University News

Kerrs Named WIU Honorary Alumni

September 26, 2002

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MACOMB, IL -- Dr. Lawrence (Mel) and Mrs. Judith Kerr of Macomb were presented the 2002 Honorary Alumni Award from the Western Illinois University Alumni Association. The presentation was made Sept. 25 during the annual Evening With the President and Mayor dinner, hosted by the Alumni Association.

The Honorary Alumni Award is presented to an individual who is not a WIU graduate but who has provided exceptional service to WIU and the community.

The Kerrs moved to Macomb in 1977 from San Diego, CA, where Dr. Kerr was in private practice in ophthalmology. As a member of the medical staff at McDonough District Hospital (MDH), Dr. Kerr initiated many new procedures in opthalmology including laser retinal therapy. He served as president of the medical staff at MDH, and later affiliated his practice with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He retired from practice in January 1999. Mrs. Kerr has been a member of the WIU Foundation Board of Directors for 15 years, serving as president from 1997 1999 and vice president from 1995-1997. She is currently a member of the Foundation's executive and scholarship committees.

"The Kerrs have been strong advocates and generous benefactors to the Foundation's growing scholarship program. They have also provided ongoing funding for the Laura and Lisa Kerr Scholarship Endowment which is named for their daughters, both Western graduates," said Gordy Taylor, associate vice president for alumni programs. "Judy has been a driving force on the Foundation Board to ensure that attracting private contributions for scholarships for academically qualified students remains a priority. I'm honored to present this year's award to Mel and Judy Kerr."

In 1999 the Kerrs donated 219 acres, including a house, barns, grain bins and other structures to Western's agriculture department to expand the University's Agriculture Field Laboratory. The agriculture department plans to make the Kerr Ag Field Lab a centerpiece of its research facilities.

This is the eighth year for the WIU Honorary Alumni Award presentation. Previous recipients were Charlene Callison (2001), Ed Holzwarth (2000), WIU President Donald S. Spencer (1999), Senator Laura Donahue (1998), Cathy Early (1997), Dick Miller (1995) and Dennis Iverson (1994).

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing