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Medicare 7, 8 or 9 founder honored with Chancellor's Medallion

Sharita Forrest, News Bureau
(217) 244-1072;


Daniel J. Perrino, professor emeritus of music at the University of Illinois, has been awarded the Chancellor's Medallion, bestowed upon exceptional individuals whose services to the university have exceeded all expectations and precedents.

"Nearly ever letter of recommendation that was sent on Dan's behalf uses the word 'ambassador' in describing his contributions to this campus," Chancellor Michael Aiken said. "In each role that he has played on campus, in more than 40 years of service, Dan has always built goodwill between the university and the people it serves."

Perhaps Perrino's most celebrated achievement is his founding of the jazz ensemble Medicare 7, 8 or 9. The group's first informal performance at the Illini Union in 1969 was intended to help soothe campus unrest by bringing faculty, staff and students together through music. The ensemble became a goodwill vehicle for the university, traveling to 38 states and performing in more than 2,000 concerts before its final performances at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in November 1998. More than 120 different musicians played with the group during its 30 years, and the ensemble made nine recordings and five television appearances.

The name Medicare 7, 8 or 9 alluded to the advancing age of the musicians and the number who showed up to perform.
A UI alumnus, Perrino earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music education in 1948 and 1949, respectively. He joined the faculty in 1960 as a professor of music and music extension. A year later, he became director of music extension and the Illinois Summer Youth Music program.

Over the course of his career, he held seven different appointments, including dean of campus programs and services and associate dean of the College of Fine and Applied and Arts. Perrino helped launch several cultural diversity programs, including the Black Chorus, La Casa Cultural Latina, Quad Day and the African American Cultural Program.

After retirement in 1988, Perrino returned to campus part-time as coordinator of alumni affairs and development, and in 1989 as coordinator of alumni affairs for the School of Music.

In 1992, Perrino was selected to chair a university task force on ethnic and cultural diversity, designing programs to unify the campus through cultural enrichment. Since 1993, Perrino has been working part-time at the Alumni Association, where he coordinated the Medicare 7, 8 or 9 program and created a senior alumni program.