The University of Southern Indiana Alumni Association honored the founding figures of the institution and recognized its three highest award winners at its annual Founders’ Day Celebration on Wednesday, September 15.
“It's been 56 years since we opened the doors here at USI for the very first time,” said Ronald S. Rochon, USI President. “Since then, we have been a pillar in this community."
The in-person event featured remarks from Rochon, a tribute to USI founders delivered by Julia Konopasek '21 and the presentation of the Association’s three major awards: the Alumni Service Award, the Honorary Alumni Award and the Faculty Recognition Award.
Alumni Service Award
The 2021 recipient of the USI Alumni Service Award is Michael B. Carroll '88. Carroll graduated from USI with a degree in accounting and currently serves as Chair of the Accounting Circle, an advisory group for the Accounting & Professional Services Program composed of high-level accounting professionals from public accounting firms and for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Carroll also frequents the Romain College of Business, sitting on the Romain College of Business Advisory Board and giving back to students through course presentations where he is able to share his expertise and experiences in accounting.
Carroll has had a successful career in the Evansville area with more than 25 years of experience in leadership, risk management, finance, accounting and financial reporting in multiple industries. He is considered to be a "visionary change agent with a consistent record of transforming challenges into business opportunities that align with and support a company's mission and both strategic and financial goals."
Honorary Alumni Award
Jerry Bulger is the 2021 Honorary Alumni Award recipient. Bulger retired in February 2016 after a 30-year career at USI as a Maintenance Supervisor for Facility Operations and Planning but returned five months later to work on a part-time basis for the University. During his years spent at USI, Bulger has contributed to its betterment on a multitude of levels.
A veteran of the Navy, a lover of carpentry and a man with a passion for firefighting, Bulger has worked tirelessly to improve both the USI and Evansville communities, whether that be by designing and building ADA-compliant ramps so USI's Commencement Ceremonies are accommodating to all students, creating and driving the USI float for many decades at the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival parade, serving as the Volunteer Chief of the Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department, responding to campus emergencies at all hours of the day and night, flying a large American flag with his fellow firefighters on the Lloyd Expressway overpass each year on September 11 and so much more. His colleagues and members of the USI and Evansville communities agree—USI and Evansville are better because of Bulger.
Faculty Recognition Award
The 2021 Faculty Recognition Award was presented to Dr. Jill Raisor '03, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of Teacher Education. Raisor joined the USI faculty full-time in 2010 as Teacher in Residence, and over the course of her tenure has served as a Children's Learning Center Liaison and Coordinator where she helped the Center achieve national accreditation and a nationally coveted four-star rating, Assistant Professor of Education and now, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of Teacher Education.
Raisor is seen by her colleagues as someone who brings individuals together in united purpose to help them thrive in their communities and beyond. She is relentless and passionate in her teaching, and she exemplifies the engaged and committed faculty member that represents the best of our University's mission to use divergent ideas to make others' lives better. In recognition of her achievements in teaching, scholarship and service to the University and Evansville community, Raisor was most recently honored as a 2021 Phenomenal Women of USI and the Evansville Community Award Recipient.
Photo Credit: University Photography and Multimedia
Members of the USI and Evansville communities gather to celebrate the University's founding figures.