Alumni, Faculty Awards Announced

Founder's Day activities recognized three alumni and five faculty and staff for their contributions to Bradley and the world. This year's Centurion honors were given to:

Celso L. White '84

Celso has become one of the most widely respected leaders in consumer goods and a sought-after expert by many of today’s iconic brands, including: M&M/Mars, Campbell Soup, PepsiCo, Molson, Coors, Miller Lite. Celso graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. His sister Nuria was inducted into the Centurion Society a few years ago making them the first siblings to be in the Centurion Society. Both he and Nuria grew up in Panama and were recruited to Bradley back in 1980. They are shining examples of the great contributions that immigrants have made to our country. 

Michele L. Sullivan '87, MBA '89

Michele is the Director of Corporate Social Innovation at Caterpillar Inc. and the first female President of the Caterpillar Foundation. Michele and the team at the Caterpillar Foundation have developed not just a brand but a mission…Together Stronger. She has taken this message and the Caterpillar Foundation from a transactional operation to a global and strategic foundation, placing human need first, not an afterthought of profit. 

Through her work, Michele has been asked to serve as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and a member of ONE Board of Directors. Among her many honors, Michele was named as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy by Inside Philanthropy, was named in the Diplomatic Courier Magazine's List of Top 100 Global Women in 2014 and was named a 2018 Influential Leader by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In 2016, Michele became the first Caterpillar employee to give a TED Talk. It is titled “Asking for help is strength, not a weakness.”

Jack Riley '80

Jack graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Administration of Criminal Justice and worked his way up to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, ultimately, becoming the first Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center. In 2015, Jack was named the DEA’s Acting Deputy Administrator. Jack was highest ranking career Special Agent at the DEA. From the fight against cartel gangs in Chicago to overseeing every major mission to capture foreign drug kingpins in the past 30 years on to his greatest showdown, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, he has always fought for justice and what is right.

Faculty and staff awards included:

Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship: Dr. John Nielsen, Assistant Professor of History

Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching: Dr. William Bailey, Assistant Professor of Accounting

The Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award was given to Dr. Joseph Chen, Caterpillar Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering & Technology. The honor recognizes outstanding achievements in research and creativity by a senior faculty member. Recipients are expected to make original contributions to their field and submit these contributions for critical appraisal by their professional peers.

The Charles M. Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to Dr. Dean Cantù, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Teacher Education. The recognition of excellence in teaching became a tradition at Bradley in 1957 when Charles M. Putnam established the Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Francis C. Mergen Award for Public Service was given to Alison Morrissey, Associate Vice President for Advancement. The Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter established the Francis C. Mergen Award for Public Service in 1973 to honor of Dr. Francis C. Mergen, chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering. In recognition of his excellence for public good, the Francis C. Mergen Memorial Award for Public Service was established. This Award is presented annually to a Bradley faculty or staff member who has distinguished them self in their love of humanity and contributions for the public good.

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Celso L. White '84, Michele Sullivan '87, MBA '89 and Jack Riley '80 (Photo by Duane Zehr)

Faculty award winners