Honorary Alumnus Award (Est. 2019)
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.
Mike Ross & Taya Luderowski-Ross
Mike Ross became the sixth director of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, and his wife Taya Luderowski-Ross is a designer and owner of Luderowski Interiors in Champaign. The Rosses came to the U of I from New York City, where Ross was executive director of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, his alma mater. Under his direction, the Miller Theatre was recognized as “the city’s hottest hotbed of innovative programming.” He attributes his collaborative approach to arts administration to his experience as a professional musician, his interest in the arts and their broader cultural history, and his explorations into the nature of creativity. Mike is also an associate dean in the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
Taya earned her BFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has spent 35 years working as a designer on both residential and commercial projects. She’s also a master gardener and has been featured in the media for both her interior and garden design work. Taya has been a tireless volunteer for local organizations and has mentored and supported many Champaign-Urbana youth and young adults.
Mike and Taya serve as passionate cultural ambassadors for the micro-urban Champaign-Urbana community, with Mike also serving as board chair for the National Association of Performing Arts Professionals, board president of Arts Alliance Illinois, and a founding member of the Champaign County Arts Council, 40 North.
Lou and Mary Henson
Stanley O. Ikenberry