Annual Alumni Association Awards Given To Three Alumni

The Bradley community came together Sept. 30, 2022, at Dingeldine Music Center for the annual Founder’s Day Convocation. This event celebrates and honors the university’s founder, Lydia Moss Bradley, and honors those who continue her legacy of excellence. Below, are three alumni recognized for their contributions during the convocation.

Lydia Moss Bradley award — Jennifer A. Mathis

This award honors our namesake’s passion for making her community better and stronger.

Jennifer A. Mathis has devoted her career to helping others and has shared her talents and hard work to help the Bradley community for more than 30 years. She comes from a Bradley family with three generations of connection to the university. Mathis met her husband, John, at Bradley. Her father-in-law, Billy Mathis, is a professor of biology, emeritus, and both of the Mathis’s daughters attended Bradley University.

She started giving back to Bradley almost as soon as she got her degree. After completing her bachelor’s degree in special education in 1988, Mathis started work almost immediately as a resident graduate consultant for Pi Beta Phi. She then began an eminent career working for the students most in need. Mathis earned her master’s degree in secondary special education from Providence College in 1993, and then moved to Texas, where she is a special education diagnostician for the Independent School District of Plano, Texas. As a diagnostician, Mathis performs sophisticated assessment, observation, and testing to determine the best education path for elementary school students facing difficulty in the classroom.

Despite a demanding professional life, she has found the time to serve Bradley University in numerous ways over the years. Mathis was a member of the Drill Team Booster club from 2014 to 2018. She was also on the Parents Board from 2014 until just this year, serving as its president from 2019 to 2020. Mathis traveled from Texas to Peoria every year to participate in meetings and fulfill her duties.

Outstanding Young Graduate award — Joshua I. Grant

This award goes to an alum under 40 who has shown exceptional professional achievement while staying involved with the university.

As Assistant United States Attorney, Grant has won numerous decisions and settlements that have improved the lives of citizens of the district. In July, Grant led a team that won a decision in Springfield that overturned a housing law that discriminated against those with developmental disabilities. In a case that took place in Champaign- Urbana, Josh and his co-counsel secured a settlement from the city of Champaign-Urbana’s mass transit department to redesign their website to make it more functional for the visually impaired, and to make greater investments to improve access to mass transit for disabled persons across the system.

Grant graduated magna cum laude from Bradley University in 2005 with a degree in English and communications; he earned a J.D. at the Chicago- Kent College of Law. After graduating, Grant joined the office of the Illinois Attorney General in 2010, the office of the Inspector General in 2013, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Springfield in 2014. Last year, in recognition for his achievements, he received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance, a national honor and the highest awarded to assistant U.S. attorneys.

Distinguished Alumnus award — Stephen C. Lewis

The recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award is also named a Centurion of the university.

Learn more about Stephen C. Lewis