12/17/2019 11:49 am
Each year the Alumni Association Board gives several awards to alumni and long-time university supporters. These awards are presented annually during the All-Alumni Dinner at Homecoming and Reunion each fall, this year held on October 4.
Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award – Honors an alumna and/or alumnus for invaluable service to the Alumni Association and Rockford University during the past year. One award is given each year.
Scott Kaiser ’86 – Scott is a financial advisor with Savant Capital Management, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®), and a Chartered Retirement Plan SpecialistSM (CRPS®). He serves as past President of the Discovery Center Board, volunteers on the Woodlawn Arts Academy Board and the St. Rita Parish Finance Council. He continually gives back to Rockford University and has had a tremendous impact on the Women’s Golf program, new to Rockford University as of this fall, as a volunteer coach for the team. He was also instrumental in supporting this year’s Regent Golf Playday.
Mary Ashby Cheek Award – Given to a past or present non-alumni member of the Rockford University community for enriching the university experience of many by exemplifying the ideals of the University. One award is given each year.
Dr. Kip Knight & Eileen V. Knight – Inspired by Kip’s mother, Maxine Rosella Burritt Knight, class of 1934, and her affinity for Rockford College, Dr. Kip Knight & Eileen V. Knight continually exemplify the ideals of Rockford University through their selfless support. Both Kip and Eileen are retired lifelong educators who value higher education. These values come to life through the endowed scholarship created in memory of Kip’s mother, their membership in the Mary Ashby Cheek Society, annual visits back to campus, and many other countless ways.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Given to an alumna/us who has finished her/his Rockford University tenure within the last 15 years and fulfils the ideals of Rockford University by vision, dedication, and initiative in a purposeful endeavor, or through responsible and sustained efforts in the improvements of a community, or a notable achievement in a profession, thus having brought honor and esteem to Rockford University. One award is given each year.
Julia Steiner Halsted ’13 – With more than a decade of experience working directly with public governing boards, Julia is a recognized figure in local government. As Deputy Director of Operations at Region 1 Planning Council, she serves as chief of staff managing daily operations, organizational development, professional services, communications, and legislative affairs. Julia is a current member of Govern for Impact, Rockford Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council, and Transform Illinois.
Talcott Cross Award– The oldest Rockford University award, the Talcott Cross is awarded to an Alumna for her constancy, devotion and a long history of meritorious service to Rockford University. One award is given each year.
Cindy Bugajski Sundstedt ’78– Cindy currently serves as Director of Trade Settlements and Receivables at Cimco Resources and has served as Secretary for the Roscoe Township Cemetery Board since 2000. Already an enthusiastic supporter and advocate for Rockford University, Cindy took on additional responsibilities for the better part of 25 years, standing by her husband’s side during his time as VP of Advancement for Rockford University. Through the countless events she has attended, many connections and positive relationships she maintains with alumni, and so much more, Cindy continues to display her constancy and devotion to Rockford University.
Karl C. Williams Award– Presented to an Alumnus for his constancy, devotion and a long history of meritorious service to Rockford University. One award may be given each year.
Ron Hoffman ’69 – A lifelong finance professional now retired from his role as Chief Operating Officer for Peregrine Capital Management, Ron continues to be a strong connector and advocate on behalf of Rockford University. This former basketball and golf team member makes it a point to maintain close friendships from his time on campus through various trips, events, and visits to campus.
Award of Distinction – Given to Alumni for fulfilling the ideals of Rockford University and bringing honor and esteem to the University in one or more of the following ways; through their vision, dedication, and initiative in a purposeful endeavor; by their responsive and sustained efforts in community improvements; or by their notable achievements in a profession. Up to three awards are given each year.
Tom Clinton ’70/’76 & Linda Clinton ’72/’75 – Tom and Linda Clinton founded First Love International Ministries In 2001. Tom serves as President/CEO and Linda as the Director of Children’s Ministries. In his role as President, Tom oversees First Love’s International headquarters as well as a full time staff comprised of over 300 USA and national staff workers residing in the countries of: the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, India, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Ukraine, Malawi, Peru, Colombia, Kenya, and Peru.
Award of Distinction – Jacqueline Ann DeVries ’85/’91 – Jacqueline earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rockford University. She taught in the Byron School District, Harlem School District, and at Rockford University in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Now retired from 30+ years in teaching, she serves as the Board President & Outreach Coordinator for Unity of Rockford and gives back to many organizations, including Children’s Home and Aid, Rockford Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Rosecrance, and many more.
Award of Distinction – Wester Wuori ’92 – Wester Wuori is Chief of Staff for the City of Rockford and has more than 24 years of experience in corporate and political communications, marketing and public relations and 17 years of staff supervisory experience. He has served with various community organizations in the area including Lifescape Community Services, Golden Apple Foundation, I Bike Rockford, Transform Rockford, Discovery Center Museum, The Rockford University Alumni Association, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and Next Rockford.
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