Northeastern Illinois University takes great pride in the success of its alumni. Each year, the NEIU community and the NEIU Alumni Association recognize outstanding alumni at the Golden Gala and Alumni Awards Ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 16, with five prestigious alumni awards. Notable alumni are recognized for the high level of excellence in their work, service or leadership activities. See award descriptions below.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, fall events may need to be fully virtual or have a virtual component.
Distinguished Alumnus Award
The Northeastern Illinois University Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest alumni honor the University bestows. It recognizes a particular achievement of note, a series of such achievements or a career of outstanding accomplishment. Since the award's inception in 2005, Northeastern has recognized alumni who have distinguished themselves as preeminent in their fields, excelling in their vocations and avocations.
*The Distinguished Alumnus Awardee will also be expected to bring remarks to the December 2021 graduates during the December Commencement ceremony.
Alumni Service Award
The Alumni Service Award is given for outstanding service to the University. The award recognizes the achievements of individuals working on behalf of the University though service in alumni programs, on advocacy committees, and through efforts made to ensure the welfare of the institution.
Community Leadership Award
The Community Leadership Award honors an outstanding alumnus or alumna who has fulfilled the obligations of his or her education through distinguished leadership and service to his or her community or fellow man beyond what is required by his or her job or profession.
Outstanding GOLD Alumni Award
The GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Alumni award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who graduated within the last ten years and has excelled in his or her chosen profession. Each year, honorees offer inspiration and encouragement as models for principled leadership and a commitment to serving others. In addition, the GOLD Alumni Award serves as an opportunity for the University community to recognize the tremendous accomplishments of alumni who have achieved notable success quickly following graduation.
Future Alumni Leader Award
The Future Alumni Leader Award is presented to current students who are recognized by the University community as demonstrating exceptional service. The Future Alumni Leader Award was established to give campus divisions, academic departments and colleges the opportunity to recognize one student for outstanding service to Northeastern Illinois University and who demonstrates potential as an alumni leader. This award is based on the premise that students who are highly involved in service efforts will continue their commitment to service after graduation and will become alumni leaders.
Note: With the exception of the Future Alumni Leader Award, all nominees must have graduated from Northeastern Illinois University to be considered. All recipients are selected by the Northeastern Illinois University president and the NEIU Alumni Association.