2023 Distinguished Alumni Award and Pacesetter Award Nominations are Now Open

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association's Distinguished Alumni Award and Pacesetter Award recognizes the many success stories of Illinois' community college students. 

Alumni Awards

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association's Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the many success stories of Illinois' community college students. 

Nominations for the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award are now being accepted. Prior nominee names must be resubmitted each year to be considered for an award. Family members and/or partners/spouses of the nominee may not submit an award nomination form. Following the February 10 deadline date, the award review committee will convene and evaluate each nominee's application. 

Award nominees must:

  • have completed a recognized program of instruction or attended at least 30 semester hours at an ICCTA member college (Carl Sandburg College)
  • show outstanding success and distinction in chosen field 
  • have humanitarian service that has proven greatly beneficial to society
  • possess continued interest in and support of education and community colleges
  • demonstrate overcoming life's obstacles

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Nomination Form 

All nomination forms and support materials are to be submitted to Stacey Rucker, coordinator of alumni and advancement communications, in the Carl Sandburg College Foundation office (E207) or to srucker@sandburg.edu. Nominations are to be submitted no later than Friday, February 10, 2023, at 5 p.m. 

Questions about the awards or the nomination requirements may be directed to srucker@sandburg.edu or 309.341.5330. 

2023 Pacesetter Award

2023 Pacesetter Award

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association's Pacesetter Award (formerly young alumni award) recognizes the many success stories of Illinois' community college students. 

Nominations for the 2023 Pacesetter Award are now being accepted. Prior nominee names must be resubmitted each year to be considered for an award. Family members and/or partners/spouses of the nominee may not submit an award nomination form. Following the February 10 deadline date, the award review committee will convene and evaluate each nominee's application. 

Award nominees must:

  • have completed a recognized program of instruction (including dual credit courses) or attended  at least 30 semester hours at an ICCTA member college (Carl Sandburg College) after June 30, 2012
  • show outstanding promise and distinction in chosen career/field of study
  • have humanitarian service that has proven greatly beneficial to society
  • possess continued interest in and support of education and community colleges
  • demonstrate overcoming life's obstacles (especially those who were non-traditional students)

2023 Pacesetter Award Nomination Form 

All nomination forms and support materials are to be submitted to Stacey Rucker, coordinator of alumni and advancement communications, in the Carl Sandburg College Foundation office (E207) or to srucker@sandburg.edu. Nominations are to be submitted no later than Friday, February 10, 2023, at 5 p.m. 

Questions about the awards or the nomination requirements may be directed to srucker@sandburg.edu or 309.341.5330. 

