CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. — The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) is encouraging people to submit nominations for three public school alumni awards.

Categories include the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Local Hero Award, and the Local Business Community Impact Award.  

CUSF will not host an in-person gala in 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions. Awardees will be featured in print and social media, with individual videos hosted on the CUSF website in spring 2021.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates of Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana District 116 public high schools — such as the Centennial, Central, and Urbana high schools — whose achievements, strengths of character, and citizenship exemplify inspiration and challenge in today’s youth.

Distinguished Alumni honorees may be nominated by fellow professionals, friends, family, or local residents. Nominees must have graduated in 2010 or earlier, and demonstrate exceptional contributions to society. 

Since 2003, this award given to 56 local graduates, like journalists Roger Ebert and Bill Geist, Olympians Bonnie Blair and Nancy Thies Marshall, artist and sculptor John David Mooney, and trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater.

The Local Hero Award recognizes graduates who’ve committed themselves to helping the community through their work and/or volunteer efforts.

The Local Business Community Impact Award recognizes business owners with businesses located within District 116 or Unit 4 boundaries who are also alumni of either school districts.

“Award recipients will have demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy, service, and community support, with a particular emphasis on employing local high school graduates.”

Online nomination forms can be found here or via request by calling the CUSF office at 217 398-2873. 

Paper nominations should be mailed to CUSF, P.O. Box 1166, Champaign, IL  61824-1166. 

The deadline for all nominations is December 15, 2020.