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
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
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.
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
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