University News

WIU Fall 2008 Alumni Achievement Awards

November 18, 2008


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MACOMB, IL - - Six Western Illinois University alumni have been selected to receive the WIU Alumni Achievement Award at the Saturday, Dec. 20 Commencement Exercises.

This year's recipients are Matthew D. Miller, president of Rally Appraisal LLC, Bettendorf, (IA); Col. Lois Beard, Brigade Commander the U.S. Army's 42nd Military Police Brigade (MPB), Ft. Lewis, (WA); Tamara Harris, instructional technologist/learning specialist for IBM Learning Development in Atlanta, (GA), and founder of Selene's Sensations bakery; Nancy Brattain Rogers, professor and director of the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, (IN); Bart Rogers, chief administrative officer of the US Cellular Coliseum, Bloomington, (IL); and Joseph "Skip" Begley, chair of the Hinsdale (IL) Central High School Department of Physical Education.

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

Miller, Beard and Harris will be recognized at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, while Nancy Brattain Rogers, Bart Rogers and Begley will be recognized at the 1 p.m. ceremony.

Miller, a 1992 history graduate, certified real estate appraiser in Iowa and Illinois and designated member of the Appraisal Institute-SRA (2007), has been president and CEO of Rally Appraisal LLC since 2005. He began his career as an associate appraiser in the Quad Cities location of Hayes Appraisal Associates, Inc., headquartered in Des Moines, (IA), in 1993. In 1997 he co-founded Miller-Hayes LLC of Illinois and in 2002 merged this company with Hayes Appraisal of Iowa. From 2002-2005, he was president of Illinois operations and chief financial officer (CFO) of Hayes Appraisal Associates, Inc. (renamed Rally Appraisal in 2006). Currently, his company spans five states and encompasses a staff of approximately 100 employees, many of whom are WIU graduates. Miller, a 2007 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Western's history department, frequently serves as presenter and guest lecturer for his alma mater, including as the keynote speaker for Economics Day 2006, and for finance classes as well Greek organizations Rho Epsilon and Delta Sigma Pi. In addition, Miller supports Western financially through contributions to the men's golf program for scholarships and to several other areas of campus.

Beard, a 1976 political science graduate was voluntarily recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army in 2008—after being retired from active duty since 1999—in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In her current position as commander of the 42nd MBP (Provisional) and director of emergency services at Ft. Lewis, she oversees nearly 2,400 military and civilian employees. Beard was on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1976-1999 and served in multiple staff and command assignments worldwide, including public affairs adviser to the Secretary of the Army, command of the 95th Military Police Battalion in Germany, and command of the 1st Military Police Brigade, at Fort Lewis. She is a combat veteran of multiple contingency operations including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf and Operation Joint Endeavor conducted in Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia. Her awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Bronze Star Medal. She earned a master's degree from Boston University in 1983 and is a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Army War College. Prior to her recall to active duty, Beard was on the staff of a private school in Tacoma, WA, and served as chief of staff of a public policy organization in Olympia, WA.

Harris, a 1992 information systems graduate, has worked as an instructional technology expert for IBM since 2006, evaluating more than 500 web-based and instructor-led courses developed by instructional designers and implementing internal training initiatives, among other duties. Before joining IBM, Harris, who holds a Master of Science in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University-Bloomington, worked as a human performance consultant for Accenture in Atlanta; technology trainer and later IT support technician and instructional technologist for Bell Industries Systems Integration Group in Indianapolis, (IN); and a business systems specialist for The Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, (IA). In 2002, she launched Selene's Sensations LLC, a bakery offering low-sugar desserts and breads to individuals and commercial clients throughout the U.S. In addition to her professional and entrepreneurial responsibilities, Harris is an active volunteer with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Atlanta-based Center for the Visually Impaired. Harris was named a WIU College of Business and Technology Executive in Residence in 2007 and currently serves on the College's Alumni Advisory Board.

Brattain Rogers, a 1986 recreation, park and tourism administration (RPTA) graduate, is an authority in the fields of leisure and aging as well as community engagement and serving-learning. Brattain Rogers, who holds a master's degree in recreation administration (1987) and Ph.D. in leisure behavior (1995) from Indiana University, has co-authored four books and more than two dozen scholarly publications, and delivered more than 50 papers through the U.S. and U.K. In addition to her role as professor in Indiana State's recreation and sport management department, director of its Center for Public Service and Community Engagement and leader of the campus-based American Humanics program, she facilitates faculty members' integration of serving-learning, internships and other types of community-based learning and develops campus-wide student volunteerism and public service. She has received the Indiana State University President's Medal and departmental Garrett G. Eppley Distinguished Alumni Award. Through her leadership, Indiana State has become nationally recognized for community engagement and service learning. During her time at Western, Brattain Rogers was a member of Sigma Kappa, University Union Board and other organizations.

Bart Rogers—a native of Hamilton, (IL), and 1992 recreation, parks and tourism administration graduate—serves as chief administrative officer for Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) and the US Cellular Coliseum as well as general manager of the Bloomington Extreme, part of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Prior to his role with CIAM and the Coliseum, he was President/CEO of the Peoria Rivermen Hockey Club, for whom he began working in 1992. As CEO of the Rivermen, Rogers was a 2008 Finalist for the AAA American Hockey League's (AHL) James C. Hendy Award as the outstanding executive in the AHL. In addition, Rogers received the Marketing Director of the Year award in 2000 and 2003 from the ECHL, a professional ice hockey league in which the Rivermen competed (AA ECHL). One of the longest-tenured employees of the Rivermen, Rogers started with the team in 1992 as a marketing/public relations intern, was promoted to director of merchandise/game operations (1993), assistant general manager (1998), general manager (2000) and ultimately, president/CEO (2003). Over a five-year period with the Rivermen, Rogers managed major corporate partner relationships with clients such as Caterpillar, Par-A-Dice Hotel-Casino, OSF-St. Francis Medical Center, Great Plains Orthopaedics, CEFCU and Anheuser-Busch. Rogers has been a guest speaker at WIU, welcomed Western classes and information-sharing days for students at the facilities he has worked and hired many Western students for internships while with the Rivermen.

Begley, a 1974 physical education graduate, has served as Hinsdale Central's head boy's soccer coach (1996-2001) and continues to serve as the girl's head coach. He began his coaching career as the men's soccer coach at Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL), later teaching and at Macomb High School (MHS) and taking on coaching duties in the football and wrestling programs. In 1985, Begley served as head football coach at V.I.T. Community School District in Table Grove (IL) and was selected by the Macomb Journal as High School Football Coach of the Year. In 1989, he returned to MHS and served as director of athletics until 1992. As head coach of boy's soccer at Moline (IL) High School, he led his teams to either regional or conference championships each year of his tenure (1992-1996)—and during the same period, started the girl's soccer program, which became the first girl's interscholastic program in the area. Overall, he has led his respective soccer teams to 10 conference titles, 11 regional championships and one sectional championship, totaling more than 171 overall wins with seven consecutive conference championships (2001- 2007) and a regional championship in 2008. Begley has served state and national physical education organizations committed to physical development and social/emotional learning. He served as a member of the WIU Alumni Council for more than 15 years, including as president from 2003-2005. He has supported the University with financial contributions to several departments over the years, including athletics, the Alumni Association and the kinesiology department.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations