Alumni honored for achievement, loyalty and service
Recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards were honored during an Oct. 10 luncheon as part
of Homecoming. The IWU Alumni Association presented the Distinguished Alumna Award
to Stephanie Whyte ’91; the Loyalty Award to Jim Mullins ’03 and the Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award to Korey Coon ’00.
A board-certified pediatrician, Whyte recalled her last-minute decision to attend
IWU. “I believe that our steps are divinely orchestrated and that you are in the place
where you’re supposed to be, for the reason that you’re supposed to be there. I know
that I was supposed to be here. And I know I am where I am now because of my experiences
here at Illinois Wesleyan.”
Whyte served as the Chicago Public School District’s first chief health officer. During
her tenure, Chicago became the first large urban school district to put undesignated
epinephrine auto-injectors into each school for emergency use, saving 70 lives. Before
that, she served as medical director for Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation, where she devoted
more than a decade to caring for children with asthma in underserved Chicago neighborhoods.
Whyte recently was named medical director for Aetna Better Health of Illinois, and
is an assistant clinical professor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and
Science. A published author, lecturer and media spokesperson, she has served on local,
regional and national advisory boards.
Loyalty Award winner Mullins completed his ninth year as race director for the annual
Homecoming Captain Ryan A. Beaupre ’95 Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk. He’s also
served on the IWU Executive Alumni Committee, as a committee member and discussion
group leader for the IWU Summer Reading Program, as a guest lecturer and as IWU McLean
County Alumni Association president. He leads the “Give It Forward Titans” giving
circle, which raises scholarship money by spreading awareness at events like a recent
dueling piano fundraiser.
“I’ve stayed close to the university that’s close to my heart,” he said. “I’ve essentially
just raised my hand and said, ‘How can I help?’ Beside me along the way have always
been the same people. We’ve become friends and continue to do things together … These
folks made volunteering at Wesleyan easy.”
A senior investment analyst at State Farm, Mullins stays connected to his local community
through serving at his children’s school and coaching sports teams.
Said Young Alumnus award winner Coon,. “I learned so much from IWU about balancing
the priorities of life. I had to do that as a student, and you have to do that as
an employee, as a spouse, as a parent.”
Coon credits his success to life lessons he learned as a Titan basketball champion.
“I remember learning a lot about relationships, how to win, building teamwork and
collaborating with others, which are so important in today’s world, and Coach Dennie
Bridges was absolutely front and center in helping me learn those things.”
Coon is the human resources director for Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products
Division, based in Cary, N.C. His innovative leadership has led the company to add
parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and apprenticeship program partnerships
with high schools and technical colleges. Coon was named chair of the North Carolina
Commission on Workforce Development, the group responsible for policy recommendations
and strategies to enable the state’s workforce and businesses to compete in a global
economy. He’s also deeply involved in community service, serving on several state-wide
boards and working closely with nonprofits like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA and
Habitat for Humanity.