Every year, the NIU Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni. Recipients are selected based on outstanding professional and personal successes, as well as involvement in civic, cultural or charitable activities. Alumni are recognized in the following four categories, and you can nominate an outstanding NIU alumnus to receive these awards.
Distinguished Alumni Award
The most prestigious award given by the NIU Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an alumna or alumnus who has achieved outstanding success or recognition. The selection committee particularly looks for individuals who have achieved national, regional or statewide prominence either in their professional fields or through their involvement in civic, cultural or charitable activities.
The Distinguished Alumni Award has been given every year since 1964. Recipients have been men and women who have excelled in their respective fields of science, business, education, the arts, philanthropy, health, technology, social services, law, engineering and other scholarly endeavors. The award recognizes distinct and extraordinary accomplishments with identifiable impacts not only in a specific field of study or career path, but also in the advancement and support of Northern Illinois University. This award is intended to recognize longevity and consistency over one’s professional career and to acknowledge men and women who rise to challenges, achieve success and continually strive for accomplishment with societal or educational value.
F.R. Geigle Service Award
This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the best interests of Northern Illinois University. This service may have been given in the classroom, in other university activities or in the wider community. This award may be given to non-alumni of NIU.
In 1951, Francis R. Geigle joined the Northern Illinois University faculty as head of a newly created business education department. A recognized leader in teaching, research and public service, Francis R. Geigle played a major role in the growth of a small state teachers college into a large university. During his 23 years at NIU, Geigle held the following positions: head of the Department of Business Education; administrative assistant to the president; executive vice president and professor of business education; executive vice president and provost; acting president of Illinois State University; coordinator of executive activities in the College of Business; and vice president of development and alumni relations. He also served on many committees, including the University Council, the presidential staff, the athletic board, the Campus Internal Affairs Committee, the Faculty Handbook Committee, the Graduate Council and the Computer Services Advisory Committee. The author of countless articles and reports, Geigle received numerous awards, including the highest award given by Phi Delta Kappa professional fraternity, the NIU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service Award and the NIU College of Business Senate awards. This alumni award is named after Francis R. Geigle to honor his outstanding accomplishments and exemplary service to the university.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
This award is given to an alumnus or alumna, regardless of college affiliation, who has received his or her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in the past 10 years, is age 35 or under, and has shown outstanding promise and success in a professional career.
Outstanding Alumni Achievements
Alumni who receive these awards are recognized in the categories of the arts, the sciences, public service, and business and industry for outstanding achievement in their fields. The criteria for the awards include outstanding professional accomplishments and civic, cultural and charitable involvement.
Click here to nominate an outstanding NIU alumnus for an award. Please note that no active members of the NIU Board of Trustees, NIU Foundation Board of Directors or NIU Alumni Association Board of Directors is eligible to receive an award during their tenure on these boards. The awards luncheon will be held at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center during the fall of 2021 at the NIU campus. For questions, please contact Dana King, ’05, at 815-753-5421.
View our Award Recipients