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Presidential Award and Medallion

The Presidential Award and Medallion are given to recognize individuals who support and bring distinction to the University of Illinois System; enhancing and accelerating our ability to deliver our mission in profound ways. Separate from any other institutional recognition, this award is bestowed solely at the discretion of the president. 


Pandemic response leaders, 2021

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen honored 30 key leaders of the system’s COVID-19 response with the Presidential Medallion, including those behind the development of the SHIELD test-and-trace system, labs and subsequent organizations created to expand its use beyond the system’s universities. Also honored were the leaders of clinical trials for vaccines at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), the first conducted in Chicago, and a mass-vaccination effort at UIC that inoculated hospital staff and patients, students, faculty and tens of thousands of members of the public.

SHIELD, SHIELD Illinois, Shield T3:
Fadi G. Alnaji, Christopher Brooke, Martin D. Burke, Timothy M. Fan, Richard Fredrickson Jr., Nigel D. Goldenfeld, Kelsie J. Green, Paul J. Hergenrother, Robin Holland, William C. Jackson, Harley T. Johnson, Sergei Maslov, John M. Paul, Diana Rose E. Ranoa, Rebecca Smith, William Sullivan, Awais Vaid, Kraig Wagenecht, Jay Walsh, Leyi Wang, Ron Watkins, Laura Wilhelm-Barr, and Abigail Wooldridge.

UIC vaccine clinical trials and UIC/UI Health vaccine deployment:
Kimberly Bertini, Susan Bleasdale, Paul Gorski, Jerry Krishnan, Janet Lin, Richard Novak, and Mary Kate Titus

Shahid Khan, 2013

An entrepreneur and distinguished alumnus whose work and achievements are an example of excellence and the power of education

Myrlie Evers, 2013

A civil rights leader who spent three decades seeking justice for her husband’s assassin and a lifetime promoting racial equality, recognized for her vision, courage, and perseverance

William Daley, 2011

A native of Illinois, chief of staff to President Barack Obama, and former US Secretary of Commerce, recognized for his devotion to public service

Orion Samuelson, 2010

Long-time radio announcer specializing in agriculture and farming and long-time supporter of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at Urbana-Champaign.

Stanley O. Ikenberry, 2008

President Emeritus, University of Illinois

Tuskegee Airmen, 2007

America's first black military airmen during World War II. Those honored include: Harvey R. Alexander, Roy M. Chappell, Ellsworth Dansby, Clifford Davis, Beverly L. Dunjill, Julius Jackson, William Johnson, Hilton M. Joseph, William C. Loving, John H. Lyle, Robert L. Martin, Charles E. McGee, LaVerne Shelton, George Sherman, Quentin P. Smith, Welton I. Taylor, George A. Taylor, William H. Walker, Shelby Westbrook and O. Lawton Wilkerson.

Thomas M. Siebel, 2001

Founder, chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems, Inc., and a major donor to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he earned three degrees

Arthur C. Clarke, 1997

Author who named Urbana as the birthplace of HAL 9000, the on-board computer in the novel and film, "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Yien-Si Tsiang, 1995

Senior adviser and secretary-general to Taiwan's head of state

Monsignor Edward I. Duncan, 1994

Assigned to St. John's Catholic Chapel and the Newman Foundation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Fidel V. Ramos, 1993

Alumnus and president of the Republic of the Philippines

Walter Robb, 1993

Vice president of General Electric

James B. "Scotty" Reston, 1992

Alumnus and veteran New York Times journalist and author

Masaru Ibuka, 1991

Founder and honorary chairman of Sony Corporation

Frederick Seitz, 1990

>Former head of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign physics department and president of Rockefeller University

David W. Grainger, 1989

Friend of the university and generous donor of a professorship, graduate fellowships and labs, later of the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center

Charles I. Young, 1984

Chairman of the capital campaign for the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago

Gold medallion of U of I seal on blue ribbon