Last week’s Founders Day festivities featured some very special guests, but it also was the official kickoff for the Alumni Association’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Founders Day wrapped up with the Alumni Awards Dinner, where six alumni and friends were honored for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the University:

Distinguished Alumni Award: James Gentile M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’74
Senator John W. Maitland Jr. Commitment to Education Award: State Representative Dan Brady
E. Burton Mercier Alumni Service Award: Michael Matejka ’74 and Karen “Kari” Sandhaas ’81, ’83
Alumni Achievement Award: David Wildt ’72
Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Congressman Adam Kinzinger ’00

Check out more about each winner’s biography and distinguished career.

VIDEO: In their own words, here’s why our Alumni Award winners have a passion for Illinois State:

Robert Tomaski can be reached at Ryan Denham can be reached at