GALESBURG — Carl Sandburg College recognized the 2022 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus Award and Pacesetter Award during its 54th annual Commencement exercises. Stacy Bainter ’00 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Dakota Hicks ’17 received the Pacesetter Award.
After graduating from Sandburg’s nursing program, Bainter earned her bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2007 and a master’s in nursing (nurse educator track) from McKendree University in 2015. In October 2016, she was inducted into McKendree’s chapter of Sigma Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She became a Sandburg adjunct instructor in 2011 for the nursing program and has been a full-time instructor since 2015. Bainter is also the coordinator of Sandburg’s basic nursing assistant program, coordinator for the practical nursing program and nurse administrator. She also served as the health occupation teacher for the Galesburg Area Vocational Center from 2011-15. In 2021, Bainter received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), and she was awarded Sandburg’s Faculty Member of the Year in 2020. Prior to her teaching career, Bainter worked as a registered nurse from 2000-13 in long-term care, holding positions of floor nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, MDS coordinator, assistant director of nursing and director of nursing. “My life has been shaped by a community college education by providing me the opportunity to begin my nursing career with obtaining my associate degree in nursing, despite the obstacles that life threw at me during the program,” Bainter said. “I was strong and determined to push through to reach my end goal, regardless of what others thought of my success due to my challenges. The end result is bringing me back to my alma mater as an instructor and paying it forward to be the advocate for my students.” After completing his Associate in Arts at Sandburg in 2017, Hicks transferred to Western Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s in finance with highest honors, including recognition as a Business and Technology Scholar. While working on his bachelor’s, Hicks was named a Finance Departmental Scholar, also enrolled in WIU’s integrated Master of Business Administration program and became a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Prior to enrolling in college, Hicks spent six years in the Marines. He traveled to 14 countries, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan. During his time in the service, Hicks stepped in as a senior leader, advisor and operations manager to fulfill a position that typically requires 15-plus years’ experience. While in high school, Hicks had no plans on attending college, but upon joining the Marines, he found that he thrived in leadership roles that posed challenges. After leaving the service, Hicks found himself avoiding public places and social gatherings as he learned to navigate the challenges many veterans face when returning from war. A first-generation college student, he worked to overcome his obstacles and went from being afraid to attend his college classes to graduating from Sandburg with a 4.0 grade point average. Today, he is the owner of Wishtan HomeServices — a real estate management company — and Macomb Student Rentals. Hicks also is a past volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and has served as a den leader for the Boy Scouts of America. VIEW STORY ONLINE Carl Sandburg College Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients
2022 — Stacy Bainter 2021 — Tina Veal 2020 — Kiley Thomas Quinn 2019 — Darci Heap 2018 — Craig Willis 2017 — Dr. Karmen Hopkins 2016 — Robert Mason 2015 — Dr. Judy Glaser 2014 — Judge Thomas Keith 2013 — Jim Purlee 2012 — Susan Swartwout 2011 — Cynthia Kitchen 2010 — Cynthia Kiffer 2009 — Joshua Gibb 2008 — Brenda Stewart Clevidence 2007 — Bonni Smith-Skripps 2006 — Sandra Gavin 2005 — Tara Miller 2004 — Dave Burns 2003 — Dr. Lori Sundberg 2002 — Christine Baumgardner 2001 — Lannie Cation 2000 — Sharon Graham 1999 — Linda Foster 1998 — Victor Miller 1997 — Betty Thal 1996 — Rose Stockman 1995 — Larry Schwartz 1994 — Daniel Baker 1993 — Ann Murdock 1992 — Jan Lundeen 1991 — No recipient 1990 — Louis Gamage & Mary Louderman 1989 — Janice Champion 1988 — Donna Medina 1987 — Gerald Strom Jr. 1986 — John Delawder III 1985 — Russell Orwig 1984 — Daniel Bailey 1983 — Jerry Latherow 1982 — F. Dale Cozad 1981 — Maren Kay Carlson 1980 — Daniel Baker 1979 — William Campbell
Carl Sandburg College Pacesetter Award Recipients
2022 — Dakota Hicks 2021 — Cassandra Sherwin 2020 — Becca Schwieter 2019 — Kassie Karssen-Schoon 2018 — Krista Winters 2017 — Matthew Wolford 2016 — Elvith Santoyo-McNaught 2015 — Travis Nesby 2014 — Trevor Davies 2013 — Naomi Wai 2012 — Ashley Swick