2011 Alumni Achievement Awards
Three Western Illinois University alumni received the WIU Alumni Achievement Award at the Saturday, Dec. 17 Commencement Exercises.
This year's Alumni Achievement recipients are Regina Young Hyatt, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Alabama, Huntsville; Mark Konkol, a writer with the Chicago Sun-Times and recent Pulitzer Prize winner; and Jim Krasula of CBS Radio.
Western's Alumni Achievement Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions in one or more of the following: exceptional accomplishment in one's chosen field of endeavor; exceptional service in community affairs at the local, state or national levels; or exceptional service in support of the advancement and continued excellence of WIU.
Young Hyatt, a 1994 political science graduate and a 1997 college student personnel graduate, has been the dean of students at the University of Alabama, Huntsville since January. Prior to that appointment she was the associate dean for students for four years at the University of South Florida (USF). Young Hyatt has also served as the chair of the Board for the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA); as director of student life at the University of South Florida, Petersburg; and as associate and assistant director of Student Activities at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Young Hyatt began her professional career working as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Activities at Western Illinois University.
In her role at UAHuntsville, Young Hyatt is responsible for creating and maintaining a healthy, safe, and supportive environment for students. During her time at the University of South Florida, Young Hyatt developed the Student Life & Engagement Group, and also created and managed a co-curricular transcript program, which was used on all USF campuses. She is an active member, serving in numerous leadership roles, of NACA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and Leadershape, Inc. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Alabama NASPA. She has presented at professional conferences throughout the United States and has published in various professional journals. She is an active member within her community including in her church, and assisting with various service projects within the Huntsville community. She has participated in Western's annual CSP institute.
During her time as an undergraduate, Young Hyatt was an active member of the Student Government Association and University Union Board. She received her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida.
Konkol, a 1995 communication graduate, has been a writer with the Chicago Sun-Times since 2004. In April, Konkol and his reporting team received a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. Pulitzer judges recognized the trio for "their immersive documentation of violence in Chicago neighborhoods, probing the lives of victims, criminals and detectives as a widespread code of silence impedes solutions." Born and raised in south suburban Chicago, Konkol's assignments at the Sun-Times include Chicago neighborhoods and his blog, "Konkol's Korner."
He has also covered transportation, courts, Chicago City Hall and Cook County government in his 16-year reporting career. At Western, Konkol served as the Western Courier's news editor from 1993-1995. While still a student, he also worked as a news reporter for the Macomb Journal (now The McDonough County Voice), covering city and county government.
After leaving Macomb, Konkol started his career at Star Newspapers, a Chicago Sun-Times publication. He wrote for the Daily Southtown and the former Sun-Times Red Streak before joining the Chicago Sun-Times news staff seven years ago.
Krasula, a 1979 broadcasting graduate, has been a member of the CBS Radio News Network since 1984. As part of the CBS Radio team, he shared in numerous Edward R. Murrow awards over the years for such stories as Hurricane Bonnie (1999), the Florida vote recount (2000), the Sept. 11 attacks (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005) and especially for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings (2007). During his career, Krasula has covered 34-named tropical storms and hurricanes; dozens of natural disasters ranging from tornadoes to blizzards, to rockslides and wildfires; and military court-martials; noted trials, including the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and serial bomber Eric Rudolph. He has traveled the campaign trails with presidential candidates Bob Dole, John McCain and John Edwards, and has reported from every state. Krasula also tells the stories of everyday people across the nation in a radio version of famed CBS-TV correspondent Charles Kuralt's "On the Road."
Prior to joining CBS Radio, Krasula was a news reporter at local radio stations in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Carolina. He has served as a Boy Scout leader since the mid-1990s and has coached youth baseball and hockey teams.
He is married to Susan Worthington Krasula, a 1979 WIU graduate; they have two sons, Andrew and Matthew, both of whom are Eagle Scouts.