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.
2020 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient
Nina Burleigh of New York, NY is the 2020 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. A 1984 graduate of the Public Affairs Reporting program, Burleigh has covered stories on six continents and has achieved critical acclaim as an award-winning author, journalist and feminist cultural critic. She is a New York Times best-selling author of six lively, acclaimed works of creative nonfiction and has written hundreds of works on topics ranging from culture and politics to gender issues, science and the environment.
Recipients must be nominated for the award. Working from these nominations, the Alumni Association Awards and Recognition Committee will select the recipients. The awards will be presented at Commencement or an Alumni Association event. Please complete this online form to submit a nomination.
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.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 217.206.6058.
The Alumni Achievement Award, established in 1957, is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the University of Illinois. 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.
- 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.
2019 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient
Alumnus Randall F. Dunn ’73 CBM, MA ’74 PAA is the 2019 recipient of the UI Alumni Achievement Award. His pursuit of higher education and experiences fueled his passion for entrepreneurship and leadership, propelling Dunn to achieve significant professional success, while being a leader in his local community in Southwest Florida. The Alumni Achievement Award is the highest University honor bestowed upon alumni, and recognizes graduates who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work.
Kathy Best MA ’90 PAR
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
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