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.

2020 Recipients

  • John Graf, ’80 LAS

    John Graf, ’80 LAS, has spent a 40-year career in the global insurance industry, including senior leadership roles at AIG, American General and Conseco. Most recently, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Forethought Financial until its sale to Global Atlantic where he continues to serve on the board of directors.

    In addition, he has served on the boards of insurance industry leaders QBE and Everest RE. He currently manages the investment activities of Rambler Ventures, a strategic investor in small to midsize, privately owned businesses.

    Graf resides in Houston, Texas, where he is active in the philanthropic community, serving on the boards of the Houston and Nantucket Boys and Girls Clubs, Memorial Hermann Health System, and Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston. John and Maureen Graf are the proud parents of two daughters, Carly and Delaney.

  • Mary (Vest) Mason, ’90 LAS

    Mary (Vest) Mason, ’90 LAS, is the chief medical officer of corporate health initiatives at Centene Corporation, a St. Louis–based managed care enterprise, where she oversees award-winning clinical programs that dramatically improve quality and lower medical costs in a managed Medicaid population. She also serves as director of the Centene Institute for Advanced Medical Education. Dr. Mason founded and leads the Little Medical School. This award-winning educational franchise has offices in more than 60 locations around the world, where it reaches more than 500,000 children, inspiring them to dream about careers in healthcare while learning about their own health.

    An active member in the St. Louis community, Dr. Mason serves on the national board of Parents as Teachers and the national council for Washington University’s Institute of Public Health; she received both her MBA and M.D. from Washington. Mason is president of Little Medical School’s program for children in underserved communities, Dr. Genie’s Kids Foundation. She received a Washington University School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award in 2019 and a Women in White Coats Hero Award in 2020.

    Dr. Mason and her husband John, a general surgeon, have three children.

