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Golden Gala 2016


The Golden Gala Alumni Awards Dinner raised more than $180,000 in one evening and we recognized five outstanding alumni. Thank you! 

Congratulations to the 2017 NEIU Alumni Award recipients. Read about the honorees and watch the award videos below. 

Save the date: neiu weekend 2018 - september 14 & 15 

View photos from NEIU Weekend 2017


Alice McGee

Distinguished Alumna Award
Alice McGee (B.A. '84 Speech) 
Alice McGee secured an internship to work with Oprah Winfrey, and was subsequently hired as Oprah’s first employee. Together they made media history. McGee went from Oprah’s chief publicist to Senior Supervising Producer. McGee convinced Oprah to start Oprah's Book Club and Oprah put McGee in charge of it in addition to producing her TV shows. The book club sold millions of books and certainly informed reading in America. Pre-orders with bookstores often required a half million copies on announcement day. She won nine individual Emmy Awards for outstanding production of the Oprah Winfrey Show. McGee had creative oversight of five production teams. This Northeastern graduate has made an important contribution to the history of television and media. Watch award video.

Dr. A. Michael Drachler

Alumni Service Award
Dr. A. Michael Drachler (B.A. '68 Biology)
Dr. A. Michael Drachler is a proud graduate of Northeastern Illinois University who earned a B.A. in Biology with a second major in Elementary Education in 1968. Drachler received his medical degree from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, completing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Cook County Hospital. Drachler has won numerous teaching awards, serves as the Senior Clinical Educator at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and serves on various boards including as Vice President of the NEIU Alumni Advisory Board. Watch award video.

Dr. Jerry Watson

Community Leadership Award 
Dr. Jerry Watson (B.A. '93 Board of Governors) 
Dr. Jerry Watson is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work at Rust College. Watson received a B.A. in the Board of Governors Program from Northeastern Illinois University; an M.S.W. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work; an M.B.A. from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois; and a Ph.D. from Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. His research focus continues to be diverse ranging from offender re-entry and African American men’s health to cultural and linguistic competency. Watson taught at DePaul University, Aurora University in Chicago, Jackson State University, and Mississippi Valley State University. Currently, he is a co-founder of Men Healing Men and Communities in Memphis, Tenn. Watch award video.

Carlos Jiménez Flores

Outstanding GOLD Alumni Award 
Carlos Jiménez Flores (B.A. '06 Human Resource Development)
Carlos Jiménez Flores is a writer, producer and film director. In 2015, he was featured in the NEIU Alumni: All Access Series where he presented and gave a film screening. In his presentation he demonstrated the lifelong value of a Northeastern Illinois University degree from the perspective of some of the University’s most successful and inspirational alumni. Jiménez Flores has been profiled by the Chicago Reader, Michigan Avenue Magazine and ABC7’s “Ñ-Beat.” A former high school and college dropout, Jiménez Flores earned his bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development from Northeastern in 2006 after transferring from Wilbur Wright College. Jiménez Flores is the first Puerto Rican director to have two films theatrically released in the same year. Watch award video.

Nicholas Martinez

Future Alumni Leader Award
Nicholas Martinez (NEIU Student) 
Nicholas Martinez is a current student at Northeastern Illinois University majoring in biology. He has served as President of the NEIU Student Government Association and has been active with the University’s advocacy issues in Springfield. He has also served on the Executive Board of the University Advisory Council and as the Illinois Board of Higher Education Student Representative.

The Golden Gala is the culminating event of NEIU Weekend, Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16. Watch award video.



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