Skip to content

Each of the individuals highlighted below has received one of our prestigious alumni awards. We are inspired by their outstanding professional accomplishments as emerging alumni, or through service to the University, community, or country.

If you know someone who is especially deserving of recognition, please nominate them for one of our Alumni Awards. Recipients are honored each year during Homecoming. Specific details on this event will be shared soon. For now, save the date for Homecoming week set for October 7-13, 2024.

Nomination Deadline is July 1, 2024. Please direct questions to the Alumni Office at [email protected] or 563-425-5388.

2022 Service to University Award

Jerry Gazaway

Jerry Gazaway

Class of 1966

Jerry Gazaway graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and physical education. He was also a member of the Peacock basketball team. During a review of Upper Iowa’s annual Donor Club recognition list, Jerry Gazaway was intrigued by names that he did (and did not) see listed. Jerry took it upon himself to reach out to the Alumni Office to see if he could assist in growing the number of alumni donors. A 34-year donor himself, he simply believed more alumni should be contributing to their alma mater. Over the course of six months, Gazaway volunteered countless hours to contact hundreds of classmates and friends who graduated in the era spanning 1963-1969. His selfless effort resulted in 45 donations, over $2,000 in new gifts, and many wonderful conversations. Because of Jerry’s efforts, nine UIU alumni became first-time donors, and has inspired at least two other alumni to begin the same outreach.

2022 Emerging Alumni Award

Jake Bass

Jake Bass

Class of 2014

Jake Bass earned an elementary education degree from UIU in 2014. His leadership skills were utilized during his seven-year stint with Upper Iowa as a graduate assistant and the coordinator of student activities. In 2021, Jake began working for Buchanan County as the AmeriCorps senior RSVP coordinator. His primary focus is assisting individuals over age 55 who are looking to find meaningful volunteer activities. Bass is passionate about volunteerism and helping others to find meaning in their service. His background of personal service, for which he has now found a professional outlet, is a great model for those wishing to make an impact on the greater world. Colleagues say he has “entrenched himself in the community” and has an impressive and unique ability to connect with seniors. Jake is involved in the Eagles and Rotary Clubs, community yard work, city fundraising, and the Library Board. In addition, he plays an important role with The Royal Family Kids Camp. This five-day camp serves local children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment. One community member had this to say about Jake: “He has a magnetic personality; he is caring and positive, and engaged to the max.”

2022 Professional Accomplishment Award

beth alverson (2)

Elizabeth "Beth" (Streicher) Alverson

Class of 1972

Beth Alverson’s longtime passion for science led her to graduate cum laude in 1972 with a major in chemistry and a minor in biology. Soon after graduation, Alverson began her 43-year career at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, serving as chemistry supervisor for 30 years. She was active in the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), and served on the Iowa State Board, as newsletter editor and as state president, earning her multiple accolades. Beth was named to the American Registry of Outstanding Professionals and also recognized by the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry Among Executives and Professionals. Beyond her professional career, Alverson is deeply connected to her community, serving as a cub scout leader, block party organizer, and Order of Eastern Star member. She’s also heavily involved with United Methodist Women (UMW), a mission-oriented organization supporting women, children, and youth. Recently she secured a UMW grant that is being used to purchase books focusing on social and emotional well-being for elementary children.

2022 Service to Country Award

Corell, Benjamin J (ASU)

Major General Ben Corell

Class of 1995

Major General Ben Corell ’95, Harpers Ferry, Iowa—Major General Ben Corell enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard in 1986 with the goal of serving his country and earning some additional money for his young family. That decision led to a notable career 37 years strong, and counting, of protecting our nation. He received his officer’s commission through the Iowa Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School in 1989. Corell has commanded and deployed units overseas at the company, battalion, brigade, and division levels. His deployments include Saudi Arabia in 2000, where he commanded an infantry company supporting Operation Desert Spring; Egypt in 2003, as an infantry battalion commander supporting the Multi-National Forces and Observers peacekeeping mission; Al Anbar Province in Iraq from 2006-2007, as an infantry battalion commander, Afghanistan from 2010-2012, as commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; Bucharest, Romania from 2016-2017, as deputy commander for NATO’s Multi-National Division-Southeast; and Kuwait from 2017-2019, as commander of the 34th Infantry Division in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2019, Corell was selected as the 27th adjutant general of Iowa, leading 9,000 soldiers and airmen across the state. Corell received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from UIU in 1995 and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College in 2009.

