The LAS Alumni Distinguished Service Award is given periodically to individuals who have demonstrated leadership in service to the college. Meritorious service reflects a contribution of time, talent, or resources that have enhanced excellence within the college. Recipients must have received a degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, but it need not be from LAS. The distinguished service for which they are nominated should demonstrate the values derived from a liberal arts and sciences education.
BS, ‘79, biology; MD; ‘83
Richard Berkowitz has played an integral role in helping Illinois students interested in medical professions to achieve their career goals. Berkowitz, a physician anesthesiologist and perioperative physician, co-founded the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Pre-Health and Professional Mentorship Program with the school’s assistant director of advising and recruitment Tina Knox in 2010. The mentorship program connects undergraduate students with alumni already practicing in the field, and includes monthly check-ins between students and their mentors as well as job-shadowing and site visits opportunities for students whenever possible. Watch a video interview of Berkowitz.
BA, ’74, political science
John Coady, who retired as judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Illinois in 2009, currently represents the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on the Illinois Alumni Association board. He served several years on the College of LAS Alumni Association Board, including two years as president, and meets regularly with students to talk about careers in law. He is actively engaged in supporting fellow alumni, and he has offered advice and shared resources to improve the student experience. Read more about John Coady.
MS ’78, PhD ’80, Biochemistry
Keith Westcott was at Amgen when it burst onto the scene in the 1980s, sparking the biotechnology revolution. He has brought his industrial know-how back to U of I through graduate fellowships in biochemistry, talks, U of I Foundation activities, and innovative teaching. Read more about Keith Westcott.
BA '49, Spanish
Honorable. Gracious. Dependable. Curious. Fun. Dorothy DiIorio lives up to all of the descriptions of her character. As a former LAS Alumni Board member, a tireless advocate for the college, and a generous contributor, her service to LAS and the Urbana campus has been incalculable. Read more about Dorothy DiIorio.
BS, '69, Psychology
John Micetich, owner of a successful investment firm in San Diego, returns to the U of I campus each January to teach an eight-week course in financial planning-pro bono-as a way of giving back to the University that gave him his start. Read more about John Micetich.
Katherine Wolcott Walker
AB '52 Spanish
Ms. Walker, a retired development officer for the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation in Chicago, is president of the LAS Alumni Association and a board ember since 1991. A vocal advocate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she is committed to nurturing alumni ties to the institution. Among her accomlishments has been a revitalization of the alumni recognition program, which included the establishment of the LAS Alumni Humanitarian Award.
Richard J. Faletti
BS '47, Commerce, JD '48, Law
Mr. Faletti, a senior law partner with Winston and Strawn in Chicago, is a founding member of the University of Illinois' Spurlock Museum's board of directors and a major contributor to the museum's African culture collection. He helped shape the museum board's charter and has donated more than 50 artifacts to the museum. He and his wife, Barbara, endowed the Richard and Barbara Faletti Gallery of African Cultures in the museum.
Mary Kay Peer
AB '34, General Curriculum, AM '36 English
Ms. Peer served the Department of English for 41 years, retiring as an administrative aide, having served under 13 department heads. In addition to her responsibilities for the budget, timetable, and assignment of classes, she oversaw publication of the literary journal Accent and the nationally recognized freshman writing magazine Green Cauldron. She served on board of directors of the University Library Friends and member of World Heritage Museum (now the Spurlock Museum) Guild and charter member of Krannert Art Museum. In 1987, appointed to LAS Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving with distinction for six years.