Past Recipients

  • 2019

    • Doris Derby, MA ’75 LAS, PHD, ’80 LAS

    • Leslie Geissler Munger, ’78 ACES

  • 2018

    • Christina A. Brodbeck, ’01 LAS

    • Nick Ciffone, ’10 LAS, ’10 MEDIA

  • 2017

    • Emily S. Gardner, ’05 BUS, ’05 AHS

    • Robert P. Gaynes, ’75 LAS

    • Thomas F. Larwin, ’65 ENG

  • 2016

    • Michael Strautmanis, ’91 MEDIA, JD ’94

  • 2015

    • James E. Sparks, ’77 MEDIA

    • Lyle Orwig, ’74 ACES

  • 2014

    • Suheily Natal Davis, ’04 MEDIA

    • James E. Schlueter, ’80 MEDIA

    • Dr. Der-Tsai Lee, ’76 ENG, PHD ’ 78 ENG

  • 2013

    • Jeffrey D. Breslow, ’65 FAA

    • Col. Michael S. McBride, ’84 LAS

    • Tonise Paul, ’79 MEDIA, MS ’ 80 MEDIA

  • 2012

    • Ron Bess, ’69 BUS, MS ’72 MEDIA

    • Sheldon Siegel, ’80 BUS

    • Beverly Washington, ’78 FAA

  • 2011

    • Ryan Baker, ’91 MEDIA

    • Paul Schrage, MS ’59 MEDIA

    • Bud Strom, ’54 AHS

  • 2010

    • Bob Epstein, ’74 MEDIA

    • G. Robert Hillman, ’72 MEDIA

    • Jon Khachaturian, ’78 ENG

    • Laura Rowley, ’87 MEDIA

  • 2009

    • Mark Filip, ’88 LAS

    • Robert G. Kennedy, ’78 ENG

    • Marvin White, ’69 LAS

  • 2008

    • Scott W. Atlas, '77 LAS

    • Barry Sabath, '74 LAS

  • 2007

    • Lee Archambault, ’82 ENG, MS ’84 ENG

    • Cathy Larson Koerner, ’87 ENG, MS ’89 ENG

    • Maj. Matthew C. Shortal, ’94 BUS

  • 2006

    • C.O. “Doc” Erickson, ’43 ACES

    • Gregory Paw, ’85 MEDIA

    • Betty Lee Sung, ’48 LAS

  • 2005

    • Andrea Darlas, ’94 MEDIA

    • Stuart M. Kaminsky, ’57 MEDIA, AM ’60 LAS

    • Ann Davenport McBrien, ’82 BUS

  • 2004

    • Mary Frances Fagan, ’76 MEDIA, MA ’83 LAS

    • Bridget Later Lamont, MS '72 LIS

    • John David Mooney, MFA ’65 FAA

    • Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, AM ’68 LAS, PHD ’70 LAS

  • 2003

    • John Burgstone, ’95 ENG

    • Londa Jorgensen Dewey, ’82 LAS

    • Carol Hillsman Sagers, ’79 MEDIA

  • 2002

    • Scott Altman, ’81 ENG

    • Temple Grandin, PHD ’89 ACES

    • Laura McInerney Jennings, ’83 BUS

    • Barbara Baxter Pillinger, ’56 AHS

    • Andrew A. Sorensen, ’59 LAS

  • 2001

    • Daniel J. Balz, ’68 MEDIA, MS ’72 MEDIA

    • Henry Givens Jr., EDM ‘61

    • Edward L. McMillan, ’69 ACES

    • Sheldon B. Rubin, ’64 LAS, ’66 VM, DVM ’68

  • 2000

    • Dr. Scott Anderson, MS ’36 ENG, PHD ’40 ENG

    • Carol Ross Barney, ’71 FAA

    • Dianne Sautter Campbell, ’71 ED

    • Merle Gilmore, ’70 ENG

    • Mary Kay Kretch Haben, ’77 BUS

  • 1999

    • Cheryl R. Berman, ’74 MEDIA

    • Lu Ann Walker Maddox, ’74 AHS, MS ’76 AHS

    • Peer Pedersen, ’47 DSSWV, LLB ’48 LAW

    • Fred A. Rubin, ’72 FAA

    • Lt. Gov. Corinne J. Giese Wood, ’76 LAS

  • 1998

    • Doris Kelley Christopher, ’67 ACES

    • Eileen F. Fisher, ’72 ACES

    • Fred F. Guyton Jr., ’61 FAA

    • John A. Johnson, ’64 ENG, MS ’65 ENG

    • Arthur Ramer Wyatt, ’49 BUS, MS ’50 BUS, PHD ’53 BUS

  • 1997

    • Rowine Hayes Brown-Truitt, ’38 MEDIA, MD ’39 MEDIA

    • Julia J. Henderson, ’36 LAS, AM ’37 LAS

    • David F. Linowes, ’41 BUS

    • Park C. Livingston, ’30 LAS, MED ’81

    • Charles B. Shuman, ’28 ACES, MS ’29 ACES

  • 1996

    • James M. Benson, ’68 LAS

    • Judge Maynard Glitman, ’55 LAS

    • Debra L. Mitchell, ’75 FAA

    • Cordell Reed, ’60 ENG

    • Dr. Katie Harper Wright, ’44 LAS, EDM ‘59

  • 1995

    • Judge Eugene N. Hamilton, ’55 LAS, LLB ’59 LAW

    • R. Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, PHD ’69 LAS

    • Carol Ann Keiser, ’68 ACES

    • Robert D. Novak, ’52 LAS, HON ’98

    • Gary K. Wolf, ’63 MEDIA, MS ’69 MEDIA

  • 1994

    • K. Kenn Allen, ’71 LAS

    • Samuel T. Balen, ’57 FAA

    • Steven H. Gerdes, ’77 ACES

    • Nada J. Rowand, ’58 FAA

    • Joyce E. Tucker, ’70 LAS

  • 1993

    • Emiel Hamberlin, EDM ’77, EDD ’83

    • Mannie L. Jackson, ’60 AHS

