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    Award Winners

    Jack Nawrot Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award

    Jack Nawrot graduated with a biology degree from Blackburn in 1972 and went on to become a Senior Scientist at the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale. Following graduate studies at SIUC, Jack began a 40-year career there in the Wildlife Research Lab where he advised more than 40 graduate students. His research projects have received US Department of Interior and state reclamation awards and he worked around the world to develop and promote mined land reclamation principles and practices. Jack has served as President of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation, Chairman of the Illinois Surface Mining Advisory Council, and Chairman of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Task Force. To recognize the achievements of the Wildlife Lab’s founder and provide graduate research opportunities, Jack helped establish the W. D. Klimstra Reclamation Fellowship at SIUC. He has also authored numerous publications.

    Jennifer Shelby Awarded the Gideon Blackburn Recognition Award

    Jennifer Shelby has provided exceptional contributions to Blackburn College as a non-alumna. She is a Blackburn College Board of Trustees member who has contributed significantly to the College in both time and fiscal resources. Her gift amounts included the donation of a Steinway Model O grand piano which is housed in Blackburn’s historic Clegg Chapel. The donation of the Model O Steinway allowed Blackburn to claim the distinction of being an All-Steinway School, joining an elite rank of institutions dedicated to excellence in music. Her many other gifts have helped fund a number of capital improvements campus-wide. As many of you know, she is currently the Capital Campaign Co-chair.

    Jennifer, the former president and owner of Shelby Motors (Champaign, IL), first learned about Blackburn in 2009 after meeting president emeritus Miriam Pride. From her first knowledge of Blackburn College, Jennifer has become an outspoken advocate for its work-learning mission and the practical life-skills possessed by graduates.  A native of Champaign and current owner of two Hoopeston-area car dealerships, Shelby joined Blackburn’s board in 2010.

    Outside of the Blackburn Board of Trustees and her roles as capital campaign co-chair and chair of the Admissions and Retention committee, and her two dealerships, Jennifer is also co-owner of Shatterglass Studios in Champaign; secretary to the Champaign- Urbana Sunrise Rotary Club; president of the Courtsiders booster club for UI women’s basketball; board member for the Illini Quarterback Club; chairperson of Champaign County Humane Society’s Fur Ball; and a member of the Hoopeston Economic Development Committee.

    As a side note, I might add that Jennifer is fond of hotdogs and popcorn. If you were on campus during Move-in day in August, you would have seen her in her shining new Food Truck giving out hot dogs and goodies to parents and students. From my understanding, that was a big hit.
    Her support as an active trustee and donor has been invaluable as we move Blackburn forward into the future.

    Donated in 2013, Shelby’s Steinway is a gift that is close to her heart. Although not a musician herself, her great grandfather, Robert Eisner, was a Vaudeville pianist who entertained his audience of grandchildren. “He was quite the showman,” Shelby remembered. “I think he would have liked the thought.”

    Chuck Bayne Awarded the Alumni Achievement Award

    Charles Kenneth Bayne was a senior research staff member in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry from Blackburn, a master’s in applied mathematics from Washington University and a doctorate in statistics from North Carolina State University.

    Chuck has been named a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He has performed research in the field of statistical experimental design. Some of his current research related to the field of chemometrics, which is the application of statistics to chemistry problems.
    Among many publications and papers, Chuck has co-authored a book about chemometrics which won the 1987 Technical Communications Award of Excellence in books. Chuck and two co-authors from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Austria, won the annual award for their paper Multidetector Calibration for Mass Spectrometers, an outline of experiments they conducted to reach this new level of accurate measurements. The award recognizes outstanding collaborative endeavors between statisticians and chemists. Chuck has traveled to Austria for more than 10 years to collaborate with the scientists at the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory. During those trips, he served as a consultant to develop procedures that will improve the accuracy of measuring plutonium and uranium isotopes. So, as you can see from his work, his glowing resume radiated throughout the Alumni Board as they were considering alumni awards.
    Other duties for Chuck included serving as a statistical consultant to several Oak Ridge Lab divisions: Chemical and Analytical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Metal and Ceramics, Auditing and the Waste Management Program.

    Bayne and his wife, Pauline, are residents of Telico Plains in East Tennessee.