College of Education

About Us Admissions & Academics Research & Engagement Departments & Faculty Current Students

Announcing Our 2021 Distinguished Alumni & Young Alumni Achievement Awardees

by Ashley Lawrence / Sep 28, 2021

2021 Distinguished Alumni & Young Alumni Achievement Awards

The College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will recognize six of its stellar alumni during festivities happening Homecoming Weekend, October 8 – 9, on campus.

Each year, the Distinguished Alumni & Young Alumni Achievement Awards program honors both seasoned and young alumni of the College who are leading the way in the education field.

Following a pandemic-affected 2020, the 2021 cohort of recipients will be recognized during an in-person brunch and awards event at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. College of Education Dean James D. Anderson and other university officials will be on hand to honor the awardees.

“The College of Education Alumni Award event highlights our alumni who are at the top of their field,” said Assistant Dean for Advancement Lisa Denson-Rives. “It is an opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate these change agents who have truly made an impact on individuals and communities of learners.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to graduates who have advanced the field of education in meaningful ways and had an exceedingly positive impact on the lives of students. These alumni accomplishments reflect admirably on the College of Education and their Alma Mater.

The Young Alumni Achievement Award recognizes young alumni under 40 years of age. These rising professionals have made outstanding contributions in their fields since graduating from the College. Their commitment to education, in its many forms, is inspirational.

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients:

  • Mary Lynn Boscardin, Ph.D. '84 Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
  • Edward Buendía, M.A. '96, Ph.D. '97 Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
  • Walter Tad Foster, B.S. '77, Ed.M. '79, Ph.D. '89 Vocational Technology Education
  • Shireen Pavri, Ph.D. '99, Special Education

2021 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients:

  • Natasha Jankowski, Ph.D. '12 Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
  • Royel Johnson, Ed.M. '11 Education Policy, Organization & Leadership

While on campus, the 2021 award recipients will tour the Education Building’s recently renovated spaces including the O’Leary Learning Center, IDEALL lab, and the Dr. David Zola Coffee Bar. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to meet with current faculty in the College and attend the 2021 Homecoming football game.

“It will be such a pleasure to have our incredible alumni back on campus,” said Director of Constituent Engagement Heather Zorn. “It is awe-inspiring to know College of Education graduates are taking their Illinois experience and using it to do tremendous work around the world.”

Read more about our 2021 Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Achievement award winners and their career accomplishments.