Alumni Humanitarian Award

The Alumni Humanitarian Award, established in 2001, is bestowed upon alumni of the University of Illinois by the Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to alumni who, through their outstanding professional contributions and/or volunteer leadership, have significantly improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, on a national or international scale.

2013 Recipient

Christie Gilson Christie Gilson MSW ’01, PHD ’08 ed is honored for her outstanding work as a global advocate for individuals with disabilities, having achieved a rare level of international expertise early in an academic career. A 2006 Fulbright Scholar and faculty member at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., Gilson maintains a passion for higher education and the welfare of the world and has used her knowledge to improve educational and workplace opportunities for people with disabilities across the globe. Her efforts have included using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to teach English to blind adults in China and the mentoring of youth with disabilities in Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and the United States. Gilson advises course management software companies on improving their accessibility to users with disabilities and has helped establish learning accommodations at institutions of higher education. A sought-after speaker in the U.S. and abroad, she continually encourages students, educators and community members to re-examine the language they use and the perspectives they have about people with disabilities. In March 2012, President Obama appointed her to a three-year term on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Gilson completed a masterís degree in social work at Illinois in 2001 and received a doctorate in special education from the College of Education in 2008.

Previous Recipients


A. Mark Neuman ’85 las

Ann Cody ’86 faa, ms ’92 ahs

Dennis Warner
’63 eng, ’63 las, ms ’66 eng

Ron Miller
’54 LAW, LLB ’55 LAW

Betty Burch Mohlenbrock
’62 ED, EDM ’64

Kenneth Braid ’74 AHS
Colleen Malany Braid ’74 AHS

Eugene Hamilton ’55 LAS, JD ’59 LAW

Susan Nagele '78 LAS

Penny Panayiota Deligiannis '87 MEDIA, MS '92 MEDIA