2014 Honorary Alumni Award
Western Illinois University presented the 2014 Honorary Alumni Award to John Biernbaum, WIU associate vice president for student services, during the annual Town & Gown celebration Sept. 25, hosted by the WIU Alumni Association.
The Honorary Alumni Award is presented to an individual who is not a WIU graduate but who has provided exceptional service to the WIU community.
"JB goes above and beyond for Western Illinois University and the WIU Alumni Association," said Amy Spelman, director of Alumni Programs. "He does an outstanding job within student services, and in addition, what he does outside of his position for WIU and the Macomb communities is what makes him even more deserving of this award. His commitment to Western truly defines the Honorary Alumni Award. We cannot imagine what WIU would be like without John Biernbaum as a part of our community."
In addition to his position in student services, which entails the administration of the University Housing and Dining (UHDS) and residence life operation, Student Development, Campus Recreation, the Harry Mussatto Golf Course and the University Union, Biernbaum works tirelessly to support all other areas of campus and the Macomb community. He is an avid supporter of Leathernecks athletics, including serving as the chair and member for many years of the Purple & Gold Auction Committee and as a member of the Leatherneck Advisory Board. He was instrumental in reviving the campus's live mascot program, which brought Col. Rock III to WIU. Biernbaum was the NFL St. Louis Rams Summer Training Camp liaison at Western for nine years (1996-2004), which brought nearly 200,000 visitors to the WIU and Macomb community.
Biernbaum's support for students, the University and its thousands of alumni is seen daily as he attends numerous University and alumni functions, serving as a volunteer for many of those events, and encouraging others to attend. He has been a significant financial supporter to WIU over the years, giving to athletics, the College of Fine Arts and Communication's Rocky on Parade program and the Performing Arts Society, UHDS, scholarships, the Civil Service Employees fund, Alumni Programs and many more.
In the community, he is a member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of McDonough and Warren counties, serves on the McDonough County Humane Society Board and on the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Board, to name a few. Professionally, Biernbaum is a member of the Association of College & University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), GLACUHO (Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers), NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; and the American College Personnel Association.
He earned his bachelor's degree in political science and his master's degree in guidance and counseling at Eastern Illinois University.
This is the 19th year for the WIU Honorary Alumni Award presentation. Previous recipients were Dan O'Neill (2013); Lisa Ward (2012); Al Goldfarb (2011); Gil Belles (2010); Marion Blackinton (2010); Bob Anstine (2009); Jack Stites (2008); Bill Brattain (2007), Marilyn Johnson (2005); Donald Dexter (2004); Mark Martin (2003); Mel and Judy Kerr (2002); Charlene Callison (2001); Ed Holzwarth (2000); Donald S. Spencer (1999); Laura Kent Donahue (1998); Cathy Early (1997); Dick Miller (1995) and Dennis Iversen (1994).