Indiana State University Newsroom

Distinguished Alumni Awards announced

August 1, 2016

The Indiana State University Alumni Association has announced the recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards, the association's most prestigious honor.

Linda Eldred, Gregory Funk, Bob Heaton and Quintin Mikell will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Awards at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

"We are so thrilled to honor these four alumni with this year's Distinguished Alumni Awards. We could not be more proud of their accomplishments," said Rex Kendall, executive director of the Alumni Association. "These alumni have had a tremendous impact -- both in their career fields and their communities."

Nearly 300 Indiana State graduates have received the Distinguished Alumni Award since the program began in 1957. The award is presented annually to alumni who have made significant achievements professionally and within their communities.

Eldred, '63, is a member of the Chi Omega sorority. During her senior year at Indiana State, she served as president of Union Board. Her involvement with the student organization inspired her to become a student affairs professional.

She was the co-founder and advisor of Tandem, a tradition that continues to be a favorite among students today, and co-founder of the prestigious student group, the Blue Berets.

After earning a degree in elementary education, Eldred returned to her alma mater and worked in student life, retiring in 2003 as associate director of student life programs. She also worked as program assistant and program director of the Tirey Memorial Union Board and associate director of Student Life Programs.

In 1990, she received the Association of College Unions International's (ACUI) most prestigious award, the Butts-Whiting Award, which recognizes an outstanding leader who has dedicated 10 or more years to the college union and student activities movement. Eldred served as grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade in 2003, the same year she was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership to the ACUI. The Linda Eldred Distinguished Service Award was created in her honor in 2011.

Funk, '73, was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Blue Berets. He earned a pre-law degree from Indiana State before continuing in osteopathic medicine and becoming the first full-time physician in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Funk additionally works as the primary investigator for Fundamental Research LCC and contributes to the fight against drug addiction through his research and providing volunteer free services at a Suboxone clinic in Mobile, Ala.

In addition to serving as president of the Parent-Teacher Association at his son's elementary school, Funk is a member of the Gulf Shores Chamber of Commerce, International Rescue Committee, Baldwin County Medical Association, Alabama Osteopathic Association and American Osteopathic Association. As a member he has been in multiple leadership positions on a national basis. He was past president, vice president and program chairman of the Sclerotheraputic College of Osteopathic Medicine, an affiliate of the American Osteopathic Association. He is also an adjunct preceptor for several osteopathic colleges including the University of Alabama-Birmingham. For 25 years, he has performed as a drummer in a band at multiple benefits, which also performs once a year at the Gulf Shores Shrimp Festival.

Heaton, '80, played alongside Larry Bird on the 1978-79 men's basketball team that competed for a NCAA championship. He was known as "Miracle Bob" for his late-in-the-game shots that kept the Sycamores' dream season alive.

Heaton is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was a Blue Beret while he earned a business administration degree with a concentration in marketing.

President of Heaton Financial Services since 2003, Heaton (R-Terre Haute) has represented District 46 in the Indiana House of Representatives since 2010. He was voted chief majority whip of the House Republican caucus and serves on the financial institutions committee as vice chair, insurance committee and natural resources committee. Heaton previously worked for Forrest Sherer Inc. as an insurance sales person.

Heaton and his wife, Jane Ann, have two children and four grandchildren. Their daughter, Allison, and son-in-law, Andrew Russel, live in Terre Haute. Their son, Travis, passed away in 2014.

Lifetime residents of the Wabash Valley, the couple attends Union Christian Church. He serves the community through several community organization boards including the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club, Wabash Valley Youth for Christ and Leadership Terre Haute Class 5.

Mikell, '84, attended Indiana State on a football scholarship and was team captain for multiple years, as well earning All-Missouri Valley Conference and an All-American honorable mention. He also worked as an assistant football coach while pursuing a master's degree. Mikell still holds two all-time records in football at State.

Earning a degree in manufacturing technology and conducting graduate studies in safety management, Mikell is currently assistant to the executive officer with Cintas Corporation. He was formerly vice president of operations at Zee Medical Inc. in Indianapolis, Sony DADC in Terre Haute and Eugene, Ore. He is also CEO of Maxx Travel Service founded by his wife, Donna.

In Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Oregon, he has been a dedicated community champion and volunteer. He has been a board member and worked with numerous organizations: the United Way, Junior Achievement, Emerald Kid Sports, African-American Engineering Council, Oregon State University Engineering Advisory Board and coached multiple youths sports. He is also a member of the Sycamore Athletic Fund Advisory Board.

He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, whose foundation is based on scholarship, fellowship, good character and the uplifting of humanity.

He and his wife of 30 years, Donna, who met at Indiana State, have three sons -- Quintin Mikell Jr., who played in the NFL for 11 years; Darrian Mikell, a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan and NAIA national champion long jumper; and Devyn Mikell, a Dean's List senior at Indiana State and an accomplished all conference horizontal jumper and sprinter on the track-and-field team.

The Indiana State University Alumni Association will also honor Tom, '63, and Sandi, '64, Druley with the Distinguished Alumni Award in January at the annual alumni event in Naples, Fla.


Photos: -- Linda Eldred -- Gregory Funk -- Bob Heaton -- Quintin Mikell

Media Contact: Kim Kunz, director of external relations, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-514-8496 or