Illinois Central College presented Dr. Jonathan F. Sauder with the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Markie Maloof with the Alumnus of the Last Decade Award on Thursday, October 27. The presentation was part of the college's Community Celebration event, held annually to recognize and celebrate ICC scholarship recipients, their donors, and community partners.
"The Distinguished Alumnus and the Alumnus of the Last Decade awards annually recognize ICC alumni who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen field. It also recognizes their humanitarian service and demonstrated support for higher education and Illinois Central College," said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. "Jonathan and Markie are incredibly deserving of their awards. They are helping make our community and region a better place, and we could not be prouder to call them ICC alumni."
Sauder attended Illinois Central College from 2004 to 2007. In May 2007, he received his Associate in Mechanical Engineering. In 2019, he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House. The PECASE Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.
One of his most distinguished achievements comes from his work with NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), where he is developing the concept for an automaton rover for Venus using mechanical technology that could collect months' worth of climate, seismic, and geologic data using a mechanical computer. Jonathan has already proven successful through the first two phases of development.
"Some of my best teachers across my 9.5 years of college education were at ICC. They had a great ability to bring clarity to complex subjects, and were all very invested in each of the students," says Sauder. "I am proud to have started my college education in the community college system, and believe community colleges provide a high quality, while also affordable solution to rising education costs."
Jonathan is a full-circle representation of what the Foundation strives to achieve. As a three-time scholarship recipient, he now funds two scholarships in honor of his parents: The Frank and Kathleen Sauder Home Education Scholarship. Awarded to students that were home educated during their high school years, this scholarship is a great reflection on the impact that his parents made when homeschooling him, the impact that ICC had on Jonathan, and the goal to see others succeed as well.
Maloof attended Illinois Central College from 2010 to 2012. She is now the Organizational Development Advisor for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Markie is always happy to be a featured speaker at communication and public relations events for ICC and be a mentor to many students who have demonstrated an interest in working in the nonprofit sector.
Markie's commitment to St. Jude can be traced back to her grandfather, former Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof, who co-founded the first-ever St. Jude affiliate outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Working with St. Jude's and their national fundraising organization, American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), Markie has developed interactive college fundraising opportunities, which were piloted at ICC in 2018.
Her goal is to get other college students involved and advocate for St. Jude. Working on a two-day collegiate seminar, she's focusing on the impact, inclusion, and innovation that she can have on a younger generation while benefiting children and families that need the most help. This also encourages the students to become more philanthropic in their own communities as well, cultivating a generational culture of giving back.
"My time at Illinois Central College exceeded all expectations and opened the door to a lifetime of memories and relationships," says Maloof. "ICC helped grow my passion and sharpen my skills in public speaking, performing, and community outreach all of which I do in my career today. I am extremely grateful and proud to be an alumni."