Elmhurst U. honors Founders, Alumni Merit award winners
Elmhurst University recently presented the Founders Medal and Alumni Merit Awards to four people who have made outstanding contributions to the University, the community and society. This year's award winners are leaders in business, education and law who have brought distinction to their professions and to the university.
The 2020 Founders Medal was given to business leader and local philanthropist Al Koplin, of Hinsdale, who also has been a generous supporter of the University as a donor and as a member of the Elmhurst University Board of Trustees for nearly 40 years. As president of Alfred N. Koplin, Inc., Koplin has been a successful real estate investor who created the Hinsdale Management Corp. and, over several decades, built it into a real estate portfolio that manages more than one million square feet of property. Koplin's philanthropic gifts to Elmhurst University have supported faculty endeavors, student scholarships and curriculum development.
Established in 1978, the Founders Medal is one of Elmhurst University's most prestigious honors, and celebrates individuals who have distinguished themselves through philanthropic and personal service to the University.
Alumni Merit Awards
The Alumni Merit Awards celebrate Elmhurst graduates who have made exemplary contributions to the community and to their alma mater.
This year's Young Alumni Award winner is Zachary Hund, Class of 2010, an award-winning chemistry teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Hund, of Flossmoor, Ill., has used his passion for teaching to create new programs and engage more students, especially women, in the study of advanced chemistry. Hund also mentors graduate students interested in K-12 education, and for the past few years has been an adjunct faculty member at Elmhurst teaching chemistry.
The Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award was presented to Jeanne Burda, Class of 1982, a member of the Elmhurst University nursing faculty and an active alumna whose efforts have significantly enhanced nursing alumni engagement with the University. As a lecturer in the nursing department, Burda specializes in family health. A Wheaton, Ill., resident, she also is a board member of the University's alumni association, and alumni coordinator for the nursing department.
The 2020 Distinguished Service to Society Award winner is Robert Carter Olson, Class of 1983, a superior court judge in Arizona who has spent a notable career in public service. Serving on the Superior Court bench in Pinal County, Ariz., Olson began his career with the county as a criminal prosecutor, and also has served as the elected county attorney and as a commissioner. A resident of Gold Canyon, Ariz., he has received numerous awards for his civic and professional activities.
"We congratulate all of our winners, and thank them for their dedication and significant contributions not only to Elmhurst University but to the larger society," said Elmhurst University President Troy D. VanAken. "These winners embody the best of what we are and strive to be."
The award winners were celebrated in a Founders Recognition Evening video that premiered in late October.
Elmhurst University is a leading four-year institution of higher education that seamlessly blends liberal learning and professional preparation to help students reach their full potential. Founded in 1871, Elmhurst now offers more than 70 undergraduate programs of study, more than 20 graduate and certificate programs in flexible formats, and the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy for young adults with differing abilities. Elmhurst University, formerly Elmhurst College, is among the top-ranked colleges and universities in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report.