Illinois State University will bestow awards for creativity among faculty at the upcoming Founders Day celebrations on February 16 in the Brown Ballroom. John McHale and Amy Gilreath will be honored with the Outstanding University Creative Activity Award, while Joe Amato and Kristin Carlson will be honored with the Creative Activity Initiative Award.

Outstanding University Creative Activity Award 

image of John McHale

John McHale

John McHale, School of Communication
McHale came to Illinois State in 2002. Since then, he has written four screenplays and television pilots, and produced or executive produced 10 documentaries/films and 11 shorts. Of particular note is his documentary on former Missouri death row inmate, Joseph Amrine, who was freed from prison at least in part because of McHale’s documentary explaining the injustice of that criminal case. According to the School of Communication Director Steve Hunt, “John’s body of creative work has had an enormous impact on our discipline.”

image of Amy Gilreath

Amy Gilreath

Amy Gilreath, School of Music
Gilreath has impacted the field of trumpet performance in numerous ways. Her impressive contributions have included her performances as a soloist, chamber player, and large ensemble musician in the regional, national, and international arena. In the relatively male dominated field of trumpet performance, Gilreath has inspired women in the field through her musicianship, her artistry, and her acclaimed reputation in the field. She is the founding member of the International Female Brass Conference, co-founder of the Stiletto Brass Quintet, has recorded a solo CD of her work, and has performed on several other recordings. She has also appeared as a solo artist in eight countries.

Creative Activity Initiative Award 

Joe Amato, Department of English

image of Joe Amato

Joe Amato

Amato has been at Illinois State University since 2003 and was appointed to a tenure-track position in 2015. He is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, poetry, and prose; he has published nine books, a chapbook, a memoir, poetry collections, several works of literary theory and criticism, as well as five screenplays.



image of Kristin Carlson

Kristin Carlson

Kristin Carlson, School of Theatre and Dance
Carlson’s scholarship and creative activity is multi-disciplinary performative work which has resulted in national and international collaborations, artistic exhibitions, and publications. As a creative artist, Carlson combines her passion for choreography and the performing arts with her skill and interest in technology. As a tenure-track faculty member in arts technology, Carlson has distinguished herself within the field of choreography, system design, and interactive game development for supporting physical therapy rehabilitation outcomes.