Elmhurst Announces Winners of Alumni and Faculty Merit Awards

September 10, 2015 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

As one of the highlights of the 2015 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend in early October, Elmhurst College will present Alumni Merit Awards to three of its graduates who have made exemplary contributions to society and to the College.

The College also will present its Faculty and Staff Merit Award posthumously to Elmhurst College Professor Emeritus William Barclay.

Established in 1962 by the Alumni Association of Elmhurst College, the Alumni Merit Awards are given to alumni who embody and achieve excellence in community, career or service to the College. Awardees are nominated by the College community and voted on by a select committee of Elmhurst College alumni. The awards will be presented on Saturday, October 10, during the Alumni Breakfast.

Chuck Canfield ’89, of Bethesda, Maryland, will receive the College’s Distinguished Service to Society Award. A globally recognized leader in his field, Canfield is a senior corporate governance officer with the World Bank Group. In this role, he works to promote best practices in corporate governance. Over the past 10 years, he has drafted laws and regulations for 10 countries, and worked with thousands of companies in the developing world to improve environmental, social and governance practices.

Canfield graduated from Elmhurst College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and earned a law degree from Northwestern University in 2000. A CPA as well as an attorney, Canfield also practiced law at one of Chicago’s largest firms, Mayer Brown.

As an alumnus, Canfield has contributed to Elmhurst College’s success in a number of ways. While living in Hong Kong, he met with visiting professors from Elmhurst and helped them to develop a J-Term course in China. He also has supported the College’s wrestling team through direct financial assistance as well as by organizing other alumni to help support the annual Al Hanke Wrestling Tournament. He also founded the 15-year-old Alumni Association, has served as its president and is currently serving on its board of directors and as treasurer. Canfield also actively promotes Elmhurst College’s presence in Washington, D.C., recently representing former Elmhurst President S. Alan Ray and the College at the inauguration of Howard University’s new president.

John Brown ’50, of Louisville, Kentucky, will receive Elmhurst College’s Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. A retired biochemistry professor and administrator at the University of Louisville, Professor Brown has long been passionate about education in general and Elmhurst College in particular. After serving in the Army at the end of World War II, Professor Brown attended Elmhurst, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He credits his success in life to the College—it is where he met his late wife, Lois (Class of 1949), and where several professors made a profound impact on his life. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry at the University of Illinois and working briefly in the corporate sector, Professor Brown pursued his passion for teaching at the University of Louisville. For more than 40 years, he taught biochemistry to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to nursing, dental and medical students.

Professor Brown has been a longtime supporter of Elmhurst College through generous gifts to the chemistry department. Since 2006, his donations have led to the purchase of much-needed lab equipment. He has spent time with Elmhurst College chemistry Professor Gene Losey and other faculty members to learn about their work and how his gifts might support it. He also was an early donor to the College’s Science and Health Initiative, and hopes to see a new science center built in his lifetime.

Erik Ellingson ’11, of South Elgin, will receive the College’s Young Alumni Award. Through hard work and dedication, Ellingson has advanced in his career while continuing to give back to the Elmhurst community and beyond. Ellingson is a director of acquisitions at First Union Rail Corp. As an undergraduate, the finance and economics major was chapter president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity; captain of the men’s basketball team; an orientation student leader; and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. As an alumnus, Ellingson continues to support the basketball program, connects the Alpha Tau Omega alumni to the current chapter members on campus, and frequently attends alumni events.

The Dr. Andrew K. Prinz Faculty/Staff Merit Award will be given posthumously to William Barclay, a revered English professor at Elmhurst College. Students and colleagues recall Professor Barclay’s remarkable depth and breadth of knowledge about English literature, and the work he did to help develop academic programs at the College. He was an inspiration to his students, and stayed in touch with many long after they graduated.

Barclay served in the infantry in World War II and in military intelligence in the Korean War. He taught for a while at Michigan State University, where he also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English. He received his doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin. Professor Barclay began teaching at Elmhurst in 1953, and was promoted to professor in 1963. He became a professor emeritus when he retired in 1990. He died in 2006, at the age of 83.

“Bill was part of the core of the intellectual life of the college,” said Susan Swords Steffen, director of the College’s A.C. Buehler Library, in a Chicago Tribune obituary about Professor Barclay. “He built the academic programs here in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and set the foundation for what Elmhurst College is today.”

Mark Andel ’79, who nominated Professor Barclay for the award, said, “Dr. Barclay represented everything positive about what the Elmhurst College experience was for me, so far removed from the impersonal experience of major universities. He lived what he was—a fine, distinguished gentleman and role model and an undiminished, inextinguishable credit to Elmhurst College.”

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