha Psi (the national accounting honor society) activities.
In 1996, the Accounting Advisory Board was founded. Madigan is an original member and guiding force behind the success of this advisory board. She has played important roles in taking this board from inception to the instrumental role it now plays in assisting the accountancy program meet its mission.
Her firm has hired several EIU accounting graduates, and Madigan has mentored those employees' success while encouraging them to maintain a high level of community service.
Madigan, a member of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, the EIU Foundation and the EIU Alumni Association, also serves on the board of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System as chairperson. She serves on the board of the Coles Together Economic Development Corp., and is a past president and currently treasurer of Coles Together.
Among her honors is a Distinguished Business Alumnus Award, presented in April 2001 by Eastern's School of Business.
In 1983, Ruth and Charles Dow participated in a mission trip to Mexico; that trip kindled interest in public health and community service. Both have since worked in Latin American and African countries as volunteers with Alfalit International Inc., an international, interdenominational Christian literacy organization which focuses on community development through educational programs that enhance the quality of life for those with limited resources.
Ruth Dow, who currently serves as Alfalit's director of nutrition, taught at EIU from 1969 to 1998, and served as an adjunct graduate professor in 1999, 2000 and 2005. As a registered dietitian in 1980, working through Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, she developed Eastern's Graduate Dietetics Program.
Charles Dow has served as an Alfalit volunteer agriculture instructor in Latin America since 1998. He previously served as a professional farm manager for Dow Management Services (1970-1998) and fertilizer sales representative/district sales manager (1964-1998). He received his master's degree in business administration from Eastern in 1986, and he, too, served as an adjunct graduate professor at EIU in 1999, 2000 and 2005.
The Dows established a charitable remainder trust which will one day benefit the McNabb-Dow Graduate Scholarship, an endowment fund they created in 1987. In 2007, the couple reassigned their trust's income back to the Foundation,so that the annual distribution from their trust will grow the corpus of their endowment during their lifetimes.
John Inyart is currently serving his second term as the mayor of Charleston. He was born and raised in the city, graduating from Charleston High School with the Class of 1980. He attended Lake Land College in Mattoon, taking classes toward a degree in automotive repair, and currently owns Midas Auto Service Experts in both Charleston and Mattoon.
As Charleston 's mayor, Inyart serves on EIU President Bill Perry's Cabinet with other community leaders, meeting several times a year toidentify issuesand improve the relationships between the university and surrounding communities. Inyart also meets monthly with Perry for solving some of the more critical day-to-day issues that arise from university and city activities. He has been extremely helpful and responsive to the needs of the university, ensuring that special events such as the Homecoming parade are enjoyable for all.
Inyart has been active in several community organizations, including the Charleston Fire and Police Board, the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston Jaycees. He spent 19 years as a Lincoln Fire Protection District volunteer firefighter, stepping down in 2005 after taking office as mayor. He continues to serve the city and county as a volunteer storm spotter.