October 5, 2022 at 2:30pm

Millikin University is pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2022 Alumni Awards, along with the recipient of the 2022 Faculty/Staff Recognition Award. The recipients will be honored at an awards dinner held Friday, Oct. 7, during Millikin’s Homecoming Celebration.

The awardees include:

  • Phillip Lopez ’16, Young Alumnus Award
  • Karen Maurer Krows ’68, Loyalty Award
  • Dr. Thomas Mahoney ’90, Merit Award
  • Phillip Blankenburg ’62, Merit-Loyalty Award
  • Professor Denise Myers, Faculty/Staff Recognition Award
  • Dr. C. Kimm Hollis ’72, Alumnus of the Year

Phillip Lopez of Avon, Ill., a 2016 Millikin graduate, is recipient of the Young Alumnus Award, which recognizes alumni 35 years or younger who have made notable achievements in their chosen fields and/or given faithful service to Millikin. A rising vocal artist and teacher, Lopez has performed new and established music with opera theatres, opera companies and symphonic organizations throughout the U.S., including his current position as a bass-baritone studio artist for the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. He has been recognized with several awards, including the 2019 Horatio Parker Memorial Scholarship awarded by the Yale School of Music. Lopez earned his Millikin bachelor’s degree in vocal performance before completing two master’s degrees – one in opera performance from Wichita State University and a second in opera from Yale University.

Karen Krows of Forsyth, Ill., Class of 1968, is recipient of the 2022 Loyalty Award, which recognizes long and faithful service to the University. Krows earned her Millikin degree in elementary education, her master’s degree as a reading specialist from Illinois State University and taught for Decatur Public Schools for 34 years before retiring. She has supported Millikin as a volunteer, donor and champion in several ways, including serving on Millikin’s Alumni Board and as a class agent, general and event volunteer, and phonathon caller.

Dr. Thomas Mahoney, of Oregon, Ill., is recipient of the 2022 Merit Award, which recognizes those who have excelled in their profession in such a way to reflect credit upon themselves and Millikin. A 1990 Millikin graduate in mathematics secondary teaching, Mahoney is a leader in education. He serves as superintendent of schools for the Oregon (Ill.) School District, and he is a recognized state and national speaker on educational leadership. He earned his master’s degree in education administration from Loyola University Chicago and his doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Western Illinois University. Mahoney supports his alma mater in many ways, including founding an annual Education Boot Camp on campus where alumni in education offer job-seeking training for Millikin education students.

Phillip Blankenburg of Monticello, Ill., is recipient of the 2022 Merit-Loyalty Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated great loyalty and dedication to Millikin and distinguished themselves in their professions. A 1962 graduate who studied economics, Blankenburg has led a successful investment career, much of it served at the Champaign, Ill., office of A.G. Edwards, where he retired as vice president in 2006. Among his many leadership roles in Central Illinois, Blankenburg was an active member of Millikin’s Board of Trustees for nearly 15 years, where he led several pivotal committees responsible for advancing the university.

Denise Myers of Decatur, professor in Millikin’s School of Theatre and Dance, is recipient of the 2022 Faculty/Staff Award, which recognizes a Millikin employee who has demonstrated exceptional investment and care for the academic, professional and personal well-being of students and alumni. Denise began teaching at Millikin in 1991 and teaches courses in acting and directs mainstage productions as well as Theatre for Young Audiences. She was chosen by her colleagues to be Millikin’s 2004 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer and deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Honors Convocation. She has twice received the Alpha Lambda Delta Teacher of the Year Award (1995, 2020).

Dr. C. Kimm Hollis of Madison, Ind., is the recipient of the 2022 Alumnus of the Year award, the university’s highest honor for an alumnus. A 1972 Millikin graduate and professor of music and artist in residence emeritus at Hanover College, Hollis has dedicated his life to music education, performance and support. At Hanover, where he served on the faculty for 41 years, his career included teaching, performance and academic achievements, including serving as music department chair for 33 years. Inspired by Millikin Piano Professor Margaret Peterson as a student, Kimm earned his Millikin bachelor’s degree in applied music before completing a master’s degree in music at the University of Illinois and his doctorate and performance certificate at Ball State University.

Hollis is a longtime and faithful supporter of Millikin’s School of Music and its students, for which he was previously recognized with the 2000 Alumni Loyalty Award. Among his commitments to his alma mater:

  • Founded and funds the Millikin Hollis Prize music competition, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022. This unique undergraduate music competition features a recital performance format and a rigorous audition process.
  • Initiated and supported a “Kickstart Challenge” to fund state-of-the-art technology and renovations for Millikin’s Kaeuper Hall.
  • Sponsored enhancements to other areas in the School of Music building, including four areas named in honor of the Hollis family.

For more information about each Alumni Award recipient, visit https://millikin.edu/alumni-friends/events/homecoming/award-recipients.