Lou Liay Spirit Award (Est. 1997)

Bestowed upon alumni by the Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. The award is presented to those who have consistently demonstrated extraordinary spirit and pride in support of the University, the Alumni Association, and related organizations, exemplifying a positive image of their Alma Mater while inspiring loyalty and pride in their fellow alumni. The award is named after Lou Liay, EDM ’62, executive director of the UI Alumni Association from 1983-1998.

2019 Recipient

  • Al Davis, ’60 ED, MS ’62 ED, ’64 ED

    Al Davis retired as an administrator at Champaign Centennial High School after three decades (1964–94). He established the Al S. Davis Leadership Award for the University of Illinois College of Education to provide support to students from underrepresented groups who have pursued or intend to pursue leadership roles in a K–12 urban school environment.

    In service to his Alma Mater, Davis has been an active board member of the College of Education Alumni Association since 1994, serving as vice president for program development, president elect and president. Additionally, he has served on the board’s senior advisory council since 2010. He served on the Board of Visitors for the College of Education from 2006 to 2011. A lifetime member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the University of Illinois Foundation, Davis has been recognized in the President’s Council annual giving society since 1985 and the Chancellors’ Circle (lifetime giving) since 2007. He was the recipient of the 2000 Orange and Blue Award for his contributions to the University and its College of Education, and he is a member of the Marquee Circle Charter Subscribers to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

    In addition, he served as a member of the American Red Cross and was a long-serving member of the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club, as well as a patron of the CU Symphony and the National Academy of Dance. The Champaign Board of Education named the Centennial High School administrative offices in his honor.

    Davis is proud to be a part of an “all-Illini” family that includes wife Janis Chadsey, PHD ’84 ED, daughter Lisa Davis Dreaden,’91 LAS, and son Douglas Davis, ’93 LAS; a patio paver in front of UIAA’s Alice Campbell Alumni Center honors this family legacy.

Past Recipients

  • 2018

    • Bob Giles, ’66 ENG, MBA ’68, and Pat Meyers Giles, ’69 ED

  • 2017

    • JOHN VOLK, '67 ACES

  • 2016

    • Dr. Kenneth Schmidt, ’65 LAS, MD ’67 UIC

  • 2015

    • Gayl Pyatt, ’64 LAS

  • 2014

    • Michael L. VanBlaricum, ’72 ENG, MS ’74 ENG, PHD ’76 ENG

  • 2013

    • Edwin C. Lennox III, ’90 ENG, MS ’92 ENG, MS ’97 ENG

  • 2012

    • Frederic G. Nearing, ’48 ENG

  • 2011

    • Alan L. Puzey, ’74 ACES

  • 2010

    • Samuel N. Darby, ’62 FAA

  • 2009

    • John Menees, ’52 ENG

  • 2008

    • Denis Lougeay, '66 ENG, MBA '68

    • Denruth Barre Lougeay, '65 ED, EDM '68

  • 2007

    • Norman Beasley, ’58 DSSWV

    • Mary Jane Beasley

  • 2006

    • John S. Ellison, ’64 ACES

  • 2005

    • Carol Keiser Long, '68 ACES

  • 2004

    • David G. Powless, '75 BUS

  • 2003

    • Marie L. Johnson, '54 LAS, MS '58 ED

  • 2002

    • Dan Perrino, '48 FAA, MS '49 FAA

  • 2001

    • Larry L. Fischer, '74 ACES

  • 1998

    • William Branom, '54 MEDIA

    • Henrietta Branom Knecht, '27 LAS