Sociology Awards

Our alumni make important contributions to their fields, improve their communities and much more. Their accomplishments have been recognized with a wide range of awards. The exceptional graduates selected to receive these awards not only reflect positively on NIU, but also serve as inspiration for current students.

Department Awards

In 2018, we established two awards to recognize the achievements of sociology graduates.

The Esteemed Alumni Award has been presented to the following graduates, who have made significant contributions to the community and/or academia:

  • 2021: Joyce Ester
  • 2020: Award ceremony not held
  • 2019: William Feithen
  • 2019: Rheon Gibson

The following recent graduates have received the Emerging Alumni Award for displaying potential to have a major impact on the community and/or academia:

  • 2021: Ulysses Diaz
  • 2020: Award ceremony not held
  • 2019: Heather Klain
  • 2018: Nelisha Gray

College Awards

As alumni of the College of Liberal Arts and Science, sociology graduates are also eligible to receive CLAS Distinguished Awards. These awards honor alumni, faculty and staff for professional success, civic or charitable service, or other contributions to the college.

Many sociology alumni have been selected for these awards over the years:

  • 2019: Joyce C. Ester
  • 2018: Kristie Crane
  • 2017: Howard McCullum
  • 2016: Andrew L. Traver
  • 2009: David S. Holmes
  • 2009: Richard Terance Hart
  • 2009: Jennifer (Stanley) Suprenant

Distinguished Alumni Award

Each year, the NIU Alumni Association presents its prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award to an NIU graduate for outstanding success or recognition in their field. In 2018, the Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Andrew Traver, who received his bachelor's degree in sociology in 1985.

After college, Traver joined the U.S. Navy and graduated third in his class from officer candidate school. For 26 years, he worked as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). He has served as director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) since 2014.

Andrew Traver