Alumni Awards

Illinois alumni are recognized throughout the year for their successes and contributions. During Homecoming week at the University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Alumni Association will recognize outstanding alumni with the Alumni Achievement and Distinguished Service awards. Other honors, such as the Chicago Illini of the Year Awards, are presented at other annual events. Here is a complete list of awards, past recipients and instructions on how to nominate someone for recognition.

  • Alumni Achievement Award (Est. 1957)

    The highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. The award is presented to those alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.

  • Alumni Humanitarian Award (Est. 2001)

    Bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. The award is presented to alumni who, through their outstanding professional contributions and/or volunteer leadership, have significantly improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity on a national or international scale.

  • Chicago Illini of the Year Award (Est. 1997)

    Co-sponsored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association and the Chicago Illini Club, this award recognizes the accomplishments of Chicago-area graduates of the University. Up to three distinguished alumni who live and work in Chicago or a Chicago suburb are honored each year.

  • Constituent Leadership Award (Est. 1984)

    This award recognizes the alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and/or special efforts in the organization, management and support of a constituent alumni association (college, school or department alumni association).

  • Distinguished Service Award (Est. 1972)

    Bestowed upon alumni, faculty, staff and friends by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to individuals or couples whose consistent, exceptional and meritorious service to the University of Illinois has made a significant impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.

  • Diversity and Inclusion Award (Est. 2020)

    The Diversity and Inclusion Award is bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. This award recognizes those alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion through their professional and/or voluntary achievements and whose accomplishments support the UIAA’s goal of promoting diversity, cross-culturalism, open-mindedness and respect within the University of Illinois community and beyond.

  • Honorary Alumnus Award (Est. 2020)

    The highest honor bestowed upon individuals who are not graduates of University of Illinois by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. The award is presented to an individual or individuals who have shown exemplary dedication and commitment to the mission of the University and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. Recipients adhere to standards of moral and ethical conduct that would cause the University to be honored to present the recipients as role models for students and alumni.

  • Illini Comeback Award (Est. 1980)

    Every year, the University of Illinois Alumni Association invite a group of prominent and accomplished alumni back to the campus to participate in various activities during Homecoming Weekend, with a focus on providing opportunities for honorees to interact with current students, sharing information about their professional experiences and the value of their University of Illinois education.

  • Lou Liay Spirit Award (Est. 1997)

    Bestowed upon alumni by the University of 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.

  • Young Alumni Award (Est. 2020)

    The Young Alumni Award is bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. This award recognizes alumni who are under the age of 35, and who have emerged as early leaders in their respective professional or civic endeavors. These individuals have demonstrated leadership and innovation and have proven themselves to be exceptional ambassadors for the University’s recent graduate and young alumni communities.