The prime, controlling consideration for the award shall be distinction. Candidates for the award shall have made a distinguished contribution to knowledge and creativity in a relevant field of endeavor, and/or have shown sustained activity of uncommon merit towards improving communities and places as sites for human occupation. The contributions may be made in a wide range of activities – the following list is not exhaustive:

  • Scholarship: major breakthroughs in knowledge in fields of scholarly work;
  • Professions: distinguished contributions to the professions, including innovative work of distinction;
  • Public Service: outstanding achievement in administration, statesmanship, and non-governmental civic activity; and/or
  • Business, Industry, Labor: outstanding, innovative activity in business, industry and labor relations.


  • Received a degree from the Department of Geography & GIS.
  • Is not currently a member of the University of Illinois faculty, staff, or Board of Trustees.
  • Must be highly distinguished in their business, profession, or life's work, either internationally or nationally in their own country.
  • Must be of such stature and accomplishment that students, faculty, and staff of the Urbana-Champaign campus will take pride in and be inspired by his/her recognition.
  • Must be an individual whose contributions to humanity, science, art, or human welfare have helped the citizens of his/her country and/or the global population
  • Must be an individual whose life activities reflect the importance of his/her education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Nomination process

  • Nominator(s) can be current and former faculty as well as Alumni
  • Nomination shall include a narrative, up to one page, put together by the nominator(s). The narrative should describe the nominee's qualities, achievements, and work, and how these reflect the award criteria.
  • Optional CV/Resume, not exceeding 3 pages that provide supporting details that can be measured against the criteria.


Nominations will be assessed by a committee appointed by the Head of Department for this purpose. The committee will make a recommendation to the Head of Department.

Award Ceremony and Lecture

The award shall be conferred upon the successful candidate during a special ceremony hosted by the Department of Geography & GS on the UIUC campus, to be accompanied by an award lecture given by the awardee.


Nomination Deadline: March 31st of each calendar year