2022 Service to Community Award

Dominic Hillesheim

Dominic Hillesheim

Class of 2018

—In 2018, Dominic Hillesheim earned his Bachelor of Science degree, double majoring in marketing and communication studies, with a sports communication emphasis. He was also a member of the Peacock baseball team. One year after graduating, he started his own nonprofit organization called Chi Town Blankets, which provides free blankets to homeless people in Chicago. The idea was sparked shortly after he and his father attended a Baltimore Orioles baseball game and were handed an Orioles blanket as a gift as they walked into the stadium. Weeks later, Dom was back in Chicago and as he passed a homeless man he thought back to the blanket he’d been given. He decided that person needed the blanket much more than he did, so he went back to his house and brought the blanket to this man. This random act of kindness set his foundation into motion. Dominic’s team is composed of nine individuals (three of whom are UIU alumni). Together, they collect, make, and hand deliver blankets to those who need them in the greater Chicagoland area, where there are currently 65,000+ homeless individuals. To date, 4,799 blankets have been given to members of his community and his foundation has garnered international corporate partners including Delta Air Lines and Pepsico. In addition to his efforts with Chi Town Blankets, Dominic works as a partnership activation specialist for the Chicago Bears, with whom he has made possible multiple internship opportunities for UIU students.

Wall of Fame

We honor past recipients of our prestigious alumni awards.

Service to Community Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Jon Miller20211975
Larry Kaberle20201965
Jason Zilk20191994
Cheryl (Dale) Hand20181971
Daniel Bencivenga20172013
Freddie Northern20161976
Lowell Tiedt20151971
Edie Sieg-Reed20142008
Mike Aschinger20132011
Leota (Morgan) Didier20121943
Brad Mattear20101995
Fred Tully20091963
Lon Butikofer20081983
Jacquelyn (Bowers) McTaggart20071964
Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende20061996
Pamela Whitmore20051965
Scott Lebin20041964
Warren Mitchell20031942, 1976
Richard Smith20021952


Professional Accomplishment Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
David Stevens20211977
Rick McGeough20201968
Bill DeLauro20191978
Kathleen (Kerrigan) Horstmeyer20181966
Marcia Anderson20171972
Veryl Sell20161960
Urmilah Dass20152003
William Daniels20141962
Teri (Vanderheiden) Salmons20121976
Jamie Bunn20121992
Michael Prochaska20101989
Harry Maue20091976
Mark Ebetino20081998
Victor Miller20071969
David Vaudt20061976
Michael Daniels20051978
Derek Mosley20041992
Bill Ites20031988
Kris Hansen20021992


Service to Country Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Dietrich Denali Cerna20212011
John Welch20202017
Tito Reed20192013
Bob King20181987
Michael Knight20172001
Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende20161996
J.R. Richardson20151981
Robert Betz20141989
Lawson Coapstick20131983
Benjamin Cooper20121998
Angie (Kimball) Joseph20121982


Service to University Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Marcia Andrews20211973
Jeffrey Stavnes20201976
Pamela Whitmore20191965
LaVerne McCoy20181998
Jann (Schellhammer) Henkes20171978
Becky (Anderegg) Wadian20161972
Sabrina Schmitt20162000
Shankar Thiruchelvam20152003
Raleigh Amyx20131974
Roger Bowen20121955
Foster Cass20111941
Lewis Churbuck20101967
Betty (Follett) Andres20091946
Bob Firth20081989
Jim Day20071967
Bill Prochaska20061963
Bruce Campbell20041969
Cabby Caballero20031956


Emerging Alumni Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Hadeel Osman20212014
Matthew Beatty20202015
James Ebert20192011
La'Mont Williams20172010
Jeremy Johnson20162008
Dano Grayson20152010
Dave Wenger20142006
Natalie Brown20132005
Narthreza Abdullah20122004
Scott Michels20092003
Ryan Kramer20082001
Matthew Snitkey20072001
Neil Wilkinson20061999
Matthew Cowley20052000
Amy (Peterson) Hayek20042002
* Previously known as Young Alumni Award.


Founder's Day Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Cabby Caballero19951956
Dick Clark19941953
Louise P. Herring1994
Mary (Moore) Kimball19931956
Lawrence Pande1993
Church Williams1992
Stan Lee19921946
Consuela Washington19911970
Grace Meyer 1991
Bill Andres19901948
Eugene Garbee1990
Bill Hiller19891950
David Bolger1989