Alumni recognized for achievement and service

A structural engineering innovator, world-renowned geneticist and cancer researcher, and leader in public service and agriculture were honored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association during Commencement weekend activities (May 12-13) on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

William F. Baker and Dr. Stephen J. Elledge are the 2017 recipients of the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor conferred by the UI Alumni Association on behalf of the University.  This award is presented to alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work. Colleen R. Callahan Burns is the 2017 recipient of the University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to an individual whose commitment, dedication and service have contributed significantly to the advancement of the University of Illinois.

William Baker, MS ’80 ENG, Alumni Achievement Award

William (Bill) Baker is an internationally recognized structural engineer, whose designs include the structural system that enabled construction of the world’s tallest building, the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.

Stephen Elledge, ’78 LAS, Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Stephen Elledge is an acclaimed researcher in the field of genetics, biochemistry, genomics and proteomics of cancer cell biology. His foundational research has led to our current understanding of the cellular mechanisms of cancer and development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Colleen Callahan Burns, ’73 ACES, Distinguished Service Award

Colleen Callahan Burns has been an active supporter of Illinois, serving in leadership positions with the College of ACES Alumni Association, Fighting Illini Pork Club and UI Alumni Association. Additional accomplishments include the expansion of the Salute to Agriculture Day and the creation of the Dr. Jim Evans Endowed Chair position in the Colleges of ACES and Media.

Visit to learn more about these awards, and to nominate a deserving alumnus/a for the 2018 UI Alumni Association awards.