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.
Nominate Deserving Alumni Today
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.
2021 - Robert Moore, '80, MPA '85 PAA
2020 - Nina Burleigh, MA '84 LAS
2019 - Randall F. Dunn ’73 CBM, MA ’74 PAA
2015 - Wenguang Huang MA ’91 LAS
Writer, journalist, translator
2011 - Don Johnson ’82 CBM
Retired President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Aftermarket Technology Corporation
2008 - Raju L. Indukuri, MA ’92 CMB
Entrepreneur and founder of Reachnet International
2005 - Donna Sollenberger ’71 LAS, MA ’74 LAS
President and CEO of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.
2001 - LeRoy Walker Jr., MA ’81 PAA
Owner/operator of 15 McDonald’s Restaurants
Vice President of Events, National Black McDonald’s Operator’s Association
2018 - Kathy Best MA ’90 PAR
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
2014 - Ralph S. Blackman MA ’76 PAA
2010 - Lin N. Ezell ’74 LAS
Director, Marine Corps National Museum
2007 - Cheryl Alters Jamison, MA ’77 PAA
Author, teacher and entrepreneur
2003 - Phillip T. Zeni Sr. ’72
Executive Vice President, COO of Orban/CRL, San Leandro, Calif.
2000 - Linda Renee Baker ’85 EHS, MA ’87 EHS
Humanitarian, volunteer, public servant, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services
2016 - Darrel Burnett ’78 LAS
Entrepreneur and broadcaster
2012 - Fred Parsons ’81 CBM
Founder, Southern Illinois Railcar Co.
2009 - Gordon Heddell, MA ’75 PAA
Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense
2006 - John D. Blackburn MA ’79 EHS
Chief Executive Officer; COUNTRY Insurance and Financial Services Company
2002 - Randy Schilling, MA ’89 CBA
President, CEO and founder of Quilogy, St. Louis, Mo.
1999 _ 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:
1998 - Philip C. Bradley ’72 CBM
President and CEO, Family Health Network
1997 - W. Robert Felker ’74 PAA
Senior Vice President, First National Bank of Chicago
President and CEO, First Chicago Futures, Inc.
1996 - Richard L. Adorjan ’88 CBM
Director of Public Affairs, Illinois Department of Transportation