Indiana State University Newsroom

Distinguished Alumni Award winners announced

September 7, 2021

Michael Alkire, Paul and Susan Chaney, and Rich Porter are the 2021 recipients of Indiana State University’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, the university announced Wednesday. They will be recognized November 5 at the inaugural President’s Dinner with the University’s philanthropy award honorees

"These alumni are great examples of the impact an Indiana State University education can have," ISU President Dr. Deborah J. Curtis said. "We celebrate the achievements of these four Sycamores who serve as an inspiration to their alma mater." 

Presented annually since 1957, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have made significant achievements professionally and within their communities, locally and globally.

“Every year, Indiana State University and the Alumni Association honor excellence by bestowing our most prestigious award to deserving alumni," said Rex Kendall, Executive Director of the Alumni Association. "The award recognizes alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify and support the mission of Indiana State University. We are extremely proud to honor four exemplary Sycamore role models as this year's Distinguished Alumni recipients."               

Said Andrea Angel, Vice President of University Advancement and CEO of the ISU Foundation: “For more than 60 years the Distinguished Alumni Award has recognized the accomplishments of Indiana State alumni from around the world. The recipients of the 2021 award have boldly represented the ideals of the institution throughout their lives, and we could not be more proud to honor them in November at the inaugural President’s Dinner.”

Bios of the award winners:

Michael “Mike” Alkire, ’85

Alkire grew up in Akron, Ohio, and was a two-time All-American swimmer before attending Indiana State. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in computer science. Alkire now serves as President & CEO of Premier Inc., a technology-driven healthcare improvement company uniting an alliance of more than 4,400 hospitals and health systems and approximately 225,000 other providers and organizations.

Since joining Premier, he has taken the company public and created more than $4 billion in value for member health systems across the country. Alkire is a thought leader in the healthcare industry, and led Premier’s efforts to address a nationwide drug shortage, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Premier research on shortages and gray market price gouging. More recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he led his company to use domestic suppliers and global sourcing to bring 226 million masks and respirators, 106 million gowns, and 750 million exam gloves to U.S. providers in a time of need.

Alkire currently serves on Premier Inc.’s Board of Directors as well as the board of the Alliance for Healthcare Policy, and participates on the Healthcare Leadership Council. He is also host of the InsideOut podcast, sharing compelling stories of innovation across America’s healthcare system. He was named one of the Top 25 chief operating officers in healthcare for 2018 by Modern Healthcare.

Alkire and his family reside in Dallas, Texas.

Paul Chaney, ’88, and Susan Chaney, ’92

The Chaneys are both first-generation college graduates. Both were active in Greek life at ISU — Paul as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Susan as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Paul Chaney attended ISU because it has an excellent ROTC program. He served on Active Duty, in the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard from 1983-2009. He retired as a lieutenant colonel with two Bronze Star medals and having served in Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Paul Chaney has also worked over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently an Executive District Sales Manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, overseeing a team of 10 sales professionals in the cardiovascular area.

Susan Chaney, originally from Indianapolis, attended ISU "because it was a smaller university that offered my major" and "was close to home so I could go back home frequently to visit my family." She graduated with a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising. She is owner of Pinky's Classy Creations LLC, an online retail store specializing in personalized custom gifts for special occasions.

The couple is active in community service. Paul Chaney has mentored youth through his fraternity’s Guide Right Program; coached AAU track; and served as a Big Brother for more than five years. Paul Chaney currently serves on the ISU Foundation board. Susan Chaney mentors college women in her sorority.

In Alabama, the Chaneys are members of the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. The couple resides in Madison, Alabama.

Richard “Rich” Porter, ’77

Porter, from Hammond, Indiana, graduated with a degree in business management while also competing for ISUs track and field team as a hurdler.

Porter’s 40-year career includes positions at Kimball International, Rockwell International, and Ingersoll International. For the past 15 years, he has been a partner in a private equity group. He has built a platform of manufacturing companies in Ohio and New Hampshire.

The Porters have a history of giving to ISU. In 2015, Rich played an instrumental role in the donation of $500,000 in software to the College of Technology from Hurco Companies, where he serves on the board of directors. Porter and his wife, Robin, recently donated $250,000 to create the Rich & Robin Porter Cancer Research Center. The donation will support five research fellows.

Porter currently serves on the ISU Foundation Board as Chair. He also serves on the boards of the James Cancer Hospital (Ohio State University) Foundation and the French Oil Company. The Porters reside in Troy, Ohio, and Hilton Head, S.C.

Photo of Mike Alkire

Photo of Paul and Susan Chaney

Photo of Rich Porter

Media contacts: 

Mark Alesia, Director of University Communication 

(O) 812-237-3837 

(C) 812-229-8020

Dianne Powell, Associate Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-8764

(C) 812-878-2131