|Bowman wins chief leadership award|
|Written by Andrew Steckling, Daily Vidette News Editor|
|Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:31|
Two weeks ago, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education unanimously voted ISU President Al Bowman as the recipient of the 2011 District Five chief executive leadership award, citing his leadership during his tenure as university president.
Established in 1999, the award recognizes a president, chancellor, headmaster or system head of an institution for outstanding leadership and service in support of education, according to the council’s website.
District Five includes institutions in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Applications for the award were due by July 15 and although Bowman had no intention of throwing his hat into the ring, it was Erin Minné, vice president for university advancement, and a group of local prominent figures that saw the need for nomination.
“I first got a call of nominations from CASE, and as I glanced through [the names of previous recipients], I thought ‘oh surely President Bowman has won this’ and as I looked through the list of winners, there were a number of individuals from prestigious institutions, but not President Bowman.
“He seemed so deserving of that level of recognition, having brought this university to a place of higher prominence and to a place where we’re attracting a higher level of students, so [I decided to nominate him for the award],” Minné said.
Minné, along with Charlie Moore, chief executive officer of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Marty Vanags, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Council of the Bloomington-Normal area, and Ann Baughan, vice president of operations at State Farm, spent the next 10 days preparing Bowman’s application, which consisted of five short answer questions, the nominee’s current vita and a 500 to 750-word biography.
“[Bowman] has a plan and he has support for [Educating Illinois] because unlike the average leader, Bowman has found a way to demonstrate concretely how Illinois State translates its philosophical foundation from text to meaningful and practical application,” the group wrote as part of the “Institutional Vision” question on the application.
The next step – making sure the date of the conference, Dec. 11 through 13, where Bowman will be accepting the award, stayed open on his calendar.
“We had to devise a ruse to hold the date on his calendar so he could accept the award,” Minné said.
“They put [the date] as a speaking engagement in Chicago. I was too far out and hadn’t thought about what…about the event. Putting an item like that on the calendar was so routine, I didn’t think anything about it,” Bowman said.
Bowman added that he was first contacted by the director of CASE and notified of the award.
“I know what CASE is and I was aware of the award, but I was just really happy [to be the recipient of the award],” Bowman said.
“I was so excited,” Minné said regarding her initial reaction when Bowman was announced. “[I was] so excited for him to get this well-deserved recognition and for Illinois State to be featured prominently at this sort of an awards ceremony.”
“President Bowman is not the kind of person who needs a lot of accolades, especially at this point in his career. He’s very, very prominent and accomplished. He loves an opportunity to talk about his favorite topic – Illinois State University – and this gives him a great platform to tell the story of Illinois State,” Minné added.
Bowman agreed, stating that he never thinks about those kinds of recognitions.
“I’m very competitive and my goals are focused more around projects like the football stadium and getting the library and fine arts buildings done. Those kind of things are the benchmarks I want to stay out in front of and I guess I [will] evaluate my presidency on how many of those things I accomplished,” he said.
CASE is an international association of education advancement officers, who include alumni administrators, fund raisers, public relations managers, publications editors and government relations officers whose ultimate goal is to enhance their institutions by bringing in support – money, alumni loyalty, public esteem or new students – according to the council’s website.