Alumni

2017 Alumni Achievement Awards

Five Western Illinois University alumni were selected to receive the WIU Alumni Achievement Award at the Saturday, Dec.16, 2017 Commencement exercises.

This year's Alumni Achievement recipients are Scott D. Clarke, former assistant director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking; John A. Elliott, CEO emeritus of Petermann, LTD; David L. Harlow, acting director, U.S. Marshals Service; Jeffery L. McElroy, attorney, McElroy Law Office; and Frank E. Rodeffer, retired, United States Air Force and senior project manager for Strategic Nuclear C3 Systems at Northrop Grumman. 

Clarke and McElroy will be recognized at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, while Elliott, Harlow and Rodeffer will be recognized at the 1 p.m. ceremony.

Western's Alumni Achievement Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions in two or more of the following: exceptional accomplishment in one’s chosen field of endeavor; exceptional service in community affairs at the local, state or national levels; or exceptional service in support of the advancement and continued excellence of WIU.

View Past Recipients


 Scott D. Clarke

clarkeClarke, a 1981 political science graduate, began his career in Illinois state government after being selected in a nationwide search for the non-partisan Governor's Yearlong Fellowship Program. He served for 35 years in various positions with the Illinois Division of Banking, including more than 20 years as its assistant director. He had responsibility for the regulation of state chartered and foreign banking offices and supervision of the state's bank examiners.

Clarke served on numerous commissions related to the oversight of the financial industry including the Treasury Department's Bank Secrecy Act Committee, where he represented the nation's state banking regulators with respect to regulation of money laundering and anti-terrorism financing. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of State Savings Supervisors and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS). He served as chair of the CSBS Committee which set the accreditation standards of the nation's state banking departments. He served as the chair of the Education Foundation of State Bank Supervisors, a non-profit foundation which oversees training for the nation's state banking regulators.

Clarke is actively involved with the American Red Cross having served in various leadership roles including the chair of the Illinois State Service Council. He is actively involved in disaster response including his recent assignment as the Red Cross representative at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in Washington D.C. during the recent hurricanes. He has been the Red Cross representative on the Illinois Terrorism Task Force since its formation and has chaired several of its committees.

Clarke received numerous awards including the Illinois Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Persons, the American Legion Auxiliary Award for Excellence in Citizenship and the American Red Cross Paragon Award.

While at Western, Clarke was elected as the student member of the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities. He also served as president of the Inter-Hall Council and as a member of various university committees.

John A. Elliott

elliottElliott, a 1965 social studies graduate, began his career as a teacher in the Kankakee School district and later served as a central office administrator. Following a year with the Lockport High School district, he joined KAL Leasing in 1972 and was appointed President in 1974.
KAL was acquired by RYDER System in 1986 and Elliott served as a general manager prior to being named the Senior Vice President of Ryder Student Transportation. That organization was acquired by First Group PLC. In 1999 and was renamed First Student, with Elliott as its President in January 2000. He joined Durham School Services (a division of National Express Group PLC) in late 2000 and was named President and Chief Operating Officer. He added the title of Chief Executive Officer in 2004 as the organization had acquired Stock Transportation in Canada and other student transportation companies throughout the US. In 2010, he was named Interim CEO for National Express Group and served in that capacity for a year and a half. He currently serves as CEO Emeritus of National Express Group.

He served on the Board of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) for more than 20 years. He received the NSTA Hall of Fame Award in 2006. He was named School Bus Fleet Contractor of the Year in 2007. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from National Express Group PLC in 2014. Having served on many local Boards, he has served on the National Board of Canine Companions for Independence since 2001.

David L. Harlow

harlowHarlow, a 1982 law enforcement and justice administration graduate, has served as acting director of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) since July 2015. He was originally selected as deputy director in February 2014, and from 2012 to 2014, Harlow served as the associate director for operations, managing the USMS Operational Directorate, which includes Investigative Operations, Judicial Security, Witness Security, Tactical Operations, Prisoner Operations, and the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System. In May 2012, he was promoted to the senior executive service when he was selected as the assistant director of the Investigative Operations Division (IOD), overseeing the Agency's extensive fugitive investigations mission. Prior to assuming the position, he was the acting deputy assistant director of IOD. Harlow served as chief of the Sex Offender Investigations Branch from 2008 to 2011, overseeing the development and deployment of the Agency's Sex Offender Apprehension Program. He also oversaw the interagency National Sex Offender Targeting Center and developed the USMS Behavioral Analysis Unit to assist with prioritizing and targeting non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders. Before arriving at USMS Headquarters, Harlow was the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal (CDUSM) for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2007 to 2008. Prior to that, he was CDUSM for the Northern District of Ohio, where he served from the time he joined the USMS as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in 1983 until 2007.

