Chicago Illini of the Year

Celebrate your Illini pride at the
2014 Chicago Illini of the Year Awards

You’re invited to join fellow alumni at the 18th annual Chicago Illini of the Year reception and dinner honoring the best of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

Monday, Feb. 10
University Club of Chicago
76 E. Monroe St.

  • 5:30 p.m. reception, 6:30 p.m. dinner
  • R.S.V.P. by Feb 3
  • Cost: $125 per person; $850 for table of eight

Register online

Please join us at this all-alumni reception and dinner at the University Club of Chicago as we honor the Chicago Illini of the Year. This event is open to all alumni and provides a great opportunity to enhance Illini ties and celebrate Orange & Blue pride! For more information, contact the Alumni Service Center at or 800/355-2586.

Sponsored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association and the Chicago Illini Club

2014 Recipients

Stephen D. Bardo ’90 LAS (communication)
College Basketball Analyst, ESPN and Big Ten Network

Stephen Bardo Stephen D. Bardo helped lead the iconic 1989 “Flyin’ Illini” team to the Final Four during his standout basketball career at the University of Illinois. A two-time member of the all-conference team, in 1989 he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Following a 10-year career as a professional player in the U.S. and overseas, Bardo turned to broadcasting, serving as a color analyst for the Illini Sports Network, a sports reporter for WBBM-TV in Chicago and an analyst and reporter for CBS Sports. He has been a color analyst for college basketball on ESPN since 2005 and recently joined the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports 1. Bardo has frequently contributed to ESPN’s First Take and won a 2005 regional Emmy Award for his coverage of the Chicago Marathon. He is also a motivational speaker and the author of two books, How To Make The League Without Picking Up The Rock: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide and The Flyin’ Illini.

Carrie J. Hightman ’79 LAS (finance)
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, NiSource Inc.

Carrie J. Hightman As executive vice president and chief legal officer at NiSource Inc., Carrie J. Hightman oversees all legal functions, ethics, compliance, and environmental health and safety issues at the Fortune 500 energy delivery company. Previously, Hightman served as president of AT&T Illinois (formerly SBC), which she led through a series of important public policy initiatives that helped AT&T evolve from a traditional telephone company into a provider of diversified communications and entertainment services. She also practiced telecommunications and energy law for more than 17 years and was a partner in the Chicago law firm of Schiff Hardin. Hightman is a former chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Universities Retirement System and the Public Utility Law Section of the Chicago Bar Association. She also serves on the boards of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Urban League, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the Chicago Area Foundation for Legal Services.

See the past Chicago Illini of the Year recipients

Submit nominations for next year's Chicago Illini of the Year
Online form
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