    • Robert B. Levin, ’65 MEDIA

    • Terri L. Ludwig, ’85 LAS

    • David A. McConnell, ’54 VM, DVM ’56

    • Eleanor H. Moty, ’68 FAA

  • 1992

    • Jacqueline Triche Atkins, ’69 LAS, JD ’73 LAW

    • Herbert Y. Chang, ’60 ENG, MS ’62 ENG, PHD ’64 ENG

    • George M.C. Fisher, ’62 ENG, HON 96

    • Graham C. Grady, ’80 LAS

    • John G. “Red” Kerr, ’54 UIUC

    • Cecilia McCane “Ceil” Kuzma, ’70 LAS

    • Miriam J. “Jess” Marlow, ’58 DSSWV

    • Lester H. McKeever Jr., ’55 BUS

  • 1991

    • William F. Kirk, ’64 ACES

    • Landon Parvin, ’70 BUS

    • Roger L. Plummer, ’64 ENG

    • David A. Powless, ’66 BUS

    • Christina Walton Tanner, ’86 LAS

    • Eddie N. Williams, ’54 MEDIA

  • 1990

    • Stewart D. Daniels Jr., ’49 LAS

    • Stanley L. Elkin, ’52 LAS, AM ’53 LAS, PHD ’61 LAS, HON ’86

    • Laura Barber Fraley, ’77 LAS, MS ’79 BUS

    • William E. Geist, ’68 MEDIA

    • Charla M. Krupp, ’75 MEDIA

    • Robert “Bob” Martinez, AM ’64 LIR

    • William F. Mellberg, ’75 BUS

    • Dora Dougherty Strother, AM ’53 ED

    • Barbara Seaquist Williams, ’49 BUS

  • 1989

    • Nancy Goodman Brinker, ’68 LAS

    • Richard B. Fink, ’50 VM, DVM ’52

    • Rita Bell, ’65 BUS

    • Jacquelyn Knight Gates, ’71 UIUC

    • H. Richard McFarland, ’52 ACES

    • Susan Sowle Suter, ’72 LAS

  • 1988

    • Gary K. Bielfeldt, ’58 ACES, MS ’59 ACES

    • Lee H. Falk, ’32 LAS

    • Richard H. Frank, ’65 BUS

    • Grover G. Hankins, JD ’72 LAW

    • Hachiro “Buddy” Koyama, AM ’80 LIR, HON ’95

    • Kathy Olesker Pounds, ’71 LAS

    • Gail Shapiro Steinberg, ’69 LAS

  • 1987

    • Max Abramovitz, ’29 FAA

    • Barton A. Cummings, ’35 MEDIA

    • W. Leonard Evans. Jr., ’35 BUS

    • John C. Houbolt, ’40 ENG, MS ’42 ENG, HON ’05

    • George E. Keck, ’32 BUS

    • Jack S. Kilby, ’47 ENG

    • Thomas A. Murphy, ’38 BUS

    • James B. “Scotty” Reston, ’32 MEDIA

    • Alfred B. Swanson, ’45 MEDIA, MD ’47 MEDIA

    • Phillips Talbot, ’36 MEDIA, ’36 LAS

    • Robert C. Underwood, JD ’39 LAW

    • Wilma L. Vaught, ’52 BUS

  • 1986

    • Lee L. Morgan, ’41 ACES

    • Steven R. Nagel, ’69 ENG

    • Lou Proana, ’66 LAS

    • Edith Ann Stotler, ’68 LAS

    • John L. Strom, ’35 MEDIA

  • 1985

    • Michael Colgrass Jr., ’56 FAA

    • Donald C. Johanson, ’66 LAS

    • Barbara Miller Knuckles, ’70 LAS, MS ’71 MEDIA

    • Prentice H. Marshall, ’49 DSSWV, JD ’51 LAW

    • Lynn Morley Martin, ’60 LAS

    • Sherman Ted Rice, ’43 ACES, MS ’48 ACES, PHD ’50 ACES

    • B. Kenneth West, ’55 LAS

  • 1984

    • Andrew Barr, ’23 BUS, MS ’24 BUS

    • Richard A. Campbell, ’49 ENG, MS ’50 ENG

    • Roger J. Ebert, ’64 MEDIA

    • Richard A. Greenberg, ’70 FAA, MFA ’72 FAA

    • Charles Marshall, ’51 ACES

    • Cesar Pelli, MS ’54 FAA

    • Meredith Pleasant Sparks, PHD ’36 LAS

  • 1983

    • James S. Brady, ’62 MEDIA

    • Harry J. Gray, ’41 MEDIA, MS ’47 MEDIA

    • Gardner W. Heidrick, ’35 BUS

    • Herbert H. McKenley, ’49 UIUC

    • Godfrey Sperling Jr., ’37 MEDIA

    • Marion Morse Wood, PHD ’65 MEDIA

  • 1982

    • John B. Anderson, ’42 LAS, JD ’46 LAW

    • Arnold Orville Beckman, ’22 LAS, MS ’23 ENG

    • Carole Kamin Bellows, ’57 LAS

    • Earl B. Dickerson, ’14 LAS, HON ’84

    • Malcolm C. Todd, ’34 LAS

    • Craig S. Virgin, ’77 MEDIA

  • 1981

    • Harold R. “Hal” Bruno Jr., ’50 MEDIA

    • Arthur S. “Arte” Johnson, ’49 MEDIA

    • Kathleen K. Kellaigh, ’76 FAA

    • Alfred N. Koplin, ’49 DSSWV

    • Lester G. Leutwiler, ’29 ENG

    • Timothy J. McCarthy, ’72 BUS

    • Nina Temple Shepherd, ’55 LAS

    • Larry A. Werries, ’62 ACES

  • 1980

    • John S. Coleman, ’57 MEDIA

    • Sheldon F. Good, ’55 BUS

    • Alan M. Hallene Sr., ’51 ENG

    • Nancy Thies Marshall, ’79 LAS

    • Cirilo A. McSween, ’54 LAS

    • Judith Ford Johnson Nash, ’73 AHS

    • Jane Hayes Rader, ’54 LAS