Alumni Achievement

Every year during Homecoming, the Southwestern University Alumni Association honors members of the Southwestern community who exemplify the Core Values of the University and the mission of The Association. 

Selection Process

Alumni Award honorees are selected each year by members of The Association’s Nominations and Awards Committee (comprised of 10 alumni volunteers). The Committee submits their recommendations to the Alumni Council, who then votes upon the slate of honorees. Selected honorees are informed of their nominations by the Nominations and Awards Chair (a position on the Alumni Council) and their acceptance of the awards is then confirmed. Upon acceptance of each award by all honorees, nominators are informed of their candidate’s status. The Association announces the honorees during the summer prior to Homecoming. 

2017 Distinguished Awards

The Nominations Committee, led by Chair Suzy Prucka ’03, selected the 2017 Alumni Award honorees:

  • Robert H. Simpson ’32 - Medal of Honor
  • Karen Hanson-Flowers ’75  - Distinguished Southwestern Service
  • Bill Engvall ’79 - Distinguished Professional
  • Cile Spelce Elley ’91 - Distinguished Professional
  • Lawrence Kern ’01 - Distinguished Humanitarian
  • Stephen Foster ’09, Distinguished Young Alumna
  • Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology - Ms. Homecoming

Learn more about our award winners

Distinguished Award Categories

Medal of Honor

Awarded to alumni whose accomplishments are regarded as the highest form of achievement. The purpose of the award is to recognize achievements that are rare and important. 

Distinguished Southwestern Service

Presented to alumni who meet the following criteria:

  • Service to the University over a long period of time.
  • Service to his/her community, state and nation.
  • Leadership in his/her chosen profession, business or vocation.
  • Creativity of an artistic or literary nature, where applicable.

Distinguished Humanitarian

Presented to alumni who have made a global impact on the human race by their actions while exemplifying Southwestern University’s Core Values. 

Distinguished Young Alumnus/a

Presented to alumni in recognition of perseverance and dedication to a given area. The honored recipient must have graduated from Southwestern within the past 10 years and have demonstrated success, innovation and/or leadership either in his/her personal, academic or professional life. 

Distinguished Professional 

Presented to Southwestern University alumni who have performed exceptional civic and/or professional services in a given geographic area or field of endeavor. Recipients represent the highest standards of Southwestern University’s commitment to a values-centered curriculum, development of the whole person and exemplifies Southwestern University’s Core Values. 

Mr./Ms. Homecoming

An honor given to a member of the faculty as a token of the affection and respect of former students. The award symbolizes the strength of the University: the strong personal relationships between students and faculty. It states clearly that alumni recall with appreciation what the recipient contributed to the education and development of former students. 

Former Awards

Former Awards and Honoring Those Recipients 

In 2009, the Southwestern University Alumni Association charged an Awards Task Force with reviewing the current Association awards program, making recommendations about how the program might be enhanced and stating that The Association awards program should recognize those whose achievements and contributions represent the very best of the Southwestern Experience, and by doing so inspire the Southwestern community and beyond. They submitted their report on July 11, 2009. Subsequently, a new set of awards criteria was approved by the Alumni Council Sept. 11, 2009 and the Alumni Assembly Jan. 24, 2010. The first of the new awards (see above) were presented in 2010. 

Although the awards listed below are no longer given, we are proud to recognize and honor the recipients.