CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will honor four prominent graduates as 2015 SIU Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. A public ceremony and reception will take place at 3:30 p.m. on April 24 in Morris Library's John C. Guyon Auditorium.
The awards from the SIU Alumni Association honor career achievement, cultural impact, humanitarian efforts, and young alumni achievement. Individuals were selected for the honor they bring to the university through outstanding accomplishments within each award category.
The Distinguished Alumni Award began in 1998. Michelle Suarez, executive director of the SIU Alumni Association, said that current SIU students will have the opportunity to engage with the awardees as they demonstrate the value of an SIU education as a platform for successful careers.
“On behalf of our Board of Directors, we are delighted to welcome these honorees to campus,” Suarez said. “They are shining examples of what SIU has to offer the world and represent the significant accomplishments of SIU graduates across many fields.”
The 2015 SIU Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are:
Award for Career Achievement: Frederick W. Unverzagt, Classes of 1982, 1986 and 1991
Unverzagt is professor of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine where he is training director for the Clinical Neuropsychology Residency. He completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at SIU, internship at Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, and residency (clinical neuropsychology) at Medical College of Wisconsin.
His research and clinical service focuses on assessment of memory loss and cognitive impairment in neurodegenerative disease and breast cancer; he has developed cognitive assessments for cross-cultural studies in Nigeria, Kenya, Jamaica, and China. He has 150 peer-reviewed publications, serves on the editorial board of Neuropsychology and Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, and is reviewer for 20 journals including Neurology, JAMA, Lancet, and BMJ.
Unverzagt served as president of the Indiana Psychological Association, treasurer for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, and board member for the Association of Post-doctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology.
He is a three-degree graduate of SIU, earning a bachelor's degree in 1982, master's degree in 1986, and doctorate in 1991.
Award for Humanitarian Efforts: Pamela K. Pfeffer, Class of 1967
Pfeffer has a deep legacy to the university. In addition to her degree from SIU, she attained a master's degree in teaching mathematics at Vanderbilt University in 1968. Her education at SIU created a solid foundation for her subsequent success as a math instructor at the University of Tennessee-Nashville and accounting instructor for the American Institute of Banding. Her career in the banking industry began as a lending officer and branch manager at Nashville National Bank.
She began her service on the SIU Foundation board in 1995, and served as president from 2007 to 2009. She also served on the steering committee for the “Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign.” The capital campaign raised more than $106.2 million in support of SIU Carbondale. Pfeffer supports numerous university initiatives including taking a leadership role in establishing the “Mike Hanes Marching Saluki Scholarship Endowment,” the university's only scholarship fund geared to support the Marching Salukis. A former Marching Saluki herself, she encouraged fellow alumni and friends of the group to support the cause, which pays tuition for students to participate in the class.
Pfeffer is active with the Nashville Symphony Association where she serves as a member of the Board and Audit Committee. She and her husband, Phil, are life-members of the SIU Alumni Association.
Award for Cultural Impact: Carl W. Lutes, Classes of 1948 and 1959
Lutes has spent most of his life in the arts, pursuing careers in both English and music -- as a member of the SIU English Department for five years, as a teacher in Christopher, his hometown, and in New York City. He has also been principal flutist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Longines Symphonette, a national radio orchestra, and concertized throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as personal flutist with Metropolitan opera star Roberta Peters. In 1962, he made an interesting tour of the Soviet Union in an orchestra sponsored by the State Department, unexpectedly finding himself in Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis.
Lutes enrolled at SIU, then Southern Illinois Normal University, before graduating from high school. World War II was raging and all males were expected to do military service; so after a year at SIU, he left for the Navy, playing in the Navy band in Washington, D.C., before assignment to the battleship, USS Washington. After the war, he returned to SIU to finish his bachelor's degree, then off to Columbia University for a master's degree in music and further graduate study at the Paris Conservatory and the Sorbonne, where he received degrees in Flute and French Language and Culture.
During his studies at SIU, Lutes was granted a university scholarship. In gratitude, he has established endowed scholarships for a deserving student from his hometown and for exceptional students in the fields of music and English. In 1957 at the “Music under the Stars Festival” at McAndrew Stadium, Lutes was featured as Honored Southern Illinois Musician.
He is a two-degree SIU graduate with a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a master's degree in 1959.
Young Alumni Achievement: Scott J. Pate, Classes of 2000 and 2004
Pate is the Private Wealth Sales Manager, SVP for Regions Bank in Mobile, Ala. In this role, he works closely with a team of advisers across the South Alabama/Florida Panhandle markets.
Pate earned his bachelor's degree in 2000 and an MBA in 2004.
Prior to taking on this new role in 2015, Pate previously served as City President for Regions in both Southern Illinois and northern Indiana. While serving in geographical leadership positions, he and his teams received recognition for generating profitable balance sheet growth and for driving improvement in the overall risk profile of the portfolio.
Over the years, Pate has contributed time and energy to serving in numerous board positions for not-for-profit organizations focused on community, arts and financial literacy. He has served as a member of the SIU College of Business Department of Finance External Advisory Board since 2009. He and his wife, Alicia, a 2004 physician's assistant graduate from SIU, reside in Spanish Fort, Ala., with their two daughters.