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.

2018 Recipient

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

    Raised in Marion, Ill., Bob attended Illinois as had his father, aunt and uncle. As a freshman, he was so enthralled by his first visit to Memorial Stadium that he ran up the ramp to the west balcony Block I. Although Bob suffered through 0-9 and 2-7 football seasons during his early years at Illinois, he was rewarded with a trip to the 1964 Rose Bowl when the Illini competed against the Washington Huskies.

    After completing his MBA, Bob relocated to San Diego where he worked for companies specializing in the manufacturing of military electronics and nuclear power plant design. Later, he became an entrepreneur.

    Pat was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side and attended Academy of Our Lady (Longwood) High School.  She transferred to Illinois during her junior year and met Bob two months later.

    After marrying Bob in 1969, Pat began a 33-year career as an elementary and middle school teacher in San Diego. She also earned a master’s degree from San Diego State and taught subjects as varied as guitar and television production.  After her retirement from teaching, she volunteered and worked for Reading Legacies, a San Diego-based non-profit organization founded by Illini Betty Mohlenbrock, ’62 ED, EDM ’64.

    Bob’s association with the Illini Club of San Diego County began when he won a vinyl Illini pillow as the youngest graduate at a Club gathering. He has served several terms as the Club’s president, and initiated its scholarship program. Pat also has served as Club president, and together they have participated in many San Diego Club activities and interacted with local Illini clubs.

    Over the years, Bob and Pat have hosted many Illinois dignitaries, athletes, coaches, athletic directors, sports teams and singing groups at their San Diego home. The couple has become lifelong friends with Illinois expatriates and constantly share the trials and tribulations of the Orange and Blue.

Past Recipients

  • 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