Sandburg Trustee’s Goal to Recognize Health Professions Alums With Pins

GALESBURG — Bruce Lauerman wants to pin down as many Carl Sandburg College health professions alumni as he can find.

Lauerman, a Sandburg trustee of 31 years, has a goal of recognizing graduates — new and old — of the College’s health professions programs with a specially designed lapel pin bearing the Sandburg seal and the word “alumni” around its border.

“I've had such a great response on this with the 50 or so that I've been able to get out there myself,” Lauerman said at Sandburg’s Board of Trustees meeting in August, about two weeks into his endeavor.

His goals are twofold: The first is to give Sandburg health professions alumni special recognition for their accomplishments and contributions to the welfare of our communities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is to make it easier for others to identify the Sandburg graduates who assist them in doctor’s offices, clinics, dentist chairs and other health areas they visit.

“It's something unique, something special, something that's just for them,” Lauerman said. “They're health professionals. They've graduated and we're proud of them. Let's show the community how much we touch them in ways they don't even know.”

Sandburg offers more than a dozen certificate and degree programs in health science, including nursing, EMS-paramedic, medical assisting, radiologic technology, dental hygiene and mortuary science.

In the beginning weeks of Lauerman’s pin-placing plan, he handed out more than 50 to alumni he encountered in visits to OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, OSF Galesburg Clinic, Sweetbriar Family Dentistry and Galesburg Cottage Hospital, just to name a few. The reaction, he said, was overwhelmingly positive, noting that one nurse shared a photo of her pin on Facebook.

“I tell them, ‘If you've taken a course at Sandburg that has professionally helped you in health professions, I'm going to give you a pin. But you've got to promise me you're going to wear it,’” Lauerman said. “And they do. They put them on right there on the spot.”

The next step in the distribution plan organized by Carl Sandburg College Foundation is to survey local hospitals and clinics in and around the College’s district to ensure the numerous Sandburg alumni who work in those facilities are all properly acknowledged. Alumni out of the area can also request a pin through the Sandburg Foundation office by emailing

“These are our people. This is a product of our institution; someone you can be proud of. Not only do they help in health professions and assist us as we all go through life … they're all earning a salary and paying taxes as good, taxpaying citizens,” Lauerman said. “I think we ought to be darn proud of them, and I just want special recognition for them."

Bruce Lauerman
Bruce Lauerman