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Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes significant achievement in the fields of philanthropic research, practice, and academic study.

This recognition exists to showcase the diverse talent trained by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and its predecessor, the Center on Philanthropy, whereas an alumnus of the school is defined as a graduate from a degree or fellowship program administered by the school at any level since 1987.

See our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
Jane Chu
Michael Zimmerman

Reflections of a master’s degree in philanthropy

Michael Zimmerman, M.A.'21

Michael’s story
Erin Wuertz, B.A.’18

Living the dream

Erin Wuertz, B.A.’18

Erin’s story
Kelsey Harrington

Making her passion her profession

Kelsey Harrington, B.A.’19

Kelsey’s story
Abby Rolland

Earning a master’s: My journey of discovery

Abby Rolland, M.A.'20

Abby’s story
Tee shirt that says improving philanthropy to improve the world

Nine charitable subsectors, nine alumni, and nine responses to COVID-19

Nine alumni

View the story
Josh Moore

Opportunities abound: How to make the most of your degree

Josh Moore, M.A.’17

Josh’s story
Matthew Ehlman

Philanthropy in America: Rural, empowering, collaborative

Matthew Ehlman, Ph.D.'18

Matthew’s story
Marina Tan Harper

‘Tremendous, transformative experience’

Marina Tan Harper, Ph.D.'19

Marina’s story
Hannah Saeger Karnei

‘Different, more, better’: Driving philanthropy forward

Hannah Saeger Karnei, M.A.'19

Hannah’s story
Bryan Roesler, M.A./M.P.A.'09 and Ashleigh Graves-Roesler, M.A.'09

Redefining a career through service

Bryan Roesler, M.A./M.P.A.'09 and Ashleigh Graves-Roesler, M.A.'09

Bryan’s story
Angela Logan

Empowering communities in need

Angela Logan, Ph.D.'14

Angela’s story
Smita Vadakekalam

Embracing a rich and broad definition of philanthropy

Smita Vadakekalam, M.A.'01

Smita’s story
Kelly Mitchell

‘Studying philanthropy gives you the tools to serve in multiple ways’

Kelly Mitchell, M.A.'10

Kelly’s story
Brad Milius

Fostering a culture of philanthropy

Brad Milius, M.A./M.P.A.'11

Brad’s story
Joshua Humbert

One alum’s outlook on philanthropy, diversity, and social capital

Joshua Humbert, M.A.'15

Joshua’s story
Derrick Feldmann, M.A. ’04

Alumnus is discovering who’s influencing young adults today

Derrick Feldmann, M.A.’04

Derrick’s story
JoAnna Ness, M.A. ’18

Conducting a community foundation’s communications

JoAnna Ness, M.A.’18

JooAnna’s story
Andrew Thomas

Serving the city, serving the country, serving the world

Andrew Thomas, B.A.’18

Andrew’s story
Kayla Plummer, B.A. ’18

‘If you want to help people, this is the best place to be’

Kayla Plummer, B.A.’18

Kayla’s story
Melynne Klaus

‘Find your passion, work hard, and set high goals’

Melynne Klaus, M.A./M.P.A.’03

Melynne’s story
Kyla McEntire

Master’s alumna applies practical knowledge to fundraising career

Kyla McEntire, M.A.'15

Kyla’s story
Eric Richards

From politics to philanthropy: the making of a master’s alum

Eric Richards, M.A.'05

Eric’s story
Shariq Siddiqui, J.D., Ph.D. '14

Making the moment count

Shariq Siddiqui, J.D., Ph.D.'14

Shariq’s story
Maarten Bout

A thesis + a change in mind = whole new fundraising insights

Maarten Bout, M.A.'18

Maarten’s story
Le Yang

Making a mark with a master’s degree

Le Yang, M.A.'16

Le’s story
Robert Harris

Challenge accepted

Robert Harris, M.A. '16

Robert’s story
Coretta McAllister, B.A. '15

Soldier-philanthropist spreads love and service

Coretta McAllister, B.A. '15

Coretta’s story
Julia Kathary

‘It just clicked in my soul’

Julia Kathary, M.A. ’08

Julia’s story
Kathi Badertscher

Hooked on the mission

Kathi Badertscher, M.A. '10, Ph.D. '15

Kathi’s story
Raquel Marti

‘If I can help someone, I will’

Raquel Marti, M.A. ’99

Raquel’s story
Ashleigh Graves-Roesler

Building civil society in Ukraine

Ashleigh Graves-Roesler, M.A. '09

Ashleigh’s story
Marissa Nielsen

‘Exactly where you need to be’

Marissa Nielsen, M.A. ’16

Marissa’s story
Diane Thomas

Discovering Ukraine

Diane Thomas, M.A. ’09

Diane’s story