Alumni Achievement Award
Above: (left to right) President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Susan J. Koch, Kathy Best and Thom Serafin at the 2018 UIS Alumni Gala.
The Alumni Achievement Award, established in 1957, is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the University of Illinois by the Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to those alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.
How to Nominate Someone for the Alumni Achievement Award
Recipients must be nominated for the award. Working from these nominations, the Alumni Association Awards and Recognition Committee will select the recipients from each campus. The awards will be presented at Commencement or an Alumni Association event.
Please be advised: Should the committee determine the nominee would be more appropriately honored by means of a different award, the committee reserves the right to consider each nominee for other, more suitable recognition.
- Nomination is required. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination. Nominations will be considered active for five years.
- Nominee must hold an earned degree from the University of Illinois.
- Nominee must be an individual who is highly distinguished nationally or internationally for his/her chosen business, profession or life’s work.
- Nominee must be a person of such stature, demonstrated ability and renown that alumni, students, faculty and staff of the University of Illinois will take pride in and be inspired by his/her recognition.
- Nominee must be an individual who, in deed or action, reflects the importance of his/her education at the University of Illinois.
- Previous recipients are not eligible for reconsideration.
- Current members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees; the UIAA Board of Directors; the Alumni Association Awards and Recognition Committee; and relatives, employers or employees thereof are not eligible for consideration.
- Current faculty, staff and other employees of the University of Illinois or the UI Alumni Association are not eligible for consideration.
- Persons currently holding or running for elected state or federal public office in Illinois are not eligible for consideration.
- The award may not be conferred in absentia; however, it may be granted posthumously.
2018 Recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Kathy Best MA ’90 PAR was the recipient of the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award. She has covered news from the Statehouse to the Capitol, and from the digital domains of Seattle to the big skies of Missoula, Montana. Read her amazing story.
Darrel Burnett ’78 LAS
Entrepreneur and broadcaster
Wenguang Huang MA ’91 LAS
Writer, journalist, translator
Ralph S. Blackman MA ’76 PAA
Fred Parsons ’81 CBM
Founder, Southern Illinois Railcar Co.
Don Johnson ’82 CBM
Retired President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Aftermarket Technology Corporation
Lin N. Ezell ’74 LAS
Director, Marine Corps National Museum
Gordon Heddell, MA ’75 PAA
Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense
Raju L. Indukuri, MA ’92 CMB
Entrepreneur and founder of Reachnet International
Cheryl Alters Jamison, MA ’77 PAA
Author, teacher and entrepreneur
John D. Blackburn MA ’79 EHS
Chief Executive Officer; COUNTRY Insurance and
Financial Services Company
Donna Sollenberger ’71 LAS, MA ’74 LAS
President and CEO of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.
Phillip T. Zeni Sr. ’72
Executive Vice President, COO of Orban/CRL, San Leandro, Calif.
Randy Schilling, MA ’89 CBA
President, CEO and founder of Quilogy, St. Louis, Mo.
LeRoy Walker Jr., MA ’81 PAA
Owner/operator of 15 McDonald’s Restaurants
Vice President of Events, National Black McDonald’s Operator’s Association
Linda Renee Baker ’85 EHS, MA ’87 EHS
Humanitarian, volunteer, public servant
Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services
Richard G. Austin ’73 LAS
Deputy Director of Aeronautics, State of Illinois
Former Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration
- Prior to 1999, the UIS campus awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award. Recipients include:
Philip C. Bradley ’72 CBM
President and CEO, Family Health Network
W. Robert Felker ’74 PAA
Senior Vice President, First National Bank of Chicago
President and CEO, First Chicago Futures, Inc.
Richard L. Adorjan ’88 CBM
Director of Public Affairs, Illinois Department of Transportation
- Bill Lambrecht MA ’73 LAS
Washington Bureau Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Two-time Raymond Clapper Award winner
- Julie Barrow MA ’81 PAA
Director, Office of Federal Planning
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX
- Karen Hasara ’72 EHS, MA ’92 EHS
Mayor, Springfield, IL