University of Illinois Political Science alumni have made significant contributions in many fields – academia, the law, government, politics, business, media and others. The Department of Political Science recognizes exceptional alumni each year through its alumni awards program. The nomination process is simple and open to all. We encourage you to nominate a candidate you think is deserving in one of the following categories.

The Nomination Process

A nomination should consist of a letter outlining the reasons the submitter thinks the nominee is a good candidate and an outline of the nominee’s professional accomplishments. The nomination may include details about the nominee's career, recognitions or honors, publications, civic and philanthropic activities and any other germane information. Extensive supporting materials are encouraged. All nominations will be kept strictly confidential.

The nominating period starts May 1. Deadline for receiving nominations is October 15th. Anyone may submit a nomination for an alumni award. Nominations are reviewed by a selection committee made up of members of the Alumni Board of Visitors and department staff. Winners are chosen by the Board of Visitors. Current members of the department, staff and Board of Visitors are not eligible for awards.

Awards will be presented at an Alumni Awards Banquet in April each year. Awards will be presented to recipients who are able to attend the ceremony.

You may submit a nomination and supporting materials online, by email or by mail:


The Awards

Alumni Achievement Award

The Achievement Award honors alumni who have a record of outstanding professional accomplishment during their careers that demonstrates the value of their degrees from the Department of Political Science and the University of Illinois.

2024: Šumit Ganguly
2023: Chapin Rose
2020: Susan Welch
2019: Robert Doubek

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award honors Political Science alumni under age 40 who have shown significant achievement early in their careers.


2024: vacant
2023: David Adeleye     
2020: Brian Clark

2019: Nicholas Harrer

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award may be given to a person who has helped advance the interests of the Department of Political Science, its students or alumni. The recipient need not be a graduate of the department. The award is made at the discretion of the selection committee and not necessarily given annually.

2024: B. Oliver Walter
2023: Vacant
2020: Robert Kustra

2019: Bob Byars