Minier resident Barbara Baurer was appointed to EIU’s Board of Trustees in April 2017 by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from EIU in 1975 before earning her master’s degree in business administration a year later.
She served as the Chief Operating Officer for COUNTRY Financial since 1999, retiring in 2015 after providing COUNTRY Financial 37 years of dedicated service. She was the organization’s first female and youngest-ever Vice President when she began reporting to the CEO at age 34 as the company’s Vice President of Management Information Services. In that role, she was responsible for all insurance and investment management operations, information technology services, and the always-open customer service call center.
During her career, Baurer served on Boards for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the Institutes for Property/Casualty Insurance, the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, the EIU Foundation, EIU’s College of Business Advisory, the United Way of McLean County, and Bromenn Regional Medical System. In addition to the EIU Board of Trustees, she also now serves on the board for FBAlliance Insurance Company.
Baurer also received numerous awards and recognition during her career, including the Illinois Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Woman award, the Griffith Insurance Distinguished Service and Lifetime Achievement awards, the McLean County YWCA Woman of Distinction award. She also is a member of the Illinois State University Business Hall of Fame. Her other EIU distinctions include the EIU Outstanding Graduate Alumni award, the Distinguished Alumna Award from EIU’s School of Business, the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumna Award, and an honorary doctorate degree from her alma mater for her commitment to public service.
Mr. Joe Dively was named to the EIU Board of Trustees in October 2011. He is chairman and CEO of First Mid Bancshares Inc., based in Mattoon, Ill. Mr. Dively's business career includes service as a senior vice president for Consolidated Communications and in sales and management roles with IBM and Caterpillar.
A Charleston native, Mr. Dively has served his alma mater as president of the Alumni Association, chair of the Business School Advisory Board, and as a member of both the EIU Foundation Board and the Panther Club. He has been an active member of the business community, serving as chair of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, and on the board of the Illinois Bankers Association.
He received his bachelor of science degree in business from EIU in 1981, and was presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.
Phillip (P.J.) Thompson Jr. was appointed to the EIU Board of Trustees in January 2017 by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Thompson’s face is a familiar one to the EIU community. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the EIU in 2003 before spending nearly five years as EIU’s alumni events coordinator from 2008-12. He then used the skills he learned and honed at EIU to serve as associate director of alumni relations at Bradley University in Peoria. After that, Thompson moved on to become the director of alumni relations at McKendree University, a private liberal arts institution located in Lebanon, Illinois.
In 2020, Dr. Thompson completed his EdD in Higher Education Leadership at Maryville University in St. Louis.
Thompson currently resides in Belleville, Ill., and is active with Associated College of Illinois (ACI) in addition to CASE V and has served on planning committees for both professional organizations. He is passionate about higher education due to the opportunities it has provided him and wants to use the skills and knowledge of the Illinois higher education system to serve his alma mater by “enhancing the wonderful things already being done at EIU.”
Audrey Edwards has spent 37 years as an educator. After four years of public school teaching, she completed her doctorate and went on to teach English at Frostburg State University in Maryland for 11 years. There, she earned awards for innovative service to underprepared freshmen and students with disabilities. Joining EIU in 1989, Dr. Edwards became director of the Integrated Secondary Education Program, a unique cross-disciplinary teacher preparation plan. She served on several university-level committees, including the Council on Faculty Research, the Faculty Development Committee, and the Council on Teacher Education. Following retirement in 2010, Dr. Edwards has been an active member of the UPI Retirees Executive Board, serving as its president since 2015.
Christopher Hicks is a banking and financial services professional with more than 15 years of risk management and retail sales experience in Fortune 500 financial institutions. He currently serves as a Compliance Officer at Fifth-Third Bank and was in similar roles as Vice President at MB Financial Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America. Hicks began his career with eight years of service at LaSalle Bank in Chicago before its merger with Bank of America. The Homewood resident earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance from Eastern Illinois University, concurrently achieving four-year letterman status in football during his time as an undergraduate student-athlete at EIU.
Since its inception in August 1995, Joyce Madigan has served as partner of Gilbert, Metzger & Madigan, LLP, a full-service CPA firm located in Charleston, Illinois. She founded the firm with the Charleston partners of Larsson, Woodyard & Henson, LLP, where she worked for 15 years prior. Madigan began as a staff accountant before becoming a manager and eventually a partner of the firm. She currently serves as Vice President of Coles Together, Coles County's economic development corporation. Madigan has previously served on the Eastern Illinois University Accounting Advisory Board and also on the School of Business Advisory Board. In addition, she has served as past chair and former board member of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System. She is the recipient of EIU’s 2001 Distinguished Business Alumnus Award, the 2001 East Central Illinois Development Corporation’s Business Ethics and Social Involvement Award, and the 2002 Charleston Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award.
Martin Ruhaak is a corporate partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, where his practice focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions and corporate counseling in transactional situations. He has worked at the firm since 2011 and previously served as an associate in the business transactions practice of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York City. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Syracuse University College of Law after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Eastern Illinois University.
Kathleen Conlin started off in EIU student government as a student senator in 2018. Later, she moved up to committee chair for academic affairs. She is excited that her trajectory with student government has helped her build an ongoing familiarity with both the benefits and challenges of higher education—especially in Illinois—and that such an understanding will feed her contributions to EIU as an individual student and as a voice for the EIU students she represents. Conlin is a 2017 graduate of Central A&M High School in Moweaqua. She is a special education major with a concentration in early childhood education. She looks forward to graduating in May 2022, and she hopes to create a career for herself teaching in Illinois before seeking out administrative opportunities in education later on. In her spare time, Conlin enjoys the outdoors, and also has regularly participated in mission trips for YouthWorks, a national organization that coordinates such trips for teenagers and adults across the U.S. and beyond.
Conlin will serve as EIU's student trustee throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
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