Being an alumnus of Eastern Illinois University makes one part of quite an impressive group. An EIU education has sparked a multitude of illustrious careers in a number of fields, and the achievements of each and every student — along with those of the remarkable individuals on this page — have helped this university leave its mark on the region, state, country, and even the world.

Arts, Entertainment, Literature

Burl Ives

Burl Ives ex '31

  • Singer/actor
  • Academy Award for best supporting actor, The Big Country, 1958
Craig Titley

Craig Titley '89

  • Writer/producer
  • The Cape (writer/producer)
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (screenplay)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (writer)

Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Jan Spivey Gilchrist '73

  • Award-winning book illustrator
Jerry Van Dyke

Jerry Van Dyke ex '55

  • Actor/entertainer

Joan Allen

Joan Allen ex '78

  • Tony and SAG award recipient
  • Three-time Academy Award nominee
John  Malkovich

John Malkovich ex '75

  • Actor/director/producer
  • Two-time Academy Award nominee

Luke  Ryan

Luke Ryan '01

  • Vice president of theatrical production, MGM motion picture group
  • Former vice president, MTV Films
  • Executive producer, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Matthew Polenzani

Matthew Polenzani '91

  • Internationally acclaimed tenor
  • Richard Tucker Award, 2004
  • Metropolitan Opera's Beverly Sills Artist Award, 2009

Randy Arney

Randy Arney '78

  • Actor
  • Artistic director, Geffen Playhouse
  • Former artistic director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company


Bob Jachino

Bob Jachino '59

  • President and CEO, Thomson Information-Publishing Group (retired)
Daryll Fletcher

Daryll Fletcher '75, '76

  • Vice president of quantitative research and analytics, Allstate Insurance Company (retired)

Don Gher

Don Gher '73

  • Founder and managing director, Coldstream Capital Management (retired)
Ed Escalante

Ed Escalante '74

  • Vice president and general manager, McKesson Pharmaceutical
  • Former market president, Alliant Foodservice

Howard Kamerer

Howard Kamerer '90, '91

  • President and CEO, WOW Logistics
  • Former President and CEO, Startec Global Communications
  • Former COO and President, Allied Telesyn US and European Operations
Jack Dadam

Jack Dadam '65

  • Retired co-CEO, Red Bull
  • Responsible for bringing Red Bull to the United States

Jim Evans

Jim Evans '68

  • Former CEO, Jenny Craig
  • Former CEO and board chairman, Best Western International
  • Former senior vice president sales & marketing and operations, Hyatt
Jimmy Liautaud

Jimmy Liautaud ex '88

  • Founder and chairman of the board, Jimmy John's restaurants

John L.  Heath

John L. Heath '58

  • Former president, CEO and chairman of the board, Heath Candy Company
Mark Grier

Mark Grier '74, '75

  • Chief financial officer, chairman and director, Prudential
  • Former executive vice president, Chase Manhattan Bank

Paul  Hopkins

Paul Hopkins '78

  • Chairman of the board and regional chairman of the Americas, Farmers Insurance
  • Chairman of the board, Zurich Holding Company of America (Zurich Insurance)
Robert Manion

Robert Manion '66

  • Chief financial officer, Global Enterprise Group, Accenture (retired)

Robert A. Ingram

Robert A. Ingram '65

  • Chairman, Elan Corporation
  • Former CEO, Glaxo Wellcome
  • Former vice chairman of pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline
Stephen Gosselin

Stephen Gosselin '79

  • Vice president, customer services support division, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Former vice president, North American Commercial Division, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Former president, Solar Turbines

William Robinson

William Robinson '76

  • Senior vice president and general manager, Pepsi Bottling Group (retired)
Yvette Moyo Gillard

Yvette Moyo Gillard '74

  • President, Real Men Cook/MOBE
  • Executive director and co-founder, Real Men Charities, Inc.


Al Bowman

Al Bowman '76

  • President, Illinois State University
Author Hughes

Author Hughes '51

  • President emeritus, University of San Diego

Barbara McLaughlin

Barbara McLaughlin '71

  • Disney American Teacher Award recipient
C. Nelson Grote

C. Nelson Grote '50

  • President emeritus, Morehead State University

Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy

Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy '65, '67

  • Executive director, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
H. Ray Hoops

H. Ray Hoops '62

  • President emeritus, University of Southern Indiana

Joe Fatheree

Joe Fatheree '89, '05

  • Recipient, National Teacher of the Year, NEA Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Illinois Teacher of the Year
John H. Keiser

John H. Keiser '58

  • President emeritus, Missouri State University

Lou Hencken

Lou Hencken '66, '67

  • President emeritus, Eastern Illinois University
Marvin E.  Edwards

Marvin E. Edwards '67

  • Former superintendent of schools in Dallas, Texas; Topeka, Kansas; and Elgin, Illinois

Roseann Drew

Roseann Drew '70

  • Founder and president, The Sunshine House
  • Sixth-largest daycare provider in the United States
Tim McCollum

Tim McCollum '73, '77

  • U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching
  • Finalist, National Teacher of the Year/NEA Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Illinois Teacher of the Year


Claibourne I.  Dungy, M.D.

