Indiana State University Newsroom

2013 Distinguished Alumni announced

September 25, 2013

The Indiana State University Alumni Association has selected four individuals to receive its Distinguished Alumni Award for 2013.

This year's recipients are Craig McKee, an attorney and federal magistrate judge; George Pillow, president and chief executive officer of Pillow Logistics in Indianapolis; Danny Tanoos, superintendent of the Vigo County School Corporation; and Sara Rich Wheeler, national dean of nursing academic affairs and regional dean of nursing for Education Affiliates nursing division

"These four individuals have excelled in their careers, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to honor them with this prestigious award," said Rex Kendall, Alumni Association director.

Established in 1957, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates who have made significant contributions to their community, state or nation while continuing a connection with the university and/or Alumni Association after leaving campus. This year's recipients will be recognized during Indiana State's Homecoming celebration Oct. 4-5.

McKee, a 1979 graduate of Indiana State with a degree in speech communication and journalism, holds a law degree from Indiana University. He has practiced law in his home town of Terre Haute since 1985, focusing in litigation, health care and mediation. He also serves as a part-time federal magistrate judge handling preliminary criminal proceedings for the court's nine-county Terre Haute division. McKee has served as president of the Terre Haute Rotary Club, United Way of the Wabash Valley, Greater Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Terre Haute Bar Association. He has served on various non-profit boards, including the ISU Foundation, and has been an Indiana Historical Society board member since 2010. He was the first person from outside greater Washington, D.C. to serve as president of the Washington National Cathedral Association and is a serving officer in the Most Venerable Order of St. John, a British Order of Chivalry.

Pillow heads one of the four largest independent courier companies in Indiana, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. A basketball standout at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and at Indiana State, Pillow is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Following his 1971 graduation from Indiana State, Pillow served as a senior account manager for Xerox, then as a cabinet member for former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr. Pillow has served as a trustee of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis Economic Development Commission and Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Executive Committee. He served with the committee that landed the NCAA headquarters for Indianapolis, on former Gov. Mitch Daniels' transition team, member of the state's Interstate 69 Committee; assistant executive coordinator for the Circle City Classic, Columbia Club Board of Directors and ISU Board of Trustees.

Tanoos earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1979 and has since completed a master's degree in education, curriculum and instruction; an educational specialist degree; and an administrative certificate, all from Indiana State. He has served Indiana's sixth largest school system as a classroom teacher, elementary and middle school principal and, since 1998, superintendent. He has served on the Indiana State Board of Education, the Indiana Education Roundtable and on several local, state and national educational, non-profit and governmental panels, including a governor's appointment to the Study Committee on Alternative Education. He founded Vigo County's first school/business partnership. Tanoos has received numerous professional and community honors, including district superintendent and principal of the year awards, an Indiana Department of Education award for integration of students with special needs, NAACP Leadership Award and Indiana Black Expo Community Appreciation Award.

Wheeler, who completed her bachelor's degree in nursing at Indiana State in 1970, is co-founder of Resolve through Sharing, a program for families that have experienced loss through miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. She has conducted groundbreaking research in understanding the responses and needs of women experiencing miscarriage. During her 43 years as a professional nurse, she has worked as a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, dean of nursing and national dean of nursing. While at Gunderssen-Lutheran Hosptial in LaCrosse, Wis., she developed a network of support and education for physicians and nurses who cared for childbearing families and received the 1982 March of Dimes Maternal Nurse of the Year Award for her efforts to improve the standard of care for babies and their families in Wisconsin. For 33 years, Wheeler has been involved in the education of nurses. Her research in that area has focused on the impact of test anxiety on student success.

The recipients will be honored at a Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony on October 4 and on October 5 in the Blue and White Parade and at halftime of the ISU football game.

Contact: Hilary Duncan, assistant director, Indiana State University Alumni Association, 812-514-8453 or 


Story Highlights

This year's honorees are Craig McKee, attorney and U.S. District Court judge magistrate; George Pillow of Pillow Logistics; Danny Tanoos, Vigo County schools superintendent; and Sara Wheeler, national nursing academic affairs dean, Education Affiliates.

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