NIU Honors Local Alumni

Oct 11, 2012

Five DeKalb-area residents are among 11 alumni who will be recognized this weekend by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University for their accomplishments and service NIU.

The local honorees are:

Dr. Richard Johannesen, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Communication Department at NIU, is the author of the highly acclaimed book Ethics in Communication. Johanneson is credited with helping to bring the NIU Department of Communications into national prominence. He served 17 years as Graduate Director and eight years as department chair. “Dick embodies the three facets of great university involvement—teaching, research, and service,” said Dr. Kathleen Valde, NIU Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Dr. Wallace R. “Mac” McAllister, Presidential Research Professor Emeritus in Psychology was a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Research Professors. McAllister built the Psychology Department’s first animal colony, which remains a centerpiece of the department’s neuroscience program. He joined NIU in 1969 as a researcher in experimental psychology and was the driving force behind maintaining the University’s funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Mental Health, until his retirement in 1987. McAllister “was one of the first storied researchers in the college and, because of his guidance and care for his younger colleagues and his own record of accomplishment, there should be no last,” according to Frederick Schwantes, NIU Vice Provost and Emeritus Professor of Psychology.

Two-time Fulbright Scholar Dr. Clark Neher, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, served as chair of the Department of Political Science. During his tenure as director, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU was designated a national resource center by the U.S. Department of Education and received initial funding of more than $1.3 million from the National Security Education Program. Neher earned his M.A. from Stanford University and served in the military before joining the Peace Corps and teaching in Thailand for two years. He returned to UCLA and earned his Ph.D. before accepting a position at NIU, where he spent the next 31 years teaching, leading, and researching. “He was an outstanding mentor to numerous political science graduate students,” said Vice Provost Christopher Jones, and has a “reputation for being a kind, attentive, and extremely supportive advisor.”

Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Self, served as Director of Graduate Studies and Director of First Year Composition. During his 43 years at NIU, Self helped introduce and establish film as a legitimate disciplinary study at NIU, combining traditional literature and cinema as an interdisciplinary program. From 1992 to 1993, he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Thailand, where he established a graduate curriculum in literature and film studies. As Director of FYComp, Self secured a grant from Apple Computers to help integrate a seminal program for computer-assisted instruction in the classroom. He also designed a faculty development program featuring a web-based curriculum which earned NIU recognition for bringing technology into the classroom. of The author of two books on Hollywood director Robert Altman and a nationally recognized scholar on his work, Self also has written for numerous journals. He also is remembered as a generous mentor and enthusiastic teacher American Literature and film.

June Kubasiak will be recognized for 33 years of service and dedication as Office Manager and for providing administrative support to the division director and as assistant to the chair in Public Administration. In addition to keeping all financial records for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she also has maintained records for grant and research contract funds, and charitable contributions and has organized the division’s annual reception for new alumni and their families. Kubasiak’s service extends far beyond her administrative duties. “Her skill in human relations,” says Professor Gerald Gabris,  “has built…one of the most solid, dedicated, and generous alumni groups that an academic unit can wish for.” Her commitment and dedication to her department and the university “serves as an exceptional role model for colleagues throughout the university.”

A dinner and reception will be held Friday evening in Altgeld Hall on campus.