Illinois College - Home Logo
Open Menu


Illinois College Alumni Association Awards recognize outstanding service


The Illinois College Alumni Association Board of Directors recognized the recipients of their annual awards during the Illinois College Society Gala held on campus in May.

The awards recognized five individuals for their dedication and outstanding service to the college, their local communities and the nation. The individuals honored were Taylor Baucom ’10, Dr. Beaux Cole ’01, Dr. Robert KunathFrank E. Cummings and Congresswoman Cheri Callahan Bustos ’83

Taylor Baucom received the Young Alumna Award. Baucom is an award-winning photographer and multimedia producer living in New York City. At The Players’ Tribune, she collaborates with professional athletes to tell in-depth and personal stories about their lives. Baucom has worked with some of the best athletes of all time as they compete on the world’s biggest stages. She was previously a photo editor for Major League Baseball and her work has been widely recognized for its excellence, including one of her photos being named to a list of TIME Magazine’s best 100 photographs in 2014. 

Baucom is a native of Camp Point, Illinois, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications and rhetorical studies from Illinois College, and a master’s degree in photography from the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University. Baucom expressed her gratitude for the College by saying, “Without my well-rounded and hands-on academic experience in college, I wouldn’t be where I am today professionally. I’m so grateful for the foundation that Illinois College built for me.” 

Dr. Beaux Cole was honored with the Young Alumnus Award. Cole has focused his career on community pharmacy where he enjoys working with patients and physicians to improve patient outcomes. Cole and his wife, Carrie, currently own and operate Holistic Pharmacy and Wellness in Springfield and Holistic Pharmacy in Jacksonville, where he emphasizes customized medication, preventative metabolic medicine and compliance packaging for patients.

Cole graduated from Illinois College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2001 and from Creighton University with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2005. In December 2013, Cole completed a Fellowship in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He enjoys mentoring student pharmacists and was selected as the “Above and Beyond” Preceptor of the Year from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy in 2007. In 2011 he was awarded the Young Distinguished Pharmacist Award by the Illinois Pharmacists Association. 

Dr. Robert Kunath was awarded the Faculty Ambassador honor. He has been Illinois College’s William and Charlotte Gardner Professor of History since 2013. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and earned a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford University. Kunath began his work at Illinois College in 1994, achieving the rank of full professor in 2006. In the same year, IC students recognized him by choosing him to receive the coveted Harry Joy Dunbaugh Award for excellence in classroom teaching. 

Kunath has published articles on World War I and its effect on German and European art, as well as articles on the history of the Holocaust and regularly presents at academic conferences in the U.S. and Europe. Kunath has found inspiration in his fellow faculty and staff members and their dedication to serving students. He said, “I am proud to be a part of a college that values service and education the way IC does.”

Frank E. Cummings was honored with the Friend of the College award. Cummings led an accomplished life exploring his many interests. Born in Illinois, he relocated to San Francisco in 1944. Cummings was stationed in Germany as a member of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War until 1956. He graduated from San Francisco State and had a successful 33-year career in marketing.  

In 2007 Cummings returned to Illinois with his wife of 53 years, Judy. He served as trustee for the estate of his uncle, Howard Million H’12, who was a distinguished friend of Illinois College and was awarded an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree by the College in 2012. After Million’s passing in 2014, Cummings helped establish the Howard and Vera Million Endowed Scholarship to benefit deserving students from the region who attend Illinois College, MacMurray College, and Lincoln Land Community College. Since relocating to Jacksonville, Cummings has been involved in the local philanthropic community, notably serving as a trustee for the Passavant Area Hospital Foundation. He has also been a loyal supporter of Illinois College and stated, “If I had grown up in Jacksonville instead of San Francisco, I certainly would have attended Illinois College.”

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was honored with the Distinguished Service award. Bustos has served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 17th congressional district since 2013. She is a member of several committees and was recently elected by her colleagues to senior House Democratic leadership as the Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Before her political career began in 2007, she worked in journalism and later in public relations for the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare system. 

Bustos attended Illinois College before earning a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois Springfield. Her father, the late Gene Callahan ’55 and her mother Ann Hammond Callahan ’55, and son Nick Bustos ’10 are graduates of Illinois College. Bustos was installed in the Illinois College Congressional Hall of Fame and was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Alpha literary society in 2015. An accomplished basketball and volleyball player, Bustos received the Doris B. Hopper Award for outstanding female athlete of the year as a student in 1981 and was inducted into the Illinois College Sports Hall of Fame as an alumna in 1994. Reflecting on her time at IC, Bustos noted, “A liberal arts school instills the joy of learning in so many areas.”

More than 200 attendees including members of the Illinois College Society attended the awards ceremony and Society Gala, an annual event for the College’s premier annual giving circle which brings together visionary donors in IC’s philanthropic community with College leadership. Membership in the Illinois College Society is extended to all donors who give $1,000 or more to the College on an annual basis.  

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217.245.3467 for more information.

Media Contact Information
Office of Marketing and Communication
Amy Jones
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication