Illini Comeback Award (Est. 1980)

Every year, the Illinois Alumni Association invite a group of prominent and accomplished alumni back to the campus to participate in various activities during Homecoming Weekend, with a focus on providing opportunities for honorees to interact with current students, sharing information about their professional experiences and the value of their University of Illinois education.

2019 Recipients

  • Doris Derby, MA ’75 LAS, PHD, ’80 LAS

    Doris Derby came to prominence in the 1960–70s for her work as an activist and photographer who documented the diverse roles and many faces of black men, women and children during the civil rights struggle. A native New Yorker, she graduated from Hunter College and taught elementary school in Yonkers before joining the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement to help develop an adult literacy program in that state’s Tougaloo College. She also helped organize area folk festivals and co-founded the nationally known Free Southern Theater.

    In 1972, she won two scholarships to attend UI’s Anthropology Department. She was affiliated with the University’s African Studies Department, the African American Studies Center, the African American Culture Center, the Dance Department, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the World Heritage Museum (now the Spurlock Museum) where, as assistant curator, she organized exhibitions on African textiles and Gullah baskets.

    Derby served 22 years as the founding director of African American Student Services and Programs at Georgia State University and as an adjunct associate professor of cultural anthropology. She retired in 2012. In 2018 her photographs were exhibited in Montpellier, France. In 2019 they were shown at UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and are currently being shown at the Krannert Art Museum. In 2020 her work will be featured at Jackson State University, in Mississippi and the Turner Contemporary Museum in England. She lives in Atlanta with husband Bob Banks, a television and film actor. They are both active in community affairs, supporting nonprofit initiatives and in their respective professions.

  • Leslie Geissler Munger, ’78 ACES

    Leslie Geissler Munger started service as a deputy governor for then Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017. She served as Illinois State Comptroller from January 2015 to December 2016. She managed state finances during the nearly two-year period Illinois went without a budget—working to reduce the backlog of unpaid bills—and was a strong advocate for balanced budgets and prudent tax-dollar management. In service to the people of the state, Munger scheduled paychecks for state legislators and officers (including her own) in line for payment with all of the state’s other bills.

    In addition, Munger has served as acting director of the Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and deputy governor. She oversaw the expansion of Intersect Illinois, the state’s economic development organization, and guided the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. Munger also worked closely with University of Illinois System leadership to advance the Discovery Partners Institute initiative. In the two decades prior to her public service, Munger—who earned an MBA from Northwestern University—was an executive for Helene Curtis/Unilever and worked for Procter & Gamble and McKinsey & Co.

    Munger is proud of her “all-Illini” family. She and husband John Munger ’81 LAS, MS ’94 LAS, met at Homecoming 35 years ago. They have two adult sons who are also UI graduates—Tom, ’13 ENG, and Andy, ’15 BUS. Leslie remains an active alumna and leader in her community. She served on the UI Student Affairs Advisory Council and currently serves on the Gamma Phi Beta corporation board. In 2004, she was named Lincolnshire’s Citizen of the Year. The Riverside Foundation, a not-for-profit serving developmentally disabled adults, named Munger their 2013 Volunteer of the Year, and in 2016, she received their Distinguished Service Award.

