Dr. Naomi B. Lynn | 2021 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Dr. Naomi B. LynnChancellor Emerita Dr. Naomi B. Lynn exemplifies distinguished service to the University of Illinois. The depth, consistency and continuum of Lynn’s leadership as a university administrator, trailblazer, community leader and volunteer has significantly impacted the welfare and advancement of the institutional mission. She is a champion of women’s rights, and leader and mentor for women and minorities in academia and the larger community.

As president of Sangamon State University, Lynn became the first Hispanic president or chancellor of a public state university in Illinois and the first female president of SSU. “It was important to break barriers,” Lynn said. “I live for the day when no woman will have to be introduced as the first.”

Lynn skillfully led the transition of SSU to UIS, positioning the university for growth in enrollment, on-campus residential life, infrastructure, online education and international academic agreements. Lynn retired as Chancellor in 2001. At her retirement, the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies was created at the university, with a $1.25 million gift from the family of Dr. Richard E. Vaden.

Lynn served as president or board member of several professional public administration, higher education and political science organizations. She is a past recipient of the U of I Loyalty Award for Exceptional Alumni Service. In 2012, Governor Pat Quinn presented Lynn with the Order of Lincoln, the state’s top honor.