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Alumni Association announces award recipients

The Alumni Association has announced the recipients of the annual Alumni Association Awards. Honorees will receive their awards at the Founders Day Convocation on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m. in Bone Student Center’s Braden Auditorium.  The award recipients will then be introduced at a dinner that evening. Registration for the dinner can be accomplished by clicking on Alumni Awards Dinner.

Outstanding Young Alumni

The Outstanding Young Alumni recipient is Madeline Ostrander ’97. Ostrander is an associate editor for YES! Magazine in Seattle, Wash. She works to shed light on the human and environmental challenges society faces through writing, activism and scholarship. As an editor for YES! Magazine, she provides news coverage on solutions to such issues as climate change and foreign policy. In 2007, Ostrander served on a steering committee for Seattle Step It Up, which was one of the largest rallies on climate change in the nation. On the national level, she worked with the U.S. Conference of Mayors Environmental Department on a recycling outreach project. A fellowship with the Ford Foundation U.S. Community Forestry Program shaped Ostrander’s work with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota on watershed education. She helped community members get involved in decision-making about the future of the Big Sioux River and has also worked on international endeavors, joining a creative project on Western Australian landscapes and teaching undergraduate environmental science and writing courses that she developed at Central Buganda University in Kasaka, Uganda. A speaker and author, Ostrander is an active volunteer who has received numerous writing awards.

E. Burton Mercier Service Award

The E. Burton Mercier Service Award recipient is Andrew Purnell Jr. ’57.  Purnell Jr. completed his work for an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Illinois State University and soon after was drafted into the United States Army. He received a secret clearance to do classified work in mathematics and statistics at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. After military service, Purnell began teaching high school mathematics, which provided him with many opportunities to serve in various capacities. Purnell is dedicated to helping others learn new concepts and achieve their goals. Many students were mentored while teaching mathematics at several schools, including Eisenhower High School in Robbins, and Richards High School in Oak Lawn. He completed a master’s degree in administration and supervision at Chicago’s Roosevelt University. His next opportunity was to serve as dean of students at the Old Main building of Eisenhower High School in Blue Island. Purnell served as assistant principal at Old Main and later at Shepard High School in Palos Heights. He became the first African-American administrator at both schools. During this time, he was active in church work that included volunteering at state penal institutions and mental health facilities. He also served as a chaplain at Manteno Mental Health Center. Higher education remains important to Purnell, who has served on the Alumni Relations Board and its executive committee. He is a member and past president of the Illinois State University Black Colleagues Association.

Alumni Achievement Award

Terry Kinney

The Alumni Achievement Award recipients are Terry Kinney ’76 and Stephen Rice ’95.

Lincoln, Ill. native Terry Kinney left the stage at Illinois State to become a successful actor and director in film, television and on-stage productions. He is a founder of the Tony Award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which has been credited with helping Chicago become a major city in the performing arts, praised by critics and recognized for contributions to acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation. In 1985, the company won the Tony Award for Regional Theatre Excellence and, in 1998, the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Kinney has a great many Steppenwolf Theatre acting credits, including two Steppenwolf productions taken to Broadway (The Grapes of Wrath and Buried Child), and he directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Broadway in 2001.  He received a Tony Award nomination for The Grapes of Wrath. At Steppenwolf, Kinney’s directing credits include The Violet Hour, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Clockwork Orange, Fool for Love and Of Mice and Men. More recently he has directed at the Vineyard Theatre in New York, where he currently resides.  On the motion picture screen, Kinney’s acting credits include Save the Last Dance, Oxygen, Sleepers, Fly Away Home, Devil in the Blue Dress and The Firm. For six seasons on HBO’s Oz, he played Tim McManus, a disturbed idealist correctional officer.  As a film director, Kinney began with two episodes of Oz and directed two small films before co-writing and directing his latest effort, the comedy Diminished Capacity, which premiered Jan. 21 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Stephen Rice

Rice is the chief financial officer for Triumph Companies, Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif. He is an executive management professional with broad-based U.S.and international experience in a variety of industries, including real estate investment, management consulting, nonprofits and technology. One of his earliest endeavors was developing hands-on training for database and systems management solutions that was used on six continents. He has served on senior-level teams for the past five years, specifically in chief financial officer roles for multiple companies. His current company holds, or sold, $200 million in assets across multiple states. Rice has a history of cost-saving interventions for companies and employees. At the Jockeys’ Guild, he rescued $1.5 million in contracts by settling corruption allegations. Working with a customer in Belgium, he salvaged a $2 million account by resolving system configuration issues. From managing a $4 million self-funded benefit plan for more than 500 participants, to negotiating a $3.5 million contract with California’s former attorney general, Rice has proven a master at using his strategy, analysis, negotiation and accounting skills to help others. He was active in the creation of Illinois State’s Greater Denver Area Alumni Chapter.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is Dave Brusick M.S. ’65, Ph.D. ’70. Brusick is retired from Covance Labs, Inc. Brusick studied genetics and microbial genetics at Illinois State before joining Howard University’s College of Medicine faculty. In 1974, he became the director of the Department of Molecular Toxicology at Litton Bionetics, Inc. By 1991, Brusick was vice president for Global Toxicology for Covance Laboratories, Inc., which is the world’s largest independent contracting company supporting pharmaceutical development and commercialization. Global Toxicology employed more than 1,000 and generated approximately $200 million in revenue annually during his vice presidency, which ended with retirement in 2005. Brusick’s accomplishments include establishing the first genetic toxicology testing facility in the nation, which became the world’s largest by 1980, with operations in the Netherlands, and commercializing the first transgenic mouse model for genetic toxicology, MutaMouse, which is patented and used today to evaluate chemicals for their mutagenic and carcinogenic properties. He was the original editor of the scientific journal In Vitro Toxicology as well as the author of the first text book in the field of genetic toxicology along with authoring two additional books. Brusick has held significant positions in his field, including serving as president of the U.S. Environmental Mutagen Society and chair of the International Commission for Protection Against Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens. He has received numerous awards, including Illinois State’s Alumni Achievement Award and induction into the University’s Hall of Fame.