2021 Founders Medal, Alumni Merit Winners Honored

October 20, 2021 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Robert Jans and Timothy Jans '74 with their Founders Medals at the 2021 Founders Recognition Evening.Elmhurst University recently presented the Founders Medal and Alumni Merit Awards to five people who have made outstanding contributions to the University, the community and society.

“Elmhurst is honored to recognize these individuals who have distinguished themselves in their lives and careers, and who have shown a deep commitment to providing opportunities to the young people who will be our next generation of leaders,” President Troy D. VanAken said during the Founders Recognition Evening on Oct. 15, when the awards were presented.

Established in 1978, the Founders Medal is one of the University’s most prestigious honors. The 2021 Founders Medal was given to brothers Robert Jans and Timothy Jans ’74, successful businessmen and civic leaders with deep family connections to the University.

The brothers also are among the University’s most generous donors, endowing scholarship and internship funds and other initiatives to create transformative opportunities for Elmhurst students. In August, they gave Elmhurst $3.4 million for a comprehensive initiative to introduce more STEM students to careers in the military while also supporting student veterans on campus. The gift represents the largest ever given to the University by living donors.

The Alumni Merit Awards celebrate Elmhurst graduates who have made exemplary contributions to the community and to their alma mater.

  • The Young Alumni Award was presented to Nicholas Bank ’18, a medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who founded a fundraising initiative that provides COVID-19 pandemic-related aid.
  • The Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award honored Carrie Hewitt ’96, ’06, program director of Elmhurst University’s nationally ranked Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program.
  • Betsy I. Ortiz ’01 received the Distinguished Service to Society Award in recognition of her work as a team supervisor in the U.S. General Services Administration and as vice chair of the charitable organization 6000 Moms NFP, which connects immigrant and refugee families to care, advocacy, support and community.

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