Hopkins, Wolford Receive Carl Sandburg College Alumni Awards

  Aaron Frey
  Thursday, April 13, 2017 2:09 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg College honored the 2017 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus Award and Outstanding Young Alumnus Award at the Alumni Awards Reception on Wednesday evening at the College’s Main Campus in Galesburg. Dr. Karmen Hopkins ’00 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Matt Wolford ’08 received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Now a chiropractor and college instructor, Hopkins graduated from Sandburg with an Associate in Applied Science in mortuary science. While attending Sandburg, she worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in the College’s Fitness Center, and she credited that experience with helping her decide to further her education in the health field.

She went on to attend Palmer College of Chiropractic, graduating in 2010 with her bachelor’s and doctorate, and she opened her own practice a month later in Davenport, Iowa. In addition to her practice, she provides chiropractic care for runners in the Special Olympics torch run, teaches fitness classes at her local YMCA and teaches part-time at Palmer, focusing on techniques taught in the college’s curriculum.

“Accepting this award has helped me pause from moving forward and reflect on where I’ve been and who I am. I’m a small-town girl from Alexis, Illinois, a first-generation college graduate, who with a little grit and plenty of support and guidance has helped me arrive where I’m at today,” Hopkins said. “The phrase ‘It takes a village’ holds very true to my college experience. Being a first-generation graduate, I began here with all of you. I believe that you provide the tools and support, between the faculty and staff, that future generations of college students will know what success is as well.”

Wolford, an Abingdon native, took a full schedule of dual credit courses at Sandburg as a junior and senior in high school, with classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Sandburg while attending Abingdon High School the rest of the week. It led to him earning his associate degree from the College two weeks before graduating as valedictorian from AHS.

“The opportunity to do be able to do (high school studies) at Abingdon at the same time as going to (Sandburg) was an incredible thing, and I’m so grateful that Sandburg has now started to do that jointly and has a process for that,” Wolford said. “It’s really a good value for students. I see a lot of students that graduate with $150,000 in debt, and I’m so grateful I did it differently.”

While at Sandburg, Wolford also worked part-time for Jet Air, Inc. in Galesburg and studied toward his pilot’s license, continuing a family tradition in aviation. He kept working for Jet Air while earning his bachelor’s in communications with a minor in management from Western Illinois University. Wolford graduated from WIU at 20 and immediately began working full-time with Jet Air at its Iowa City, location, where he’s now the general operations manager.

“I’ve learned your education doesn’t stop once you walk across the graduation stage. I feel like I’m learning something every day,” Wolford said. “I feel like that’s really important, and I’m excited that I get to do that every day alongside a great team of people in my job. It’s so important that students are able to get out of school and find a career they really enjoy, and I’m really thankful for that.”


2017 — Dr. Karmen Hopkins

2016 — Robert Mason

2015 — Dr. Judy Glaser

2014 — Judge Thomas Keith

2013 — Jim Purlee

2012 — Susan Swartwout

2011 — Cynthia Kitchen

2010 — Cynthia Kiffer

2009 — Joshua D. Gibb

2008 — Brenda Stewart Clevidence

2007 — Bonni Smith-Skripps

2006 — Sandra Gavin

2005 — Tara Miller

2004 — Dave Burns

2003 — Dr. Lori Sundberg

2002 — Christine Baumgardner

2001 — Lannie Cation

2000 — Sharon Graham

1999 — Linda Foster

1998 — Victor Miller

1997 — Betty Thal

1996 — Rose Stockman

1995 — Larry Schwartz

1994— Daniel Baker

1993 — Ann Murdock

1992 — Jan Lundeen

1991 — No award given

1990 — Louis Gamage & Mary Louderman

1989 — Janice Champion

1988 — Donna Medina

1987 — Gerald Strom Jr.

1986 — John Delawder III

1985 — Russell Orwig

1984 — Daniel Bailey

1983 — Jerry Latherow

1982 — F. Dale Cozad

1981 — Maren Kay Carlson

1980 — Daniel Baker

1979 — William Campbell


2017 — Matthew Wolford

2016 — Elvith Santoyo-McNaught

2015 — Travis Nesby

2014 — Trevor Davies

2013 — Naomi Wai

2012 — Ashley Swick


Dr. Karmen Hopkins

Dr. Karmen Hopkins


Matt Wolford

Matt Wolford


Press Contact

Aaron Frey