Beth Robb
Beth Robb

Alumni to be Recognized at Homecoming

Sept. 4, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—At the annual Alumni Awards Lunch on Saturday, Oct. 13, three Illinois Wesleyan alums, the honorable Chief Judge Elizabeth Robb, Karl Pierburg and Coyner Smith will be recognized. The event, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. in The Shirk Center (309 Emerson St., Bloomington), is part of the University's 2012 Homecoming festivities. This year's Homecoming theme is Broadcasting Titan Pride.

Judge Robb, who received a bachelor of arts degree from IWU in 1978 and awarded a juris doctor degree from Loyola University (Chicago) in 1981, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. The honor is presented annually to an alumnus/na who has made a distinguished contribution to society, achieved professional distinction or has demonstrated civic leadership.

In 2004, Judge Robb, who lives in Normal, was the first female to be named Chief Judge in McLean County. She was also the first female to be named Associate Judge in McLean County in 1993 and was appointed to Circuit Judge in 2000.

Most recently, Judge Robb pioneered efforts to obtain a $1.2 million federal grant for the Adult Treatment Court Collaborative, to enhance services provided by the Drug and Mental Health Courts in McLean County. She serves on the Supreme Court Special Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice and Mental Health, which is working on statewide issues of affecting persons with mental disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. She also established a committee to develop the McLean County Bar Association's Principles of Professionalism, which is code of conduct for lawyers and judges.

Karl Pierburg
Karl Pierburg

For more than 20 years, Judge Robb has provided internship and mock trial opportunities for current Illinois Wesleyan students and has supervised more than 30 students during that time. She has been recognized in the community among WEEK TV 25 Women in Leadership as the united Way Volunteer of the Year, while serving as president of the Board of Catholic Social Services, and received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Professions.

Karl Pierburg, director of Football Systems/Special Projects for the Atlanta Falcons will receive the Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. This honor, named for a 1968 alumnus and former IWU alumni director, recognizes young alumni for outstanding professional achievement, civic leadership or both.

Pierburg, Class of 1998, who resides in Hoschton, Ga., enters his eighth season with the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to arriving in Atlanta, he worked for the Chicago Bears for three seasons as IT Manager of Football Systems. During his time in Chicago, Pierburg handled extensive development work on coaching systems, and college and pro scouting systems, which allowed area scouts to manage rosters, write scouting reports and access other pertinent information.

As a double major in mathematics and computer science at IWU, Pierburg was a four-year letterman in football, earning first team honors as an offensive guard. He was also named to the Academic All-Conference first team.

Coyner Smith
Coyner Smith

The Loyalty Award will be presented to Coyner Smith, Class of 1954. This award recognizes alumni who have benefited Illinois Wesleyan either through service to the University, strong financial support, or both.

Coyner and his wife Donna have been loyal supporters of the University for several years. When the Phi Mu Alpha fraternity had a fire, which caused much damaged to the home, he helped with the restoration. Also over the past three years, Coyner, who majored in music at IWU, has provided funding for renovations in the School of Music's Presser Hall.

Coyner served in the Navy for 12 years, where he was an aircraft commander of a C-130 and a flight instructor. He also taught acrobatics and advanced instrument training. In 1968 Coyner and his wife, who live in Omaha, Neb., founded Better Business Equipment, which has won several awards for service and quality over the years.

Contact: Sherry Wallace (309) 556-3181