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NIU recognizes distinguished alumni, faculty, staff

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 10:28 a.m. CST

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University has selected 11 winners of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni, Faculty and Staff Awards. The awards celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of outstanding people in each category.

Five of the 11 winners – W. Elwood Briles, Sanford J. Dean, Andy Small, Ging Smith and Lois S. Self – reside in DeKalb County. The remaining winners are alumni John A. Cline, Todd F. Davis, Srisompob Jitpiromsri, Arthur Jongsma and Thomas J. Schall and chemistry research professor emeritus James E. Erman.

• W. Elwood Briles was selected in the faculty category. He is a professor emeritus in the department of biological sciences. Through his research, Briles identified relationships between blood types and other characteristics of chickens, and identified blood types in a variety of other bird species. He has authored or co-authored more than 210 publications and has received a number of prestigious accolades for his work in avian genetics.

• Sanford J. “Sandy” Dean was selected in the faculty category. He is former chair and professor emeritus in the department of psychology. Dean laid the foundation for the department. He also developed and promoted practices to ensure quality, objective evaluations of dissertations and classes. The best practices he developed resonate throughout the university today.

• Andy Small received the award in the staff category. Small is the chemistry lab manager in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. Small’s “Safety Procedures Manual” for the department has seen 22 editions and is cited as a model of best practices. He is active on several boards and councils in the university system and has served local organizations.

• Apagita “Ging” Palma Smith was selected in the alumni category. She completed her master’s degree in journalism at NIU in 1973. She spent more than 20 years as a journalism and writing professor at Kishwaukee College, including serving as head of her department and as dean of development and college relations. Both the student newspaper and literary journal won industry recognition during her time as adviser. After retiring, she joined the NIU Foundation and played a key role in helping the Friends of NIU Libraries Endowment Fund to triple in four years. She has been involved in many key community groups, often holding leadership roles.

• Lois Self was selected in the faculty category. She is the former chair and professor emeritus in both the department of communication and the women’s studies program. Self has co-authored a textbook on multicultural communication, published scholarly articles and presented at dozens of conferences. She coordinated the university’s oral communication skills program for educationally disadvantaged students and spent nine years as director of women’s studies. Her development and expansion of that program led to her appointment as the first chair for the Provost’s Task Force on Multicultural Curriculum Transformation. As chair of the department of communication, Self united the communication and journalism departments into one of the largest, most diverse departments on campus.

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