Past Recipients

  • 2018

    • Christina A. Brodbeck, ’01 LAS

    • Nick Ciffone, ’10 LAS, ’10 MEDIA

  • 2017

    • Emily S. Gardner, ’05 BUS, ’05 AHS

    • Robert P. Gaynes, ’75 LAS

    • Thomas F. Larwin, ’65 ENG

  • 2016

    • Michael Strautmanis, ’91 MEDIA, JD ’94

  • 2015

    • James E. Sparks, ’77 MEDIA

    • Lyle Orwig, ’74 ACES

  • 2014

    • Suheily Natal Davis, ’04 MEDIA

    • James E. Schlueter, ’80 MEDIA

    • Dr. Der-Tsai Lee, ’76 ENG, PHD ’ 78 ENG

  • 2013

    • Jeffrey D. Breslow, ’65 FAA

    • Col. Michael S. McBride, ’84 LAS

    • Tonise Paul, ’79 MEDIA, MS ’ 80 MEDIA

  • 2012

    • Ron Bess, ’69 BUS, MS ’72 MEDIA

    • Sheldon Siegel, ’80 BUS

    • Beverly Washington, ’78 FAA

  • 2011

    • Ryan Baker, ’91 MEDIA

    • Paul Schrage, MS ’59 MEDIA

    • Bud Strom, ’54 AHS

  • 2010

    • Bob Epstein, ’74 MEDIA

    • G. Robert Hillman, ’72 MEDIA

    • Jon Khachaturian, ’78 ENG

    • Laura Rowley, ’87 MEDIA

  • 2009

    • Mark Filip, ’88 LAS

    • Robert G. Kennedy, ’78 ENG

    • Marvin White, ’69 LAS

  • 2008

    • Scott W. Atlas, '77 LAS

    • Barry Sabath, '74 LAS

  • 2007

    • Lee Archambault, ’82 ENG, MS ’84 ENG

    • Cathy Larson Koerner, ’87 ENG, MS ’89 ENG

    • Maj. Matthew C. Shortal, ’94 BUS

  • 2006

    • C.O. “Doc” Erickson, ’43 ACES

    • Gregory Paw, ’85 MEDIA

    • Betty Lee Sung, ’48 LAS

  • 2005

    • Andrea Darlas, ’94 MEDIA

    • Stuart M. Kaminsky, ’57 MEDIA, AM ’60 LAS

    • Ann Davenport McBrien, ’82 BUS

  • 2004

    • Mary Frances Fagan, ’76 MEDIA, MA ’83 LAS

    • Bridget Later Lamont, MS '72 LIS

    • John David Mooney, MFA ’65 FAA

    • Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, AM ’68 LAS, PHD ’70 LAS

  • 2003

    • John Burgstone, ’95 ENG

    • Londa Jorgensen Dewey, ’82 LAS

    • Carol Hillsman Sagers, ’79 MEDIA

  • 2002

    • Scott Altman, ’81 ENG

    • Temple Grandin, PHD ’89 ACES

    • Laura McInerney Jennings, ’83 BUS

    • Barbara Baxter Pillinger, ’56 AHS

    • Andrew A. Sorensen, ’59 LAS

  • 2001

    • Daniel J. Balz, ’68 MEDIA, MS ’72 MEDIA

    • Henry Givens Jr., EDM ‘61

    • Edward L. McMillan, ’69 ACES

    • Sheldon B. Rubin, ’64 LAS, ’66 VM, DVM ’68

  • 2000

    • Dr. Scott Anderson, MS ’36 ENG, PHD ’40 ENG

    • Carol Ross Barney, ’71 FAA

    • Dianne Sautter Campbell, ’71 ED

    • Merle Gilmore, ’70 ENG

    • Mary Kay Kretch Haben, ’77 BUS

  • 1999

    • Cheryl R. Berman, ’74 MEDIA

    • Lu Ann Walker Maddox, ’74 AHS, MS ’76 AHS

    • Peer Pedersen, ’47 DSSWV, LLB ’48 LAW

    • Fred A. Rubin, ’72 FAA

    • Lt. Gov. Corinne J. Giese Wood, ’76 LAS

  • 1998

    • Doris Kelley Christopher, ’67 ACES

    • Eileen F. Fisher, ’72 ACES

    • Fred F. Guyton Jr., ’61 FAA

    • John A. Johnson, ’64 ENG, MS ’65 ENG

    • Arthur Ramer Wyatt, ’49 BUS, MS ’50 BUS, PHD ’53 BUS

  • 1997

    • Rowine Hayes Brown-Truitt, ’38 MEDIA, MD ’39 MEDIA

    • Julia J. Henderson, ’36 LAS, AM ’37 LAS

    • David F. Linowes, ’41 BUS

    • Park C. Livingston, ’30 LAS, MED ’81

    • Charles B. Shuman, ’28 ACES, MS ’29 ACES

  • 1996

    • James M. Benson, ’68 LAS

    • Judge Maynard Glitman, ’55 LAS

    • Debra L. Mitchell, ’75 FAA

    • Cordell Reed, ’60 ENG

    • Dr. Katie Harper Wright, ’44 LAS, EDM ‘59

  • 1995

    • Judge Eugene N. Hamilton, ’55 LAS, LLB ’59 LAW

    • R. Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, PHD ’69 LAS

    • Carol Ann Keiser, ’68 ACES

    • Robert D. Novak, ’52 LAS, HON ’98

    • Gary K. Wolf, ’63 MEDIA, MS ’69 MEDIA

  • 1994

    • K. Kenn Allen, ’71 LAS

    • Samuel T. Balen, ’57 FAA

    • Steven H. Gerdes, ’77 ACES

    • Nada J. Rowand, ’58 FAA

    • Joyce E. Tucker, ’70 LAS

  • 1993

    • Emiel Hamberlin, EDM ’77, EDD ’83

    • Mannie L. Jackson, ’60 AHS

    • Robert B. Levin, ’65 MEDIA

    • Terri L. Ludwig, ’85 LAS

