The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) is encouraging community members to submit nominations for three public school alumni awards to be presented on April 14 at the 2018 CUSF Gala. The three different awards are:  the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Local Hero Award and the Local Business Community Impact Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates of Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana District 116 high schools, including Champaign Centennial High School, Champaign Central High School and Urbana High School, whose achievements, strength of character, and citizenship serve as models to inspire and challenge today’s youth. Distinguished Alumni honorees may be nominated by fellow professionals, friends, family, or local citizens. Nominees must have graduated from a Champaign Unit 4 or Urbana District 116 public high school in 2008 or earlier, and demonstrate exceptional contributions to our society.  Since 2003, this award has been presented to 20 local graduates including journalists Roger Ebert and Bill Geist, Olympians Bonnie Blair and Nancy Thies Marshall, artist and sculptor John David Mooney, and lawyer J. Steven Beckett. A complete list of honorees can be found HERE.

The Local Hero Award celebrates an individual who willingly volunteers time and effort to benefit the local community.  The honoree must be a graduate of Urbana District 116 or Champaign Unit 4 high schools and live within either of the districts’ boundaries.

The Local Business Community Impact Award recognizes local business owners (with the business located in District 116 or Unit 4 boundaries) who graduated from Champaign Unit 4 or Urbana School District 116 high schools. Award recipients will have demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy, service, volunteerism and support, with a particular emphasis on employing local high school graduates.

Nomination forms are available on the CU Schools Foundation web site, or can be requested by calling the CUSF office at (217) 398-2873. Nominations should be mailed to CUSF, P.O. Box 1166, Champaign, IL  61824-1166 or emailed to  The deadline for nominations for the three awards is January 12, 2018.