Prior Award Recipients

Carl Sandburg College Distinguished Alumni Award

2022 - Stacy Bainter '00

2021 - Tina Burgland Veal ‘92

2020 - Kiley Quinn ‘99

2019 – Darci Heap ‘08

2018 - Craig Willis ‘90

2017 - Dr. Karmen Hopkins ‘00

2016 - Robert Mason ‘72

2015 - Dr. Judy Glaser ‘75

2014 - Judge Thomas Keith ‘87

2013 - Jim Purlee ‘70

2012 - Susan Swartwout ‘87

2011 - Cynthia Fitch ‘98

2010 - Cynthia Kiffer '70

2009 - Joshua D. Gibb ‘00

2008 - Brenda Stewart Clevidence ‘89

2007 - Bonnie Smith-Skripps '71

2006 - Sandra Gavin ‘95

2005 - Tara Miller ‘97

2004 - Dave Burns ‘88

2003 - Dr. Lori Sundberg ’77, ‘15

2002 - Dr. Christine Baumgardner ‘88

2001 - Dr. Lannie Cation ‘85

2000 - Sharon Graham ‘91

1999 - Linda Foster ‘85

1998 - Victor Miller '83

1997 - Betty Thal

1996 - Rose Stockman ‘76

1995 - Larry Schwartz '68

1994 - Daniel Baker ‘75

1993 - Ann Murdock ‘83

1992 - Jan Lundeen ‘86

1991 - No award given

1990 - Louis Gamage '86 & Mary Louderman '86

1989 - Janice Champion '77

1988 - Donna Medina ‘78

1987 - Gerald Strom Jr. '74

1986 - John Delawder III '71

1985 - Russell Orwig ‘82

1984 - Daniel Bailey

1983 - Jerry Latherow '71

1982 - F. Dale Cozad '69

1981 - Maren Kay Carlson '78

1980 - Daniel Baker '75

1979 - William Campbell '70

Carl Sandburg College Pacesetter Award

2022 - Dakota Hicks '17

2021 - Cassandra Sherwin ‘14

2020 - Becca Schwieter ‘14

2019 – Kassie Karssen-Schoon ‘13

2018 - Krista Winters ‘06

2017 - Matthew Wolford ‘08

2016 - Elvith Santoyo-McNaught ‘10

2015 - Travis Nesby ‘03

2014 - Trevor Davies ‘06

2013 - Naomi Wai ‘01

2012 - Ashley Swick ‘05

 

Please call 309.341.5330 or send an email to srucker@sandburg.edu with questions or for more information about the awards and nomination requirements.

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

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Stacy Bainter

As a college student striving towards her own goals, Stacy Bainter demonstrated the meaning of determination when faced with life’s obstacles. Today, she shares that same can-do attitude with her students to help them build confidence both in and outside the classroom.

Bainter graduated from Carl Sandburg College’s nursing program in 2000. She then earned her bachelor's in nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2007 and a master's in nursing (nurse educator track) from McKendree University in 2015. In October 2016, she was inducted into McKendree's chapter of Sigma Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She became a Sandburg adjunct instructor in 2011 for the nursing program and has been a full-time instructor since 2015. Bainter is the coordinator of Sandburg's basic nursing assistant program, coordinator for the practical nursing program and nurse administrator. She also served as the health occupation teacher for the Galesburg Area Vocational Center from 2011-15. In 2021, Bainter received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), and she was awarded Sandburg's Faculty Member of the Year in 2020. 

Bainter has worked tirelessly to share her expertise and educate the next generation of nurses, bringing her positive attitude, enthusiasm for teaching and determination to class every day. More than once, Bainter has opened her home to train new faculty in advance of the semester beginning.

Prior to her teaching career, Bainter worked as a registered nurse from 2000-13 in long-term care, holding positions of floor nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, MDS coordinator, assistant director of nursing and director of nursing.

“My life has been shaped by a community college education by providing me the opportunity to begin my nursing career with obtaining my associate degree in nursing, despite the obstacles that life threw at me during the program,” Bainter said. “I was strong and determined to push through to reach my end goal regardless of what others thought of my success due to my challenges. The end result is bringing me back to my alma mater as an instructor and paying it forward to be the advocate for my students.”

2022 Pacesetter Award Recipient

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Dakota Hicks

A 2017 Carl Sandburg College graduate, Dakota Hicks exemplifies the definition of pacesetter. After completing his Associate in Arts at Sandburg, Hicks transferred to Western Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor's in finance with highest honors, including recognition as a Business and Technology Scholar. While working on his bachelor's, Hicks was named a Finance Departmental Scholar, also enrolled in WIU's integrated Master of Business Administration program and became a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. 

Prior to enrolling in college, Hicks spent six years in the Marines. He traveled to 14 countries, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan. During his time in the service, Hicks stepped in as a senior leader, advisor, and operations manager to fulfill a position that typically requires 15-plus years’ experience.

While in high school, Hicks had no plans on attending college, but upon joining the Marines, he found that he thrived in leadership roles that posed challenges. After leaving the service, Hicks found himself avoiding public places and social gatherings as he learned to navigate the challenges many veterans face when returning from war. A first-generation college student, he worked to overcome his obstacles and went from being afraid to attend his college classes to graduating from Sandburg with a 4.0 grade point average. 

Today, he is the owner of Wishtan HomeService - a real estate management company - and Macomb Student Rentals. Hicks also is a past volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and has served as a den leader for the Boy Scouts of America.