Alumni Achievement Award

The University of Illinois Alumni Association bestows the Alumni Achievement Award on alumni of the University of Illinois at Springfield. Recipients of the award are chosen in consideration of the following criteria:

  1. graduate of the campus as either Sangamon State University or University of Illinois at Springfield;

  2. exemplary career achievement and accomplishment in his or her chosen business, profession or life's work;

  3. demonstrated commitment to his or her community through service projects and/or volunteerism; 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 or her accomplishments.

2012 Recipient

Fred Parsons

Fred Parsons ’81 CBM
always felt he needed to do something more than just punch a time clock. He had an entrepreneurial spirit, so, with the support of his wife, he pursued his dream of running a railcar company and experienced the highs and lows that came with realizing that dream. This year he is being honored with the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award. Parsons was inspired to start his company, Southern Illinois Railcar Co., during a business trip to Kentucky in the late ’80s. He is quick to credit Jeanie, his wife of 38 years, for his success. “Jeanie was right there supporting me all the way,” he says. As for his own philosophy, Parsons is direct: “Be prepared for the ups and downs. And when someone tells you you can’t do something, that’s probably when you need to be more dedicated to making it work.”

Previous Recipients

Don Johhson ’82 CBM
Retired President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Aftermarket Technology Corporation

Lin N. Ezell ’74 LAS
Director, Marine Corps National Museum

Gordon Heddell, MA ’75 PAA
Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense

Raju L. Indukuri, MA '92 CMB
Entrepreneur and founder of Reachnet International

Cheryl Alters Jamison, MA ’77 PAA
Author, teacher and entrepreneur

John D. Blackburn MA '79 EHS
Chief Executive Officer; COUNTRY Insurance and
Financial Services Company

Donna Sollenberger '71 LAS, MA '74 LAS
President and CEO of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.

Phillip T. Zeni Sr. '72
Executive Vice President, COO of Orban/CRL, San Leandro, Calif.

Randy Schilling, MA '89 CBA
President, CEO and founder of Quilogy, St. Louis, Mo.

LeRoy Walker Jr., MA '81 PAA
Owner/operator of 15 McDonald's Restaurants
Vice President of Events, National Black McDonald's Operator's Association

Linda Renee Baker '85 EHS, MA '87 EHS
Humanitarian, volunteer, public servant
Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services

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:

Philip C. Bradley '72 CBM
President and CEO, Family Health Network

W. Robert Felker '74 PAA
Senior Vice President, First National Bank of Chicago
President and CEO, First Chicago Futures, Inc.

Richard L. Adorjan '88 CBM
Director of Public Affairs, Illinois Department of Transportation

Bill Lambrecht MA '73 LAS
Washington Bureau Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Two-time Raymond Clapper Award winner

Julie Barrow MA '81 PAA
Director, Office of Federal Planning
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX

Karen Hasara '72 EHS, MA '92 EHS
Mayor, Springfield, Ill.


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