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University of Illinois Dads Association honors Certificate of Merit recipients


Becki Galardy, Parent Programs Office

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Dads Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will present its annual Certificate of Merit Awards at its annual Dads Weekend banquet today (Oct. 31). 

The Certificate of Merit recognizes a student, a faculty member, a staff member and a registered student organization for their contributions to the improvement of the university and the community. No faculty member was recognized this year.

The 2008 recipients: 

Virginia Vermillion, assistant dean for academic administration and dean of students in the College of Law, was named Outstanding Staff Member.  Known to students and staff alike as “Dean V,” Vermillion has an array of duties, including serving as an advocate for students and student organizations, administering the disciplinary processes, implementing the college’s academic policies, presiding over orientation and convocation, and, most important, individually counseling students within the college. 

After years of practicing law at a firm in Chicago, Vermillion returned to her alma mater and, in the words of a co-worker, began to “truly revolutionize student life at the College of Law,” caring for each student with a supportive approach and “student-first” attitude.

A letter of support from a law professor said: “In every instance I thought her judgment, her sensitivity, her empathy and concern, were just amazing.  She could be firm when necessary, and she knew when not to be.  She has counseled students wisely on literally hundreds and hundreds of occasions, often in the most emotional and uncertain circumstances imaginable.”

The Student Advancement Committee within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is the Outstanding Student Organization. Begun 20 years ago, SAC is a group of 30 undergraduates selected to work with the Office of Advancement to serve as college ambassadors. The students work with alumni, dignitaries and other student groups to raise funds for the college through events such as Feed Your fACES and the ACES Phone-A-Thon.

Nominator Karlie Elliott said, “The leadership, networking, and real-life experiences SAC provides members are why this organization is truly deserving of the Dads Association award. SAC (members) are incredible leaders who work to advance the mission of the College of ACES to support their peers, alumni and perspective students.”

Brian Matesic, a senior majoring in general engineering, and minoring in chemistry and in technology and management, from Fisher, Ill., is the Outstanding Student. Matesic co-founded and is president of the National Organization for Business and Engineering, a networking group for students with interests in business and engineering. Matesic also is active in the Office for Technical Consulting Resources, a student-run consulting group that provides students with real-world consulting experience.

His nominator, academic adviser Heidi Craddock, said, “Brian deserves to be recognized (because) … it takes an extraordinary amount of commitment and dedication to balance all that (he) has pursued and achieved.”

The Dads Association, established in 1923, is believed to be one of the nation’s longest-serving parent organizations. The association supports programs, services and activities that promote the health, safety and well-being of the university community and serves as the parent liaison to the campus.

Recipients receive a framed certificate, an engraved mantle clock and a cash award.