|Julie Nimmons||Carl Mito|
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 was 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.
Carl Mito of Arlington Heights and Julie Nimmons of Litchfield have been named the EIU Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for 2012.
Carl Mito, managing director of investments at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in Chicago, has volunteered in a variety of capacities at Eastern, including as a member of both the School of Business Advisory Board and the EIU Foundation. A three-term member of the School of Business Advisory Board, he was an early supporter of the Securities Analysis Center and later hosted events in his Chicago office to connect business graduates with the university and promote the center's benefits to students.
He and his late wife established the Carl and Marion Mito Excellence in Finance Endowment Fund in 2003 to benefit the School of Business on an ongoing basis as part of his philanthropic commitment, which includes nearly $325,000 in gifts to support the university's students.
A member of EIU's Capital Campaign External Steering Committee, which provided guidance as the university significantly exceeded its goal, Mito also delivered the commencement address to EIU's graduates in December 2011. Having joined Delta Chi fraternity as an undergraduate, he maintained his connection with that group after his 1972 graduation and assisted with the planning of its 2006 alumni reunion on campus.
In addition to his continuing support of EIU, he also sits on the board of directors for the Cancer Wellness Center and serves on the executive committee, co-chairs the fundraising committee and leads Team Marion for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk as he continues the fight against cancer.
Julie Nimmons, a former member of EIU's Board of Trustees who also served as the volunteer chair for the university's recently completed capital campaign, is recognized as a national leader in the sporting goods industry. As an owner of Schutt Sports, she was twice named one of "25 Leaders to Watch" by Sports Edge magazine and was the first woman elected to the board of directors of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, later serving as the organization's chairperson.
A leading manufacturer of sports-related gear, including baseball, softball and football helmets and the bases utilized by Major League Baseball, Schutt was recognized numerous times under Nimmons’ leadership and was selected as the Equipment Manufacturer of the Year by Sporting Goods Business magazine in 2004.
She has also been featured on CNN's "All About Women" and, in 2010, was inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association's Hall of Fame.
The recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from EIU in May 2012, Nimmons currently serves on the national board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Leadership Board for FCA Softball; volunteers for the Down Syndrome Association for the Greater St. Louis Area; and is a chair for Vistage International Inc., the leading CEO membership organization.
A 1977 graduate of Eastern, Nimmons and her husband, Ken, endowed the Nimmons Family Scholarship for EIU students. The Nimmons Keyboard Studio in the Doudna Fine Arts Center on campus is named in recognition of her family's support.