2016 Selection Process:
1. Achievement in his/her field
2. Contribution to society
3. Association with Niles West
a) Candidate must be a Niles West graduate
b) Candidate must have attended a District 219 School for at least 3 years and must have
graduated from Niles West.
4. Appreciation/Influence of Niles West on accomplishments
Past Years' Distinguished Alumni
2010 - Dr. Steven Dayan, '85
2011 - Judy Hsu, '88
2012 - Dennis Hu, '07
2013 - Howard Sandroff, '67
2014 - Tom '86 and Dita '86 (Jusufi) Merkel
2015 - Rich Beckman '72
Rich Beckman is a Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, director of the graduate program in Journalism and Media Management and Chair of the University of Miami Curriculum committee.
His work focuses on producing documentary multimedia storytelling for social change, digital media tools and curriculum development for both journalism programs and general education. He works with Special Olympics International as a documentary producer and has trained professional journalists in multimedia and the use of digital storytelling tools.
From January 1978 to June 2008 Beckman was the Director of Visual Communication at the University of North Carolina. During that time, he won the Tanner and David Brinkley Awards; was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in South Africa, Chile and Spain; a charter member of the UNC-CH Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars and Carolina Speakers and served as the Julian Sheer Term Professor of Journalism and the James L. Knight Distinguished Professor of Journalism.
online producer, he led teams that have won prestigious multimedia prizes
including the Sigma Delta Chi
Medal of Honor and the Pirelli INTERNETional Award for Educational Media, as
well as multimedia storytelling awards
from the Online News Association, the National Press Photographers Association,
and the Pictures of the Year
International competitions, to name a few. He has judged the photography and
multimedia categories of the
White House Press Photographers Associations annual competition, as well as the
photography categories of the
Robert F. Kennedy Awards, which honor outstanding reporting of the lives and
strife of disadvantaged people
throughout the world.
He has spoken about and taught multimedia storytelling at national conferences, and consulted in newsrooms around the world.