Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award, established in 1972, is bestowed upon alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Illinois by the Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to individuals or couples whose consistent, exceptional and meritorious service to the University of Illinois has made a significant impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.
Mary Kay Kretch Haben ’77 bus,is honored for exemplary volunteer leadership and service to the University of Illinois Alumni Association, the UI Foundation and the College of Business. Haben – who retired in 2011 after a successful 33-year career as a marketing executive for two iconic Chicago corporations, Kraft Foods and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – has been extraordinarily generous in sharing her time, expertise and financial support with her Alma Mater. She is a past chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, currently serves as a board member for the UI Foundation and plays an active part in the UIAA’s Illinois Connection advocacy network. A former member of the Dean’s Business Council, Haben also served on the college’s steering committee that raised funds for the state-of-the-art Business Instructional Facility. A 2000 Illini Comeback Guest who has been repeatedly honored by her industry and community, she frequently returns to campus to speak to students, most notably as the 2002 College of Business convocation speaker, the 2008 Leighton Lecturer and a panelist for the “Women in Business” roundtable series. Haben and her spouse provide generous financial support to the College of Business and to Illinois Promise, a scholarship program for low-income, high-achieving students. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of Business in 1977.