2024 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The outstanding accomplishments of Western Illinois University graduates Scott D. Clarke and Steven J. McCann will be recognized Saturday, May 11 at Western's Spring 2024 Commencement Exercises in Western Hall. McCann will be recognized at the 9 a.m. ceremony and Clarke will be recognized at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

The Distinguished Alumni Award, given since 1973, recognizes alumni who have brought credit to the University and themselves through exceptional professional accomplishments, meritorious service to ensure the continued excellence of WIU and through service to their communities at the national, state or local levels. 

clarkeScott D. Clarke

Clarke, a 1981 political science graduate, is retired from the state of Illinois' Division of Banking. Clarke worked in the division for 35 years, the last 20 of which he served as assistant director. He was responsible for the regulation of state chartered and foreign banking offices supervision of the state's bank examiners and the regulation of the largest number of banks of any state in the country and the regulation of more than $7 trillion in assets.

Clarke has served on numerous commissions related to the oversight of the financial industry, including the Treasury Department's Bank Secrecy Act Committee, where he represented the nation's state banking regulators for regulation of money laundering and anti-terrorism financing. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of State Savings Supervisors and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS). Clarke served as chair of the CSBS Committee, which set the accreditation standards of the nation's state banking departments.

Additionally, he served as the chair of the Education Foundation of State Bank Supervisors, a non-profit foundation that oversees training for the nation's state banking regulators.

Clarke is a longtime volunteer for the American Red Cross, having served in various leadership roles, including the chair of the Illinois State Service Council. He currently serves as the American Red Cross liaison to Illinois State Government agencies and is actively involved in disaster response, including his previous assignment as the Red Cross representative at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in Washington D.C. during catastrophic hurricanes. He has been the Red Cross representative for the Illinois Terrorism Task Force since its formation and has chaired several of its committees.

Clarke has received numerous awards, including the Illinois Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Persons, the American Legion Auxiliary Award for Excellence in Citizenship, the American Red Cross Paragon Award and the 2017 WIU Alumni Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Benefactors Level of the WIU Foundation Fellows.

Clarke is actively involved in recruiting and retaining Leathernecks. He can frequently be found at Discover Western open house programs, has a long track record of connecting prospective students with WIU and engages frequently with current students. Clarke regularly hosts Emergency Management students in Springfield to visit the State Emergency Operations Center. Clarke was appointed by Governors Rauner and Pritzker as a Commissioner of Volunteerism and Community Service. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Evanston Township High School Educational Foundation.

Through his philanthropic support of WIU, Clarke has endowed the Scott D. Clarke Excellence in Leadership Scholarship and has been a leader in the success of the annual Western Challenge Day of Giving. His advocacy work has also benefited WIU, as he has been instrumental in securing a substantial grant for the Emergency Operations Center. Clarke currently serves on the WIU Alumni Council. 

mccannSteven J. McCann

McCann, a 1978 accountancy graduate, was an assurance partner with RSM US LLP until his retirement in 2017, serving a variety of closely held and family-owned businesses. Since that time, he has remained employed with the firm on a part time basis as a senior advisor in the Business & Transition Advisory Services line of business.

McCann is a graduate of the RSM CFO Program through the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, where he received training to more effectively advise CEOs and CFOs in essential areas, including strategy, operations, marketing, organizational behavior, leadership and change management.

McCann is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois and Iowa Societies of Certified Public Accountants.

McCann has a decades-long history of serving the Quad Cities region on numerous non-profit boards, including stints as the chair of Gilda's Club and the John Deere Classic. He currently sits on the American Red Cross Quad Cities and West Central Illinois Board of Directors and is president of the Board of Directors of Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, IL.

McCann's efforts have been recognized through multiple awards, including a Women's Connection Male Champion of Change, John Deere Classic Community Hero, WIU Accountancy Preferred Partner in Education, and the 2003 WIU Alumni Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Honors Level of the WIU Foundation Fellows.

McCann was involved in the development of the WIU-Quad Cities campus through his leadership on the Renew Moline Board of Directors. He currently serves on the WIU Foundation Board, where he is a member of both the executive and investment committees. McCann is a member of the WIU College of Business and Technology National Advisory Board, where he has served as chair since 2015. Additionally, McCann is the co-chair of the WIU-Quad Cities Planning Advisory Council and served as the Quad Cities community representative on the 2020 WIU Presidential Search Committee. 

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