Awards & Honors

Alumni who have been outstanding in their professional field and provided service to the community may be honored through the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Previous Award Winners

2020 Awards & Honors

Elgin Community College Distinguished Alumni Award

This award recognizes the success of a graduate who has completed a recognized program of instruction at ECC and who has gone on to have outstanding success and distinction in his or her chosen field, displayed humanitarian service, and continued to support the mission of community colleges.


Portrait of Linda Deering Dean

Linda Deering Dean

Watch Linda's story.

Linda Deering Dean has achieved outstanding success in the field of healthcare leadership. With over 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Linda most recently served as President and CEO of Advocate Sherman Hospital. Through her exemplary leadership and passion for change, Linda increased patient, physician, and employee satisfaction while decreasing employee turnover during a time of financial challenges, downsizing, building a new replacement hospital, and joining a major health system.

Before her work at Sherman, Linda served as the Vice President for Patient Services and Chief Nurse at Delnor-Community Hospital, where she led their outcomes to top tier performance. During her tenure, both Delnor and Advocate Sherman Hospital received the prestigious Magnet Designation awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.   

Linda aspired to be a nurse at a young age and began her journey at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she earned a nursing diploma. She earned an Associate in Arts and Science degree at Elgin Community College and then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in nursing at Northern Illinois University. While working as a full-time nurse, wife, and mother, she quickly learned the value of community college support to advance her education and achieve her professional dreams.

Elgin Community College Friend of Education Award

The Elgin Community College Board of Trustees, bestows this award in recognition of the exceptional support and partnership provided by an individual, a business, an institution or a corporation within District 509 that has greatly advanced the college in terms of growth, educational quality, workforce development or other key areas.


Portrait of Robert Malm

Robert Malm

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Following four and a half years as a U.S. Naval Officer during the Vietnam War, Bob Malm started his career as an intern in the Elgin city manager's office in the late 1960's. He worked his way up to assistant city manager and chief operating officer until retiring in 1998. During that time, he served as interim city manager on four separate occasions. Malm holds a master's degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University. Malm joined the Elgin Area Chamber in 2004 as director of the chamber's Challenge 21 Campaign, a public/private partnership committed to creating a more vibrant, diverse, and prosperous community. The campaign's success led to the Elgin Development Group, a division of the Elgin Area Chamber, delivering economic development services to the community through a Purchase of Service Agreement with Elgin's City. Malm received the United Way of Elgin Willis A. Reed Humanitarian Award and is active with the Shepard of the Prairie Lutheran Church, Citizens for Council-Manager Government, Elgin Area Leadership Academy, and has served as head of several local civic organizations. He volunteers with the Alignment Collaborative for Education as chair of the Educational Pathways A-Team.

Exceptional Friend of the Foundation

Each year, the Elgin Community College Foundation recognizes an individual, a business, or an organization that exemplifies the spirit of giving that propels the Foundation and the college toward a promising tomorrow.


Portrait of Adrienne Butler

Adrienne Butler

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Adrienne Butler was born in a small town in central Massachusetts and lived there until she attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduating from medical school at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, she spent the next three years in post-graduate training in Boston and San Francisco. She decided to become an oncologist and spent two more years in San Francisco training to be an oncologist. After becoming a specialist, she moved to Rockford, Illinois, and joined an oncology practice. Butler eventually became a hospice physician—her true calling. But she had always wondered what it would be like to be an attorney, so she earned a degree from Loyola University Law School.

Medicine was her true love, so she returned to hospice work, traveling around Chicago, seeing home patients. Butler was married to Dr. William Pelz, European history and political science professor, and the couple had two boys. Bill died unexpectedly in December 2017. Butler describes her late husband as a gifted writer of numerous books, a respected teacher who loved his students, and an excellent travel companion. In Bill's honor, Adrienne donated a portion of his estate to Elgin Community College, where he had taught for nearly 20 years. The Bill Pelz Memorial Scholarship is now awarded annually to first-generation students in history and political science. Adrienne and Bill had been the first in their families to attend college, so she knew that Bill would have wanted her to support students in this way. Adrienne enjoys helping students attend ECC, the college where Bill spent so many happy and productive years.

Lasting Impact Awards

Dr. Sam established the President’s Lasting Impact Award in 2010 to recognize outstanding leadership and service by a District 509 citizen whose actions, over a long period of time, have positively impacted the community as a whole and strengthened the mission and shared values of Elgin Community College, in particular.


Portrait of Ed Hunter

Ed Hunter

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Elgin native Ed Hunter is a retired Lutheran minister. He served as the Mission Officer and Head Chaplain at Amita Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin and Mercy Medical Center in Aurora. Ed has been a board-certified Catholic chaplain since 1982 serving various positions in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. In its changing formats for 31 years, he served Amita Health as a representative on the regional executive team and member of the organization's Mission Services Leadership Team. As a leader, Ed developed and maintained the Mission and Spiritual Care program for 974 associates at Mercy Medical Center and 874 associates at Saint Joseph Hospital.

After a year of formal retirement, he rejoined the hospital's spiritual care staff as a registry-part time Chaplain. Ed continues to serve and be involved in the community. He is a volunteer chaplain for the Elgin Fire Department and Elgin Police Department. He serves on boards for non-profit agencies in the county, including Kane County Health Department, Greater Elgin Family Care Center, Hands of Hope, and Family Service Association of Elgin. Hunter is a member of the domestic violence task force for the Community Crisis Center, Salvation Army Advisory Board in Elgin, Hesed House in Aurora, and serves on the Eversight Eye Bank advisory committee. Ed is also a member of the Northern Illinois Critical Incident Debriefing team since 1991. He has been a member of the Coalition for Elgin Religious Leaders for the past 33 years.


Portrait of Mike Shales

Mike Shales

Watch Mike's story.

"Michael G. Shales was born and raised in Elgin. He graduated from Larkin High School in 1973 and Western Illinois University in 1978 with an accounting degree. Mike passed the CPA exam in November 1978 while working for Elgin based CPA firm Mueller, Sieracki, Kahn, Miller, and Co.

Mike met his wife Petrecia while taking computer classes at ECC in early 1980. He had two jobs after the Elgin CPA firm before joining Seagren/Shales, Inc. in 1991; an Elgin construction company co-founded by his father in 1983. In 2000 Seagren/Shales, Inc. was dissolved. In 2001 Mike co-founded Elgin contractor Shales McNutt, LLC, and his father, brother John M. Shales, and friend John R. McNutt. He works at Shales McNutt to this day, although he plans to retire in 2021. Mike's parents, Jack and Marlene Shales, were very involved in the Elgin community and passed this love to their children. They were extremely proud of Elgin and were always looking for ways to make it better. They had been involved in Elgin Community College over the years because they recognized a huge asset in making our area a better place to live and work. They would be proud to know that ECC has recognized Mike and that their legacy continues.

Over the years, Mike's civic involvement has included many organizations, including Elgin Community College Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, Sherman Hospital Foundation, and United Way of Elgin.


Previous Award Winners