    • David A. McConnell, ’54 VM, DVM ’56

    • Eleanor H. Moty, ’68 FAA

  • 1992

    • Jacqueline Triche Atkins, ’69 LAS, JD ’73 LAW

    • Herbert Y. Chang, ’60 ENG, MS ’62 ENG, PHD ’64 ENG

    • George M.C. Fisher, ’62 ENG, HON 96

    • Graham C. Grady, ’80 LAS

    • John G. “Red” Kerr, ’54 UIUC

    • Cecilia McCane “Ceil” Kuzma, ’70 LAS

    • Miriam J. “Jess” Marlow, ’58 DSSWV

    • Lester H. McKeever Jr., ’55 BUS

  • 1991

    • William F. Kirk, ’64 ACES

    • Landon Parvin, ’70 BUS

    • Roger L. Plummer, ’64 ENG

    • David A. Powless, ’66 BUS

    • Christina Walton Tanner, ’86 LAS

    • Eddie N. Williams, ’54 MEDIA

  • 1990

    • Stewart D. Daniels Jr., ’49 LAS

    • Stanley L. Elkin, ’52 LAS, AM ’53 LAS, PHD ’61 LAS, HON ’86

    • Laura Barber Fraley, ’77 LAS, MS ’79 BUS

    • William E. Geist, ’68 MEDIA

    • Charla M. Krupp, ’75 MEDIA

    • Robert “Bob” Martinez, AM ’64 LIR

    • William F. Mellberg, ’75 BUS

    • Dora Dougherty Strother, AM ’53 ED

    • Barbara Seaquist Williams, ’49 BUS

  • 1989

    • Nancy Goodman Brinker, ’68 LAS

    • Richard B. Fink, ’50 VM, DVM ’52

    • Rita Bell, ’65 BUS

    • Jacquelyn Knight Gates, ’71 UIUC

    • H. Richard McFarland, ’52 ACES

    • Susan Sowle Suter, ’72 LAS

  • 1988

    • Gary K. Bielfeldt, ’58 ACES, MS ’59 ACES

    • Lee H. Falk, ’32 LAS

    • Richard H. Frank, ’65 BUS

    • Grover G. Hankins, JD ’72 LAW

    • Hachiro “Buddy” Koyama, AM ’80 LIR, HON ’95

    • Kathy Olesker Pounds, ’71 LAS

    • Gail Shapiro Steinberg, ’69 LAS

  • 1987

    • Max Abramovitz, ’29 FAA

    • Barton A. Cummings, ’35 MEDIA

    • W. Leonard Evans. Jr., ’35 BUS

    • John C. Houbolt, ’40 ENG, MS ’42 ENG, HON ’05

    • George E. Keck, ’32 BUS

    • Jack S. Kilby, ’47 ENG

    • Thomas A. Murphy, ’38 BUS

    • James B. “Scotty” Reston, ’32 MEDIA

    • Alfred B. Swanson, ’45 MEDIA, MD ’47 MEDIA

    • Phillips Talbot, ’36 MEDIA, ’36 LAS

    • Robert C. Underwood, JD ’39 LAW

    • Wilma L. Vaught, ’52 BUS

  • 1986

    • Lee L. Morgan, ’41 ACES

    • Steven R. Nagel, ’69 ENG

    • Lou Proana, ’66 LAS

    • Edith Ann Stotler, ’68 LAS

    • John L. Strom, ’35 MEDIA

  • 1985

    • Michael Colgrass Jr., ’56 FAA

    • Donald C. Johanson, ’66 LAS

    • Barbara Miller Knuckles, ’70 LAS, MS ’71 MEDIA

    • Prentice H. Marshall, ’49 DSSWV, JD ’51 LAW

    • Lynn Morley Martin, ’60 LAS

    • Sherman Ted Rice, ’43 ACES, MS ’48 ACES, PHD ’50 ACES

    • B. Kenneth West, ’55 LAS

  • 1984

    • Andrew Barr, ’23 BUS, MS ’24 BUS

    • Richard A. Campbell, ’49 ENG, MS ’50 ENG

    • Roger J. Ebert, ’64 MEDIA

    • Richard A. Greenberg, ’70 FAA, MFA ’72 FAA

    • Charles Marshall, ’51 ACES

    • Cesar Pelli, MS ’54 FAA

    • Meredith Pleasant Sparks, PHD ’36 LAS

  • 1983

    • James S. Brady, ’62 MEDIA

    • Harry J. Gray, ’41 MEDIA, MS ’47 MEDIA

    • Gardner W. Heidrick, ’35 BUS

    • Herbert H. McKenley, ’49 UIUC

    • Godfrey Sperling Jr., ’37 MEDIA

    • Marion Morse Wood, PHD ’65 MEDIA

  • 1982

    • John B. Anderson, ’42 LAS, JD ’46 LAW

    • Arnold Orville Beckman, ’22 LAS, MS ’23 ENG

    • Carole Kamin Bellows, ’57 LAS

    • Earl B. Dickerson, ’14 LAS, HON ’84

    • Malcolm C. Todd, ’34 LAS

    • Craig S. Virgin, ’77 MEDIA

  • 1981

    • Harold R. “Hal” Bruno Jr., ’50 MEDIA

    • Arthur S. “Arte” Johnson, ’49 MEDIA

    • Kathleen K. Kellaigh, ’76 FAA

    • Alfred N. Koplin, ’49 DSSWV

    • Lester G. Leutwiler, ’29 ENG

    • Timothy J. McCarthy, ’72 BUS

    • Nina Temple Shepherd, ’55 LAS

    • Larry A. Werries, ’62 ACES

  • 1980

    • John S. Coleman, ’57 MEDIA

    • Sheldon F. Good, ’55 BUS

    • Alan M. Hallene Sr., ’51 ENG

    • Nancy Thies Marshall, ’79 LAS

    • Cirilo A. McSween, ’54 LAS

    • Judith Ford Johnson Nash, ’73 AHS

    • Jane Hayes Rader, ’54 LAS