2008 Distinguished Alumni Award

Samuel Nicholas Oliva

The outstanding accomplishments of Samuel Nicholas Oliva were recognized Saturday, May 10 when he was presented the Western Illinois University Distinguished Alumnus Award at Spring Commencement Exercises.

The Distinguished Alumni Award, given since 1973, recognizes alumni who have reached the pinnacle of their careers and have brought credit to the University and themselves through their professional accomplishments or community service at local, state, or national levels and have extended meritorious service for the advancement and continued excellence of WIU.

Oliva, a 1977 accountancy graduate, 1989 WIU Alumni Achievement Award recipient and 2003 WIU College of Business and Technology Distinguished Alumnus, is a certified public accountant and managing partner at ECS Financial Services, Inc. Oliva is also the founder and CEO of Beacon Funding Corporation, a Northbrook (IL) equipment leasing company. He has worked at ECS Financial since 1978 and has served as the CEO of Beacon since 1990. Oliva has also served as a managing broker for Cornerstone Realty in Northbrook for 30 years and is the president of Liventus Design, an e-commerce website development and consulting firm.

Oliva, who is also a certified management accountant (CMA) and licensed real estate broker, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the National Association of Realtors and the Illinois Realtors Association.

Oliva has served as chair of Western's accountancy department advisory board and as a member of the University of Chicago's Executive MBA Board. Oliva, who received his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1989, was named Financial Executive of the Year by the IMA (2002) and received the 1988 WIU Department of Accountancy Outstanding Alumni Award. He was named to the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2007.

While at WIU, Oliva founded and served as the first president of the WIU Student Accounting Society. He is a charter member of the President’s National Advisory Board at Western and a member of the WIU College of Business and Technology Advisory Board. He also has served as a member of the Board of Directors for Harris Bank, Chicago Boys Club local chapter and Thatcher Woods Boy Scouts Council.

Oliva has been a generous and consistent contributor to WIU. He established the Samuel N. Oliva Endowment and the income from this fund supports annual scholarships for Western's accountancy department. He recently contributed $300,000 to WIU's capital campaign by increasing the Samuel N. Oliva Endowment to $500,000. In addition, he provides funding for other scholarships at WIU.