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Alumnus Vincent Cornelius receives the 2010 alumni award for the College of Law

June 2, 2010

Vincent Cornelius (’89) received the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Law from the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association, in recognition of his significant professional accomplishments and civic involvement.

Vincent Cornelius

Vincent Cornelius is presented with his award by NIU President John Peters (left) and NIU Alumni Association President Jack Tierney.

Cornelius opened his own general practice firm in 1994 and now has offices in Wheaton and Joliet, Illinois.  He began his legal career in 1989 as a DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney and then served as an associate attorney with the law firm of James D. Montgomery and Associates in Chicago (now known as Cochran and Montgomery).

 Adding to an impressive legal career, Cornelius has devoted a great deal of time to serving his community in leadership roles for numerous organizations. In 2008, Vincent became the first African-American president of the Illinois Bar Foundation, where he has been an active member for his entire career and a board member since 2000.  Other organizations include the University of St. Francis Board of Trustees; Illinois State Bar Association; Chancellor, Illinois Academy of Lawyers; Illinois Bar Foundation Golf Fellow; Chicago Bar Association Special Committee on Minority Federal Jury Service; DuPage & Will County Bar Associations; and the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Law Reform.  In 2010, Corneilus was honored with Medgar Evers Award, presented by the DuPage County Branch of the NAACP.  The Award is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP.

 An active NIU Law alumnus, Vincent has served on the College of Law Alumni Council since 1998, serves as a mentor to law student, and is a frequent speaker on alumni panels.  He is often called on to serve on special university committees and consults on special projects. Most notably to the alumni community, Vincent hosted the first NIU Law Minority Reception in Chicago in 2004.  The Minority Reception, now a tradition, continues to remain a favorite event among alumni. In 2005, he received the NIU Law Alumni Council’s Outstanding Service Award.

by Melody Mitchell