Claibourne I. Dungy, M.D. '62

  • Director, general pediatrics and adolescent medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals (retired)
Gordon  Grado, M.D.

Gordon Grado, M.D. '74

  • Founder and medical director, Southwest Oncology Centers
  • Noted cancer researcher

James Allen

James Allen '79

  • Former lead engineer, International Space Station payload and integration engineering groups
  • Recipient of multiple achievement awards from the Boeing Company and NASA
Nancy Elwess

Nancy Elwess '76

  • National Association of Biology Teachers college professor of the year award recipient
  • U.S. Presidential Award for Excellent in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring
  • Board of directors, Mayo Clinic Alumni Association

Robert Millis

Robert Millis '63

  • Director, Lowell Observatory (retired)
  • Noted researcher and astronomer
Ron  Davis

Ron Davis '64

  • Director, Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford University
  • Professor, biochemistry and genetics, Stanford University
  • Member National Academy of Sciences

Sharon LeDuc

Sharon LeDuc '65

  • Deputy director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center

News, Media

Karen Meyer

Karen Meyer '76

  • President, Karen L. Meyer and Associates
  • Feature reporter, ABC 7 Chicago
  • Two-time recipient: "One of the 100 Women Who Are Making a Difference in Chicago"
Larry  Smith

Larry Smith ex '91

  • Founder, JayeliTV
  • Former CNN sports anchor

Ray  D'Alessio

Ray D'Alessio '91

  • Sports anchor, WAVE Louisville
  • Former CNN sports anchor
Ted Gregory

Ted Gregory '81

  • Writer, Chicago Tribune
  • Pulitzer Prize recipient for investigative reporting

Todd Connor

Todd Connor '87

  • Anchor, WRTV Indianapolis
  • Former anchor/correspondent, FOX News
  • Former anchor/correspondent, ABC News

Public Service

Capt. Charles Hall

Capt. Charles Hall ex '42

  • Tuskegee Airman
  • First African-American pilot in the U.S. armed forces to shoot down an enemy aircraft
Jim Edgar

Jim Edgar '68

  • Former Illinois governor
  • Former Illinois secretary of state

Major Carlos Ogden

Major Carlos Ogden ex '40

  • WWII Medal of Honor recipient
  • Former director, California Selective Service
Sue Payton

Sue Payton '72

  • Assistant secretary of the Air Force (retired)
  • Former deputy under secretary of defense
  • Former aerospace industry executive

Vicki Freimuth

Vicki Freimuth '66

  • Director, Southern Center for Communication, Health and Poverty
  • Former associate director for communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Brad  Childress

Brad Childress '88

  • Head Coach, Alliance Atlanta (Alliance of American Football)
  • Former head coach, Minnesota Vikings
  • Former offensive coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs
Dan Steele

Dan Steele '92

  • 2002 U.S. Olympian, bronze medal, bobsled
  • U.S. Olympic trial qualifier, decathlon
  • 1992 NCAA Division I 400M hurdle champion

Darrin Steele

Darrin Steele '92

  • CEO, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
  • U.S. Olympian, bobsled
  • U.S. Olympic trial qualifier, decathlon
Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo ex '13

  • Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
  • Member of two Super Bowl championship teams
  • Second-Round Selection, 2014 NFL Draft (New England Patriots)

John Craft

John Craft '69, '74

  • 1972 U.S. Olympian - 5th Place, Triple Jump
  • Former American record holder in the triple jump
Joni  Comstock

Joni Comstock '79

  • NCAA senior vice president for championships
  • Board of directors, National Association of Collegiate Women's Athletics Administrators

Kevin  Duckworth

Kevin Duckworth '86

  • Former NBA all-star
  • Former NBA center: Trail Blazers, Bullets, Bucks, Clippers, Spurs
Kevin Seitzer

Kevin Seitzer '85

  • Atlanta Braves hitting coach
  • Former MLB all-star third baseman: Royals, Brewers, Indians
  • Runner-up, 1987 American League Rookie of the Year

Marty  Pattin

Marty Pattin '66

  • Former MLB all-star
  • Pitcher: Royals, Red Sox, Pilots, Brewers, Angels
Matt Hughes

Matt Hughes ex '96

  • Former UFC welterweight champion

Mike Heimerdinger

Mike Heimerdinger '75

  • Former offensive coordinator, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New York Jets
Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan '74, '75

  • Two-time Super Bowl winner
  • Former head coach, Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins

Schellas  Hyndman

Schellas Hyndman '73

  • Head coach, FC Dallas, 2010 MLS champions
  • Former head soccer coach, Southern Methodist University and EIU
Sean  Payton

Sean Payton '87

  • Head coach, New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl XLIV champions
  • 2006 NFL Coach of the Year
  • Former offensive coordinator, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants

Tim Bogar

Tim Bogar '87

  • First Base Coach, Washington Nationals
  • Former MLB manager
  • Former MLB infielder: Astros, Mets, Dodgers
Tony  Romo

Tony Romo ex '03

  • Pro Bowl quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
  • Lead Football Analyst, CBS Sports