Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established in 2008 by the Parkland College Alumni Association to recognize exceptional alumni. Awarded during the spring commencement ceremonies, this award is given for academic, professional, personal and community contributions and achievements. 

Eligibility includes the ability to attend commencement ceremonies in May and a minimum of 31 credit hours at Parkland College.


2023 Distinguished Alumnus: Dr. Julia Hart 

Julia Hart 2

Dr. Julia Hart is currently the site director for the COUNTRY Financial DigitaLab located in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Research Park. Her work involves managing multiple student-based teams with projects spanning data science, user experience/design, and software development, focusing on research and innovation. She also serves as director of women in finance at the Gies College of Business and as adjunct faculty at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. Prior to her current positions, she was IT director for Facilities & Services and director of IT and institutional research for the Graduate College at the University of Illinois, and she also spent many years working for the City of Champaign. She has over 35 years of professional experience, with over half that time in technology.

Julia received her associate's degree from Parkland College in 2003, continuing on through the Adult Education program, and received her bachelor's degree from Franklin University in 2006. She went on to earn both her master's degree in 2008 and her doctoral degree in 2014 from the University of Illinois. Julia is married to Jason Hart and has a daughter, Dr. Jarai Carter.    


Past Recipients

2022 - Louis E. Sola

2019 - Brad Evans

2018 - Kelly Duitsman Loschen

2017 - Ashley Morgan 

2016 - Peter B. Alexander

2015 - Charles Smith

2014 - Jeffrey Hettler

2013 - Mark Pelafos

2012 - Stuart King

2011 - Darrin Peters

2010 - Krystal Fitzpatrick

2009 - Sandra Reifsteck 

2008 - Dennis Riggs


If you are interested in nominating an individual for this prestigious award, please contact our offices at foundation@parkland.edu or 217/351-2458