The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation will celebrate the accomplishments of five local public high school alumni on Saturday March 30 during the CUSF Alumni Recognition Gala at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Awards will be presented to Distinguished Alumni from each high school, as well as the Local Hero and Local Business Community Impact Honorees. The 2019 Distinguished Alumni honorees are Jennifer Lewis Dillavou, Centennial High School class of 1977; Matthew Allender, Central High School class of 1996; and Chung Hun Lee, Urbana High School class of 1969.
Jennifer Lewis Dillavou, a 1977 graduate of Centennial High School, has had a successful career in higher education and administration culminating in her most recent appointment as President of the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance and Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations—where she first began her career in higher education in 1983. As the first woman to hold a permanent president position with the University of Illinois Alumni Association, Jennifer built her career in development and alumni relations at numerous institutions including: Kalamazoo College, Nazareth College, Georgia State, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, and most recently Ohio University, where she spent 5 years as the Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations; and Executive Director of the Ohio Alumni Association.
Matthew Allender, a 1996 graduate of Central High School says he always wanted to be veterinarian. His desire to be a zoo veterinarian came out of a zookeeper internship at the Brookfield Zoo during his undergrad years at the University of Illinois. Dr. Allender attended kindergarten through vet school in Champaign and currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. His interests include zoo and wildlife populations with a special focus on researching the health and diseases of box turtles. He currently teaches, performs research and provides clinical service for free-ranging and captive wildlife at regional zoos.
Chung Hun Lee, a native of Seoul Korea, emigrated from Korea with his family to escape political oppression. Judge Lee graduated from Urbana High School in 1969 and attended the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri, and the Atlanta Law School, where he became the first Korean-American attorney to practice law in the state of Georgia in 1983. He worked his way through the judicial branches of the Georgia state court system and was admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit where he currently serves as the Associate Judge, Municipal Court of Duluth, in Duluth Georgia. An avid golfer and martial arts enthusiast, Judge Lee has numerous recognitions for his work with the Korean community and with raising funds for humanitarian efforts throughout his lifetime.
Betsy Hendrick, a 1957 Champaign High School (Central) graduate will be recognized with the 2019 Local Hero Award, which celebrates an individual who has willingly volunteered time and effort to benefit the local community. Betsy has been a leader, sharing her vision and support for the CU community and the University of Illinois, for more than 4 decades. Betsy left Urbana in the 70’s for Chicago but returned to help build the Hendrick House family business and give back to her community in many special ways. Her nominator shares that “Betsy Hendrick is one of those leaders whose passions create partnerships that help to build and sustain a community vision. Her friendship with the late Roger Ebert and later Roger’s wife Chaz, led her to be a key proponent of the Roger Ebert Film Festival. She is also an active member of Urbana Rotary leading countless service and volunteer projects throughout her career.”
Seon Williams, a 1987 Urbana High School graduate, will receive the Local Business Community Impact Award, which recognizes local business owners who graduated from Champaign Unit 4 or Urbana School District 116 high schools; and have demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy, service, volunteerism and support. Seon left the community for a military career, but then returned to help build three vibrant business connections for the North End community in CU. Besides running; The Whip Hair Design, Williams Memorial Services and Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance, Seon dedicates hours of volunteer time to his church, mentoring local youth, hosting a local radio program, and building community connections that bring people together.
The 2019 CUSF Distinguished Alumni Recognition Gala will be on Saturday, March 30 at 6:00 pm at the I Hotel and Conference Center and is open to the public with advance ticket purchases. For tickets or for additional information, visit CUSchoolsFoundation.org or call 217-398-2873. Proceeds from ticket sales support the mission of CUSF, which is to elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools by investing in educators and students.