Harlow made numerous contributions while assigned to Northern Ohio, including serving as national Commander of Operation FALCON 2007, serving as deputy commander of operation FALCON III, developing Toledo's first cooperative fugitive apprehension team consisting of multiple law enforcement agencies, and overseeing the development of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. Throughout his 30-year Marshals Service career, Harlow has received numerous accolades, including Attorney General's Awards, Director's Awards and several special act and performance awards. He is a board member for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Jeffery L. McElroy

mcelroyMcElroy, a 1997 communication graduate, heads McElroy Law Office, LLC in Yorkville (IL). He graduated from John Marshall Law School in 2003 and entered into practice as an associate at a prominent Joliet law firm, where he focused on real estate, municipal law, traffic law and civil litigation. He has also served an attorney examiner and manager for the commercial and residential title department at Chicago Title Insurance. Prior to practicing law, McElroy worked for more than five years on the executive staff to former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan and as a Dunn Fellow in the Office of the Governor.

He is a former member of the adjunct faculty at North Central College in Naperville, IL. McElroy is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Real Estate Attorneys Association and the American Bar Association.

While at Western, McElroy was a four-year General Assembly Scholarship winner. He was involved with a multitude of student organizations including a term as the president of the University Union Board and student member to the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees. He also served on numerous other University committees. McElroy is a Founding Father of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter on campus.

McElroy served WIU for more than 14 years as a member of the Western Illinois University Alumni Council representing the interests of WIU's more than 135,000 alumni around the world and served in several executive board positions. During his term as vice president, the Alumni Legacy Project was initiated by members of the Alumni Council in an effort to upgrade the existing landscaping at the Alumni House and Phase I of the project was finished. As president from 2013-15, he oversaw Phase II of the renovation project, and the project's completion in the summer of 2015.

In his community, he has been involved as a volunteer soccer coach with the Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department. He and his wife Julie, a 1997 WIU graduate, reside in Yorkville with their two sons.

Frank E. Rodeffer

rodefferRodeffer, a 1961 physics graduate, entered graduate school with the intention of pursuing an MS in guidance and counseling; however, in December 1962, on the verge of being drafted, he joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF), completing Officer Training School as an honor graduate. Following commissioning, Rodeffer attended the Basic Communications Electronics Officer course, graduating in January 1964 as a distinguished graduate, and in November 1967, he attended the Staff Officer Communications Electronics course, graduating in June 1968 as a distinguished graduate. While on active duty in the USAF, Rodeffer served primarily in Strategic Air Command (SAC), with one three-year assignment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With NATO, he initiated and participated in the development of standard installation procedures for NATO communications systems. Throughout his Air Force career, Rodeffer was assigned to bases in Michigan, Guam, Nebraska, The Netherlands, Kansas and North Dakota.

After retiring from the USAF and receiving two Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal and two Air Force Commendation Medals, Rodeffer began working with Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) in Colorado. He put extensive effort into defining nuclear survivability requirements for the MILSTAR terminal resulting in reasonable survivability against the modern threat while keeping the program within cost constraints set by Headquarters USAF. Rodeffer later went to work for Northrop Grumman and retired as a senior project manager in August 2004.

Rodeffer serves as a member of the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association, the Air Force Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Pikes Peak Chapter Association of Air Force Missileers and the American Radio Relay League.

During his years as a student at WIU, Rodeffer was a member of the Physics Club, and while taking the requisite courses for his degree, his specific science interests became more narrowly defined to the radio and electronics aspects of physics. He was hired in 1957 by Dr. A. B. Roberts to repair audio visual equipment while attending WIU, and he was one of a very few qualified projectionists who ran the Friday night movies in Sherman Hall auditorium. Rodeffer subsequently obtained an FCC commercial radio-telephone license and worked as an engineer and eventually, chief engineer, at the WIU FM radio station (then WWKS-FM). He was a charter member of the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Mu Nu Chapter that was formed in 1958 at WIU. During the summers, he worked in various positions at the Boy Scout Camp Pearl near Tennessee, Illinois, and in 1961 and 1962, he was the program director at the summer camp. Frank also served as an assistant scoutmaster and subsequently, as scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 9, sponsored by the WIU Laboratory School.

Over the years, Rodeffer has been supportive of WIU and the Department of Physics, through the various scholarship programs including two endowed scholarships in physics. He has also given substantially to the improvement of the physics laboratories, and was the first individual to step forward to fund a summer internship for the RISE (Research Inspiring Student Excellence) program and two additional scholarships. He has also sponsored high school students for the last three years to participate in the WIU Summer Science Camp.