Four community members recognized by Foundation

By Rich Bruen

The NIU Foundation formally honored four members of the local community for their long-term commitment to community service.

Donald Kieso, Jerry Smith, Lucille Aikens and Kenneth Beasley were honored at the foundation’s annual meeting on Sept. 30 and received humanitarian awards in one of four service categories.

According to Richard Ubl, executive director of the NIU Foundation, the four categories included service to education, service to the university, service to the community and service to the NIU Foundation.

“Service to the community is pretty much what it (the awards) is about,” Ubl said. “It can extend beyond the community but we like to keep it local.”

“It’s an excellent way to honor community service,” he said.

According to Ubl, this year marked the 21st year the awards have been given out.

Kieso, the recipient of the service to education award, was an NIU accounting professor until his retirement this summer.

He has served higher education on the accounting accreditation committee of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, the Illinois CPA Society and the Federation of Schools of Accountancy.

Smith, who received the service to the university award, is a 1966 NIU graduate who, as a student, worked at The Northern Star, the yearbook and the university radio station.

Since his graduation, Smith has been involved in various campus organizations including the NIU Foundation, the NIU Alumni Association, the NIU Athletic Board and the Huskie Athletic Association.

Smith is currently the president of Castle Communications in DeKalb.

I feel very privileged to be an alumni and to be so close to the university to be able to do so much on campus,” Smith said.

Aikens, community service award winner, has been involved in numerous community programs.

She was a founding member of the Stage Coach Players in DeKalb and has served organizations such as Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre, the Children’s Community Theatre, the DeKalb Landmarks Commission and the DeKalb Historical-Genealogical Society.

Aikens is a former teacher in the Sycamore public schools and the widow of former NIU History Professor Harold Aikens who received the same award in 1976.

Beasley, the winner of the service to the NIU Foundation award, came to NIU in 1964 as an associate professor of education. He then served as the director of University Research, associate dean of the graduate school and the presidential assistant before leaving NIU in September.

Beasley served on the NIU Foundation for 20 of his 28 years at the university. Currently, Beasley is the director of sponsored programs at Butler University in Indiana.