Indiana State University Newsroom

Distinguished Alumni Award recipients announced

August 30, 2017

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

John Beacon, Winna Diane Cargile, Bernie Carney, Elder Diggs and Eva Kor will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Awards at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

"Every year, Indiana State University and the Alumni Association honors excellence by bestowing our most prestigious award to deserving alumni. Our recipients exemplify service to their communities, their profession and their Alma Mater. We are extremely proud of these Sycamores and thrilled to honor them as this year's Distinguished Alumni recipients," said Rex Kendall, Alumni Association executive director.

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.

Beacon, GR '74, attended Augustana College and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1967, before his first position in higher education where he managed a satellite admissions office in the Chicago metropolitan area for Hiram Scott College located in western Nebraska.

From 1970 to 1974, Beacon was assistant director of admissions for Indiana State while completing a master's degree in College Student Personnel Services. Over the next 33 years, he served in various administrative positions from director of admissions and financial aid to vice provost for enrollment management at a number of universities from Oklahoma to Maine.

Institutions for which he has worked range from Eastern Illinois University and Oklahoma State University, where he was director of admissions and high school relations, to the University of Nebraska, the University of Maine and Western Michigan University, where he was associate vice president for enrollment management, before returning to Indiana State in 2007 as vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications.

He has presented at numerous national and regional association conferences and was active in Optimists International for several years. He has published in professional journals, has served as a financial aid consultant for the University of Wyoming and as a USAA consultant to Kyrkistan, Russia, where he helped design and implement an American version of an office of admissions and testing.

Cargile, '70, GR '71, became the first African-American cheerleader at Indiana State in 1967 and was a charter member and the first president of the sorority's Epsilon Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at Indiana State. She was also elected Homecoming queen in 1968.

After graduation, Cargile became an elementary teacher with the Indianapolis Public Schools. She served as a teacher, counselor, director of guidance learning centers, desegregation consultant and an elementary and middle school principal. She also earned an educational specialist degree and a Doctorate of Education from Indiana University.

In 1996, Cargile took a principalship in Lakewood, Wash., where she led a diverse student body with 11 ethnic groups before returning four years later to lead schools in Terre Haute. During her 11-year tenure at Rio Grande Elementary School, the school was selected by the state of Indiana and the U.S. Secretary of Education for various academic awards, including the National Blue Ribbon Award.

She was elected in 2008 to serve as president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, making her the first principal from Indiana since 1921 to serve in the position, which presides over 28,000 principals and serves as the voice for principals, nationally and internationally. In that role she has presented on topics including: School Leadership, Building a Culture for Student Success; Effective Communication and Successful Teaching and Learning Strategies, internationally in the Philippines, Australia and Cairo, Egypt, as well as throughout the United States.

Cargile retired from public school education after 30 years as a school principal and a 39-plus year career in K-12 education. Cargile continues her lifelong passion for education in her new business, AAA Excellent Global Education Inc., where she is the principal consultant. She is also actively engaged on numerous boards, including the Indiana State University Foundation Board of Directors.

Carney, '51, is a retired business owner and an experienced public speaker and master of ceremonies with more than 50 years of public speaking experience.

He was the national winner of the Life Magazine award for local advertising (Tire Dealers). Carney served as acting Chief of Radio and Television at Third Army headquarters in Atlanta and sales promotion manager and publicity director for WFBM-TV-AM-FM in Indianapolis from 1953 to 1955, winning numerous national awards. He was also co-owner of the Carney Tire Company in Terre Haute from 1956 to 2013.

Carney has served on the Board of Trustees for the Terre Haute Elks Club and the Board ofDirectors for the Vigo County Historical Society, the ISU Varsity Club, The Wabash ValleyBoy Scouts of America and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.




Diggs, a 1908 graduate of Indiana State Normal School, was a primary founder of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. For the six years following the fraternity's inception, he served as the Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

Diggs led an exemplary life serving as a teacher and principal in Indianapolis public schools. After the U.S. entered World War I, he resigned from his principalship and entered the nation's first Officers' Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was commissioned a lieutenant. After his service with the 368th Infantry, Diggs became a captain in the Reserve Officers Training Corp. and was instrumental in getting the Indiana Constitution amended to permit African Americans to enlist in the Indiana National Guard.

After his death on Nov. 8, 1947, the school where Diggs taught in Indianapolis was changed to the Elder Diggs School in his memory. Diggs will receive a posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award for his exceptional contributions to Indiana State and the community and national impact on our country.

Kor, '90, a survivor of the Holocaust, a forgiveness advocate and a highly revered public speaker, received the 2017 Sachem award, the highest honor in the state of Indiana.

She is a community leader, a champion of human rights and tireless educator of young people. Even in her 80s, Kor travels across the United States and Europe to share her message, in addition to leading hundreds of people on a journey to Auschwitz each year. She is one of the few surviving twins still sharing her personal account of the medical experiments supervised by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele at Auschwitz.

For the past 39 years, she has been sharing her story with victims, students, teachers, medical professionals, senators, administrators, historians, universities, graduating classes and civic groups, both nationally and internationally.

Kor is one of 13 survivors featured in New Dimensions in Testimony, a new interactive language technology created by USC Shoah Foundation to preserve survivor testimonies and continue the dialogue between Holocaust survivors and learners far into the future. Her story is documented in the award-winning film, "Forgiving Dr. Mengele," and the popular young adult book, "Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz." Her story of forgiveness is also recounted in the German book, "Die Macht Des Vergebens" ("The Power of Forgiveness"). Premiering in January 2018, Kor's story will be the subject of a feature-length documentary, "Eva A-7063."

In 1995, Kor opened CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute with a mission to illuminate the world with hope, healing, respect and responsibility through education about the Holocaust.


Photo: - John Beacon

Photo: - Diane Cargile

Photo: - Bernie Carney

Photo: - Elder Diggs

Photo: - Eva Kor

Media Contact: Betsy Simon, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or